There are a couple things about the Zuma trial and his posturing since the rape trial that are worrying. Mainly it has to do with the rhetoric that is being spewed by Zuma and his supporters. In a couple articles published by IOL in the last day or so, the following items were reported:
- ‘ANC Youth League (ANCYL) leader Fikile Mbalula told the jubilant crowd: "An important battle has been won today but the war still continues."’
- ‘"No one in this country is allowed to use state institutions as kangaroo courts and a private army controlled from their bedroom… There is no one who can defeat the struggle of justice."’
- ‘He continued: "Decisions taken in beer halls cannot be taken seriously in court."’
- ‘When the prosecution team investigated Jacob Zuma "from head to toe" and simultaneously searched his homes in Johannesburg, Nkandla and Durban, he told them they behaved worse than their apartheid counterparts.’
The problem with this sort of rhetoric is its combative tone. Zuma repeatedly makes use of military terminology in his speeches – he and his supporters speak of war and battles. His theme song is titled "Give me my machine gun" and while singing it he pretends to fire a machine gun. We are not living in a State that exists in a war zone or under martial law. Zuma has been charged with serious crimes and while he was found not guilty of rape, his corruption charges were serious charges. Hopefully the National Prosecuting Authority will indeed file new charges soon because the alternative spells disaster.
Zuma clearly has plans to seize the presidency after President Mbeki steps down in a few years time and everything he does is intended to appeal to a largely unsophisticated segment of the population. He is building his support base and one day he will capitalise on that support and run for office. As the deputy president of the ANC, he is well positioned to make a run for the top job. Irrespective of whether he wins enough support within the ANC’s ranks to rise to that position, I have to ask whether this would be in the best interests of the country? Is having a man tainted by allegations of corruption and rape as president in the best interests of this country? I am holding my digits that he never becomes president. It could be very bad for us all if he does.