Believe it or not, the race towards the succession of President Jacob Zuma won’t be as easy as ABC.
Reports making the rounds lately show that the ANC party has been divided into two warring factions.
While one faction is hell bent on having Zuma’s ex-spouse Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma as South Africa’s next president, the other wants Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa to continue the lead once Zuma steps down.
The bid to crown Ramaphosa as President Zuma’s successor got strengthened on Thursday, when South Africa’s largest federation, Cosatu, unveiled him as its preferred candidate.
Other prominent South Africans who had earlier queued behind Ramaphosa include FeesMustFall leader Mcebo Dlamini and ANC Member of Parliament and Chairperson of Parliament’s Justice Committee Mathole Motshekga.
Dlamini believes Ramaphosa is more fit to lead the ANC and the country because “replacing President Zuma with Dlamini-Zuma is like replacing one with oneself”. Motshekga, on the other hand, turned against Dlamini-Zuma’s presidential bid shortly after Madonsela’s state of capture report implicated President Zuma.
Nevertheless, pro-Zuma loyalists have insisted that a female president ‘must’ take over the reins of ANC in 2017 and ultimately the head of state in 2019.
Leading the crop of next female president supporters is the ANC Women League. The league in a recent statement affirmed that a female leader must succeed Zuma because the country is now ready for a female president.
ANCWL secretary-general Meokgo Matuba said on Thursday: “As the women’s league, we still maintain that the country is ready for a female president … We will make sure that a woman becomes president in the country.”
Other supporters include ANC Youth League, Umkhonto weSizwe Military Veterans’ Association, and the “Premier League”. The “Premier League” is an ANC lobby group that includes Free State Premier Ace Magashule, North West Premier Supra Mahumapelo and Mpumalanga Premier David Mabuza.
Last month, President Zuma’s ex-wife Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma unmasked her ambition to succeed Zuma during 2017 ANC elective conference. The outgoing African Union (AU) Commission chairperson also expressed readiness to lead South Africa in 2019.
Another female political contender, who could succeed Zuma is the speaker of parliament and ANC chairperson Baleka Mbete.