The race for the ANC’s top post fast-pedalled to a full swing just days after President Jacob Zuma broke silence on his successor, to the disappointment of NA Speaker Baleka.
To some ANC Women League’s members, Zuma’s preferred choice was absolutely the best but scores of some members felt and are still feeling that Dlamini-Zuma’s announcement as Zuma’s successor was very premature.
According to this crop of disgruntled comrades, Dlamini-Zuma is not the only female fit to take over the reins of the ruling party. They believe choosing between Dlamini-Zuma and other women like Lindiwe Sisulu, Baleka Mbete, among other presidential hopefuls within the league could have come first before crowning Dlamini-Zuma the ‘perfect’ frontrunner.
Disappointed they were – but what more can they do? Nothing! This is because the number one leader of the ruling party (President Zuma) has sealed Dlamini-Zuma’s victory ahead of the battle itself.
Unfazed by the president’s preferred choice, National Assembly Speaker Baleka Mbete, has queued behind other heavyweight contestants. Her involvement – though not surprising- drew the attention and interest of reporters and in a recent interview, she re-affirmed that she has joined Zuma’s succession race.
Recall that earlier last year, Mbete was honored in her hometown, where she unveiled her presidential ambition and also announced that she had been approached by top ANC to lead the ruling party – which everyone believes is standing on its last legs.
Mbete admitted that she was surprised when she learned about ANCWL and Zuma’s successor-choice; adding that Dlamini-Zuma sudden preference will never deter her from locking horns with her rivals.
“In politics, one must always be ready for surprises or receiving pronouncements on issues that you didn’t think that people were about to pronounce on but they do it; that’s politics,” Mbete said.
Regardless of this, she said she would be grateful if the ANCWL changes its mind and nominate her for ANC president when the succession process fully gets underway later this year.
Speaker Baleka Mbete is not a political newborn, having been a member of the ANC NEC since 1991 and SA Assembly Speaker. She had acted as SA’s deputy president after Mbeki was ousted by the ANC.
Presently, the ANC presidential hopefuls include; Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa, Baleka Mbete, Lindiwe Sisulu, Nkozasana Dlamini-Zuma, Zweli Mkhize, David Mabuza, Kgalema Motlanthe.
Motlanthe was once named by EFF Leader Julius Malema as the only human being in the ruling party’s camp capable of restoring and reviving the shredded state of the ANC.
Ramaphosa, on the other hand, had long enjoyed the support of South Africa’s biggest federation COSATU and the SACP youth wing. But, he couldn’t scale through President Zuma’s standard.
Anyway, political experts, as well as the writer believe the crown must definitely ‘land’ on someone’s head but the undeniable remains that it won’t be an easy ‘landing’.