While it is still impossible to know who will replace President Jacob Zuma at ANC election scheduled to hold in December, Zuma’s ex-wife has asked the ANC not to see her presidential bid as a continuation of his rule.
Truth be told, most South Africans believe Dlamini-Zuma’s emergence as a top contender for the post worsened things and could build a Zuma-political dynasty – if she wins.
Worst for her, since she abandoned a second bid to run as African Union (AU) chairperson and returned to contest for ANC leader, there’s been a strong perception that she owes her political career to her ex-husband – who, earlier this year announced that SA is ripe for a female president.
Dlamini-Zuma’s interest in the top post has since divided the ruling party – starting from its leadership structure down to its branches across many provinces, throwing around dirt in a political environment where opposition parties are steadily gaining strength.
Had it been she didn’t indicate interest, Ramaphosa would have had a smooth and lesser risk-free ride into the succession seat at the elective conference.
Alert to the implications of her relationship with President Zuma, the former AU chairperson has pleaded with the ANC not to count the fact that she was once married to President Zuma at the ANC election.
Dr. Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma made this known while speaking at the Steven Dlamini Memorial Lecture in Ixopo on Tuesday.
“We must not allow people to say uwumuntu kasibanibani (you’re so and so’s lover). A comrade is a comrade. I divorced him in 1998, when I was health minister, and long before he became president. He wasn’t even deputy president. He was an MEC in KwaZulu-Natal. I was already in government and had a career for myself.
“But people are quick to forget. I was never the first lady of South Africa. And I have no aspirations to marry a president. I have kids with him, so it is inevitable that I will see him from time to time. When you are divorced, you don’t have to be enemies. But I am not his wife. Even when we were in exile I hardly saw him; we lived together only in Lusaka.
She also voiced her concern about factionalism tearing the ruling party apart in recently, saying that warring parties must come together as one and end division and infighting.
Dlamini-Zuma added: “We must also do away with factionalism. It kills the organization. Factions must stop. Yes, we got political power. Political power without economic power means the revolution is not over.”
She encouraged the ANC to ensure black industrialists are recognized and work towards changing the pattern of land ownership.
Due to factionalism in the ANC, Dlamini-Zuma has been facing a tough time in some structures. Like some opposition parties, these factions rejected her because of her previous relationship with Zuma.
But if she wins at last, most of the problems she would face as a new leader of the ANC will be Zuma- related problems. Most political analysis expressed fear that she might even suspend most charges against Zuma.
However, many believe her first major problem is the position of the deputy president. It is not out of place to know if Cyril Ramaphosa would chicken away from his presidential bid and stay on as SA deputy president – just like Kgalema Motlanthe did in 2012 at the ANC election in Mangaung?
Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma is a doctor and was one of the longest-serving cabinet ministers under former presidents Nelson Mandela and Thabo Mbeki.