While moves to have Zuma removed intensifies, oppositions seem to be internally torn on the matter as many fear his removal will bring no chances of their rising to the top during the SA 2019 election
Daryl Glaser, a political science professor at the University of Witwatersrand (Wits) who took a critical look at the political shifts happening in the country says he suspects not all supporters of the SA main opposition support a swift Zuma removal.
According to his analysis, many oppositions parties who genuinely want Zuma to go may hope that his removal sparks a kind of chaos and division in the ruling ANC to their benefit.
“I suspect opposition leaders are eternally torn on the subject. It is also undeniable that Zuma is something of an electoral asset to opposition parties,” he said.
Zuma, whose popularity has waned down following scandalous cases he’s found himself since 2009 when he was elected President, has indirectly played a role in strengthening opposition parties like the Democratic Alliance and the Economic Freedom fighters among several other parties in the country.
Zuma’s unpopularity has also led to an internal division in the ruling party with many already losing hope in the party. This is evident in the 2016 local government election which saw the party suffering its worst setbacks as it lost its grip on local government in Tshwane- home of the South African capital Pretoria- to its main opposition, the DA.
The backlash continued as Zuma changed his finance ministers four times in less than two years, with his latest cabinet reshuffle leading to the fall of the nation’s ailing economy with S&P Global Ratings and Fitch Ratings cutting SA’s credit rating to junk.
South Africans have occasionally demonstrated their disapproval of Zuma’s government with opposition parties, religious and civil rights groups joining to push for Zuma’s removal.
Interestingly, several top ANC leaders and even the unions that helped him win control of the ANC- Cosatu and SACP- have also the move with most of them saying that the ANC risks losing power in the coming SA 2019 election if Zuma is allowed to complete his second five-year term.
However, Zuma, who vowed to step down once his party’s top officials unify to call for his removal, have also shown support for Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma as his successor for the SA 2019 election as against his deputy, Cyril Ramaphosa who a faction of the party supports as the best Presidential candidate.
Zuma is also facing a motion of no confidence in Parliament where the ANC will once again set aside their political differences and rally around Zuma with their 62% majority.
The Constitutional Court is, however, considering whether to decide if there should be a secret ballot and if it rules that there should be, opposition parties might stand the chance of winning the motion as it’s expected that some disgruntled ANC MPs who have plans on getting back at Zuma would side with the opposition without risking losing their jobs.
Looking as this political scenario, Cherrel Africa, a political science professor at the University of the Western Cape (UWC), said:
“It seems the opposition parties are trying to have it both ways,”
“If the motion of no confidence works, then they can say they got rid of Zuma. If it doesn’t then they can say the ANC is protecting Zuma.”
In like manner, BusinessDay reported Zwelethu Joloben, a political science lecturer at the University of Cape Town (UCT), as saying that most ANC MPs who want Zuma to go before the SA 2019 election would wait until after the December leadership vote to try to oust him.
” Even if the vote to get rid of Zuma did succeed, that would not necessarily signal an end to the country’s leadership malaise,” he said.
“The opposition parties have raised some substantive issues, but they are still heavily focused on getting rid of Zuma,” Jolobe said. “Should this happen, then who will succeed him? The ANC has no clear successor to Zuma. No one knows what the consequences of such a motion would be.”
Meanwhile, deputy president recently appealed the influential Shembe Church in Esikhawini near Empangeni to pray for the ruling party saying the party was going through rough times.
The Deputy who spent the previous two days campaigning for the party in the run-up to by-elections in Nquthu, asked the church to pray for the ANC
He comparing the church with the founding fathers of the ANC and congratulated its leaders for being able to stick to the values on which the ANC was founded in the early 1900s.
He also asked the clergy to not only pray for the party’s leaders, especially in the spirit of the SA 2019 election but also for the country as a whole as it suffers the effect of the internal crisis in the party.
“I look at this church and I think about my own church, the ANC. I wonder whether our founders, the likes of John Langalibalele Dube, who was a close friend of the founder of the Shembe church, would be pleased with the current state of affairs in the ANC,” he said, adding that the ANC was in need of divine intervention.