If anything the ANC leadership race is a good illustration of where democracy can be more harmful than beneficial. Take a party with a huge majority in parliament, throw in a leadership race between an incumbent who hasn’t fulfilled his potential and a disgraced challenger who has tremendous popular support and we have a receipe for disaster and there is nothing we can do to stop it. All we really can do is what it happen, like watching an accident about to occur.
Zuma is appealing to the lowest common denominator with old Struggle songs and just about whatever else they want to hear. He talks about revisiting the death penalty, being tough on crime, friendly to business and just about anything any possible group of supporters want to hear. What I don’t see is any sort of set of principles. He is a political mercenary and he is only becoming more and more popular. Things in the ANC seem to have reached a point where there is no tolerance for opposing views (or any views other than wholesale and fanatical support for Zuma) and senior members of the party are shouted down or boo’ed off the stage.
There has been talk about unifying forces in the ANC and possible 3rd candidates but I think this is wishful thinking. The ANC has come to be ruled by populist candidates who promise everything to everyone and stand for nothing of any substance. Barring some sort of miracle in Polokwane later today, we can expect to see Zuma emerge as president of the ANC and possible president of the country when Mbeki leaves office. Our only hope for some semblance of sanity is to see Zuma successfully charged and convicted very soon although the chances of that happening are debatable.
Nevermind the ANC going to the dogs, the ANC is poised to take the rest of the country down with it and all we can do is watch it happen.
Update: On the lighter side you really should read Ndumiso Ngcobo’s post on Thought Leader titled "A blogger in Polokwane … an experiment gone wrong". As Matthew Buckland promised, it is hilarious. I can’t believe the President actually read his 42 page report for 2 and a half hours even though everyone had a copy. No wonder he is on his way out the door.