TWEETS HER INTENTIONS
ANC presidential hopeful Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma has turned to the church and social networks to give impetus to her ambition to lead the ANC and the country.
The former AU commission chairperson spent part of her weekend addressing congregants at the Catholic Church in Mariannhill, west of Durban. She also tweeted about the importance of a woman in a leadership position.
This was the first time that Dlamini Zuma spoke openly about the presidential race, in which she and Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa are regarded as frontrunners.
“I am saying it is time for a woman to be in charge. If we can run our homes, we can run the country,” Dlamini Zuma said, without specifically mentioning herself.
She has been spending a lot of her time in KwaZuluNatal, her stronghold province, addressing gatherings ever since her return from the AU’s seat of power in Addis Ababa.
She is being strongly supported by the ANC Youth League, the ANC Women’s League and the MK Military Veterans Association.
So far, Ramaphosa has been endorsed by Cosatu and the SACP.
Since the ANC and its alliance partners started talking about leadership succession, Dlamini Zuma has refused to be drawn on the matter, but this weekend, she said that only when a woman was in charge would women taste freedom.
Dlamini Zuma also particularly enjoys the support of President Jacob Zuma, who will step down as ANC president in December when the party holds its elective national conference in Joburg.
“Once we elect the woman, she will do what we want as women,” said Dlamini Zuma, encouraging women to organise themselves to have their views heard by the government.
“If a woman is elected, we will encourage her to work with organised women. But there is no woman who can run the country without being voted into power,” she said.
Dlamini Zuma seemed to be going all out to campaign for the top spot. She tweeted at the weekend: “If we elect a female president we can look to her to empower women and fast-track women’s emancipation.”
She added: “We are oppressed because we are poor, black and female. Women are not only over 50% of the population but we also produce the other 50%.”
She also tweeted that if women can lead their families and communities, “why can’t we lead South Africa?”
But she received a backlash from Twitter users. Sarah-Leigh Elago @GeniusLeigh said: “You were the AU chairperson, first woman for that matter, and you didn’t do much. Tell me how will you run a country? Smh!”
The Black Inferno @Brothercharcoal tweeted: “To call yourself poor just to get poor people’s support and votes just shows what you really think poor people are good for.”
Political analyst Ralph Mathekga said Dlamini Zuma had started campaigning as soon as she landed at OR Tambo International Airport on her return from Ethiopia.
“Those who organised her welcoming intentionally did so to begin her campaign, as this portrayed her as someone who is ready to lead the ANC.
“She has demonstrated a willingness to pick a fight,” Mathekga said, adding that although Dlamini Zuma never mentions herself when she addresses gatherings “she has got other people to mention her name for her”.
Mathekga said Ramaphosa had also started his campaign, as had parliamentary Speaker Baleka Mbete, who also harbours presidential ambitions.
“It is a clandestine campaign. People are using opportunities at official functions to actually make themselves available for leadership,” said Mathekga.
The ANC had banned candidates from campaigning before the process is officially opened in September.
Ramaphosa, meanwhile, has addressed gatherings in the Eastern Cape, where he delivered a keynote address at a fundraising banquet for the United Methodist Church of Southern Africa in Mthatha. He also spoke at the 20th anniversary of the Eastern Cape House of Traditional Leaders in Bhisho Stadium.
Ramaphosa told the Methodist Church followers that the church had a vital role to play in fighting corruption and maladministration.
“When the SACC (SA Council of Churches) established an unburdening panel on these issues, it affirmed the deep commitment of the church to work to address society’s wrongs,” he had said.
If we can run our homes, we can run the country
CAMPAIGN MODE: Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma was told she didn’t do much as AU chair.