Gen­der is a red her­ring in lead­er­ship

The Star Early Edition - - LETTERS - Rev Maudu Morudu

THE ANC is un­de­ni­ably in an in­tractable sit­u­a­tion with re­gard to its next pres­i­dent af­ter Ja­cob Zuma. The heat of suc­ces­sion de­bate is so high be­cause the party’s 54th Na­tional Con­fer­ence, in De­cem­ber, is char­ac­terised by some­thing un­usual – a gen­der is­sue.

Seem­ingly, those who are still wait­ing for bet­ter ser­vice de­liv­ery this year will be for­got­ten by the ANC-led gov­ern­ment since the fo­cus is on the ANC’s lead­er­ship bat­tle.

It has been the ANC’s modus operandi that any per­son who is the deputy pres­i­dent be­comes the pres­i­dent.

Nel­son Man­dela was the ANC’s deputy pres­i­dent when Oliver Tambo was the party’s pres­i­dent. Man­dela be­came the party’s pres­i­dent sub­se­quently.

So it was with Thabo Mbeki and Zuma. They were both deputy pres­i­dents be­fore they were pres­i­dents. It was a nat­u­ral pro­gres­sion for deputy pres­i­dents of the ANC to be­come pres­i­dents.

Un­for­tu­nately, the sit­u­a­tion is com­pletely dif­fer­ent this time, for Cyril Ramaphosa.

Be­fore, gen­der had not been an is­sue; it was all about the po­si­tion, not whether the can­di­date was a man or a woman.

Things are dif­fer­ent to­day. The party is di­vided.

For ex­am­ple, the ANC Women’s League is vig­or­ously call­ing for a fe­male pres­i­dent, and Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma is its pre­ferred can­di­date.

Ramaphosa and Dlamini Zuma are so far the main con­tenders for the ANC’s pres­i­dency.

I disagree with those who claim that South Africa is “now” ready for a fe­male pres­i­dent.

What is it that makes the coun­try ready now, and why was it not ready all along since 1994?

Were there no suit­able fe­male can­di­dates be­fore Dlamini Zuma?

It is known that Zuma backs the idea of a fe­male pres­i­dent and that he is be­hind his ex-wife to as­cend the throne.

This can be in­ter­preted as a cyn­i­cal ploy to den­i­grate Ramaphosa and at the same time deny him the top ANC po­si­tion.

I say this be­cause there are those who be­lieve that Zuma is a crowd-puller for the ANC.

He there­fore wields enor­mous in­flu­ence within the party.

His sup­port for the idea of a fe­male pres­i­dent is likely to strengthen sup­port for his ex-wife. Per­haps it would have been good for Zuma as the cur­rent pres­i­dent of the party to have re­mained silent and im­par­tial on this mat­ter.

Nev­er­the­less, pol­i­tics is a game all on its own and, hy­po­thet­i­cally, Zuma is aware that should his ex-wife be­come the pres­i­dent, he may be given a gov­ern­ment po­si­tion, ei­ther in­side or out­side the coun­try.

In­deed, many of those on ei­ther side of the ad­vo­cacy is­sue hope for and ex­pect “a slice of the pie” if their pre­ferred can­di­date be­comes the next pres­i­dent.

While Dlamini Zuma clearly has far more hands-on ex­pe­ri­ence in mat­ters of state than Ramaphosa, I do not agree with those who say this nec­es­sar­ily en­ti­tles her to be the next pres­i­dent of the ANC in his place.

That is pure il­lu­sion. I be­lieve that po­lit­i­cal lead­er­ship is all about qual­ity rather than ex­pe­ri­ence, re­gard­less of whether that per­son is a man or a woman.

Let’s not for­get Man­dela had no ex­pe­ri­ence at all in gov­ern­ment be­fore he be­came pres­i­dent.

Nev­er­the­less, be­cause of the qual­i­ties he pos­sessed, he is still ad­mired and re­spected as one of the most ex­cep­tional pres­i­dents the world has ever seen.

Whether a man or a woman, the ANC needs a leader with good qual­i­ties.

Come De­cem­ber let’s hope that a leader of that cal­i­bre be­comes the ANC’s pres­i­dent. Temba, Ham­man­skraal


CON­TENDER: Ex­pe­ri­ence in mat­ters of state does not en­ti­tle Dlamini Zuma to be next ANC pres­i­dent, says the writer.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from South Africa

© PressReader. All rights reserved.