SA, EFF and po­lit­i­cal vul­gar­ity

Lesotho Times - - Opinion -

Malema’s tem­per­a­ment and con­fronta­tional po­lit­i­cal rhetoric has on sev­eral other oc­ca­sions landed him in trou­ble. In april 2016 south african op­po­si­tion politi­cian Julius Malema said in an in­ter­view that he is will­ing take up arms and “re­move the gov­ern­ment through the bar­rel of a gun”. The african Na­tional Congress (anc)-aligned mil­i­tary vet­er­ans is­sued a sim­i­lar state­ment against the gov­ern­ment over ben­e­fits that have not ma­te­ri­alised.

The gov­ern­ing ANC has since opened a trea­son case against Malema. The lack of po­lit­i­cal lead­er­ship is pre­sent­ing a se­ri­ous po­lit­i­cal chal­lenge for south africa. The ne­glect of po­lit­i­cal lead­er­ship by the ANC, the old­est po­lit­i­cal party in africa, is man­i­fest­ing it­self neg­a­tively in the cur­rent pol­i­tics of the coun­try.

There is a wide­spread in­dis­ci­pline and po­lit­i­cal naivete per­sist­ing in sev­eral po­lit­i­cal par­ties. and Malema’s re­cent state­ment demon­strates that naivete. Care­less­ness in po­lit­i­cal speeches has had a dev­as­tat­ing his­tory in africa. They have led to geno­cides, civil wars and eco­nomic col­lapse.

The economies of al­most all de­vel­op­ing na­tions — in­clud­ing south africa — are vul­ner­a­ble to any signs of po­lit­i­cal in­sta­bil­ity, and as a re­sult for­eign in­vestors are still weary of the de­vel­op­ing world. Not­with­stand­ing the en­durance of south african democ­racy com­pared with many african coun­tries, it is still not out of the woods. There­fore, any po­lit­i­cal state­ments that sug­gest or point towards a pos­si­ble po­lit­i­cal up­heaval dis­cour­age for­eign in­vest­ment which the south african econ­omy des­per­ately needs.

Lack of po­lit­i­cal men­tor­ship The lack of ef­fec­tive party-spon­sored po­lit­i­cal col­leges and men­tor­ship has cul­mi­nated in po­lit­i­cal sophistry in south africa. The gov­ern­ment jus­ti­fi­ca­tion of the pri­vate res­i­dence of Pres­i­dent Ja­cob Zuma is one case in point.

The un­der­per­form­ing post-apartheid po­lit­i­cal col­lege of the ANC has failed to pro­duce high-qual­ity po­lit­i­cal lead­ers who can do well in in­ter­na­tional pol­i­tics. Politi­cians wait un­til they reach gov­ern­ment po­si­tion­sns be­fore they can be en­rolled in in­ter­na­tion­all po­lit­i­cal crash cour­ses in prepa­ra­tion for the of­fice.

Most former lead­ers of the ANC Youthouth have courted rad­i­cal­ism and po­lit­i­cal vul­gar­i­ty­gar­ity as a form of po­lit­i­cal en­gage­ment. It is widely re­garded as the best method of up­ward ward mo­bil­ity within the ranks of the party. The rise of Malema’s eco­nomic Free­dom Fight­ers (EFF) is a cul­mi­na­tion of con­tin­uedd po­lit­i­cal vul­gar­ity and mis­de­meanours.

The EFF was formed by a groupp of dis­grun­tled ANC Youth league mem­bers bers with Malema and Floyd shiv­ambu. Malema ema and shiv­ambu were ex­pelled from the ANC for bring­ing the party into dis­re­pute andnd show­ing no re­morse dur­ing the mit­i­ga­tionn process in 2012.

Con­tro­ver­sies Malema once en­tered a rowdy ex­change hange of words with the BBC jour­nal­ist Jon­ahh Fisher, sub­se­quently yelling in­sults at the jour­nal­ist dur­ing a press con­fer­ence. He was later forced to apol­o­gise to Fisher by thehe ANC. Malema’s tem­per­a­ment and con­fronta­tion­al­nta­tional po­lit­i­cal rhetoric has on sev­eral oth­er­her oc­ca­sions landed him in trou­ble. Dur­ing the rape trial in 2006 of his erst­while ally, Pre­sires­i­dent Ja­cob Zuma, he was quoted as say­ing that he was “will­ing to kill for Zuma”.

This state­ment in­vited a bar­rage of crit­i­cism from the pub­lic and the op­po­si­tion par­ties in south africa at the time. later in 2011 he was taken to court and later con­victed of hate speech for in­sist­ing on singing a sen­si­tive anti-apartheid song Dubul Ib­hunu (shoot the Boer). shiv­amu, deputy pres­i­dent of the EFF, has not been clear from con­tro­versy ei­ther. He was taken, tried and later forced by the court to apol­o­gise for call­ing a white fe­male jour­nal­ist “a stupid white b***h”.

In Novem­ber 2014, shiv­ambu was caught on cam­era show­ing his mid­dle fin­ger at the Deputy Pres­i­dent of south africa Cyril Ramaphosa in par­lia­ment. These cases clearly demon­strate lack of po­lit­i­cal dis­ci­pline, and it is this po­lit­i­cal tra­jec­tory that has char­ac­terised the rise of the EFF.

What needs to be done? While in de­vel­op­ing na­tions the tra­di­tion of po­lit­i­cal ed­u­ca­tion and men­tor­ship thrives, africa is still lag­ging far be­hind. There are sev­eral rea­sons why this is the case in the de­vel­op­ing world and in south africa specif­i­cally. The elon­gated strug­gle against coloni­sa­tion by most african coun­tries re­sulted in many african lead­ers miss­ing the op­por­tu­nity of po­lit­i­cal ed­u­ca­tion.

More­over, the so­ciopo­lit­i­cal im­per­a­tives of post-colo­nial dis­pen­sa­tion have re­sulted in the ne­glect of po­lit­i­cal ed­u­ca­tion and men­tor­ship of fu­ture lead­ers. Fi­nally, the new power hold­ers are re­luc­tant to men­tor ow­ing to fear of rais­ing po­lit­i­cal com­pe­ti­tion.

What most de­vel­op­ing coun­tries have to deal with as a re­sult is reg­u­lar po­lit­i­cal vi­o­lence; ; and this cir­cle con­tin­ues un­abated. How­ever, un­like those other african coun­tries, south africa has so far man­aged to es­tab­lish a po­lit­i­cal sys­tem that en­cour­ages vi­brant multi-party democ­racy. Con­se­quently Malema’s threat to take up arms against the gov­ern­ment has been a great cause for con­cern in what most view as an african suc­cess story. — al Jazeera

Them­bisa Fakude is a re­searcher at the Al Jazeera Cen­ter for Stud­ies.

eff leader Julius Malema.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Lesotho

© PressReader. All rights reserved.