Political commentator Eusebius McKaiser tends to divide opinion from time to time, but his latest piece on Mail & Guardian is something most South Africans, or at least those not on the ANC / Gupta payroll, can get behind.
It’s an open letter to ANC MPs ahead of today’s vote of no confidence, due to take place at around 2PM, but it takes a somewhat different approach to achieving the goal of ousting JZ.
Rather than appeal to their consciences (which has proven to be futile at times) McKaiser goes the route of protecting the party, something that has been shown to take precedence over the interests of the citizens of South Africa.
Let me unkindly assume for a minute that you do not give a flying expletive about what is in the best interest of the country. Let me insult you further, for another minute, by also assuming you do not give a flying expletive about your constitutional duty to hold the head of government accountable. I will instead, for now, assume you care solely about reproducing the political hegemony of the ANC, motivated by blind party loyalty and, perhaps, a fear of losing your job if the ANC is dislodged from power.
If this applies to you, to the letter, how then should you vote in the motion of no confidence vote? Simple: You ought then to vote against President Jacob Zuma. Why? If you don’t, and you show you support him even and especially with the safety of a secret ballot, then you are telling society that you do not care that this political predator is ripping the state and society to shreds, helped along by his friends in Saxonwold, his friends within the state, and even his friends within corporate South Africa who are willing to enter into corrupt relationships with him and his Saxonwold crew.
If you send this message to voters, the ANC will need a miracle to get anything more than 55% of the vote in 2019 and, unless you are favoured by the winning faction in December at the elective conference of the ANC, you will be without a job in Parliament, and without the alternative jobs inside the state or the possibility of a cushy ambassadorial posting. Simply put: not voting Zuma out is a good way to reduce the chances of the ANC staying in power, and therefore a good way of reducing your job security.
It’s a bold strategy, let’s see if it pays off for him (and us).
Should the vote of no confidence fail today, McKaiser [below] argues that the party will be so damaged they might not have time to recover in time for the 2019 National Election.
This is the time for the ANC to show voters that they intend to root out the rotten apples, and it doesn’t matter what Chief Whip Jackson Mthembu has to say on the matter:
[He] is lying when he says that it is anti-democratic to vote Zuma out. Once the party has sent you to parliament, and once you have sworn allegiance to the Constitution, you immediately stop being answerable wholly to Luthuli House. Politically, you serve at their behest but in law you have committed to put the country first by providing oversight over government. Yes, that means resisting the temptation to please Luthuli House and being guarded by the Constitution, chiefly.
I then ask you, “How can you genuinely be committed to the constitutional duty to hold Zuma accountable and yet vote for him to remain as president despite the fact that he, Zuma, has presided over the most callous and criminal level of post-apartheid looting that not even the weak presidential candidates who want to succeed him could easily replicate?’
Do what is in the interest of the ANC, in the interest of society and most consistent with your accountability duty as outlined in the Constitution: Vote in favour of the motion of no confidence in President Zuma.
Chances are there is still some wrangling going on behind the scenes from Mthembu, trying to ensure that the MPs don’t ignore his pleas for unity, so here’s hoping letters like these might just twist someone’s rubber arm.
We feel you, Eusebius, and we’re just hoping for the best.
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