I have written about Polokwane - where Zuma ascended to President of the ANC, and branch meetings, and previous party splits before. The ANC has no term limits for its president, but South Africa’s constitution has a two term limit for the president of the country, and to avoid two centres of power the ANC has kept their president, the de-facto president of the country, to two terms as well.
- Jacob Zuma has made no meaningful stamp on the history of South Africa. I have blogged about Jacob Zuma’s rise to power in the ANC before. I am reminded of Winnie Mandela’s response when asked for comment about Thabo Mbeki’s re-election bid in 1999 - she said he “deserved another chance”. I am sorry - “deserve” is a strange modern word like “it’s not fair!” -creation of a concept that did not exist 100 years ago.
- The African National Congress has led South Africa since 1994 - the start of majority rule. Disaffection with Jacob Zuma’s recall of Thabo Mbeki has set an unwanted ball in motion - a potential split of the party before the next election. I have written about the ANC before - about Leadership in Africa, the election process, the rise of Zuma, and the election at Polokwane, While it is not a one-party state, the ANC dominates the political landscape, with over the 2/3rds majority needed to change the constitution.
- The Polokwane conference was a triumph of process, and a disaster for results. Much negotiation remains to be done during the last 18 months of Mbeki’s presidency. Winston Churchill famously said No one pretends that democracy is perfect or all-wise. Indeed, it has been said that democracy is the worst form of government except all those other forms that have been tried from time to time. Democracy was the winner at Polokwane, but democracy requires a well-informed and responsible electorate.
- All the indications are that Jacob Zuma will be elected as ANC president at the 52nd annual ANC conference in Polokwane from December 16 through December 20. Much effort has been put into consulting the grass roots of the party, and the result is in - the majority of ANC branches around the country want Zuma to lead the party. This might have been as much to do with the lack of other candidates - rank and file members were informed of the process, but many were unfamiliar with many of the names put forward.
- The next president of South Africa will be chosen this December at the December ANC conference in Limpopo. This is a tiny subset of the electorate that make this important decision. There have been three Presidential terms since the beginning of majority rule in South Africa. The Constitution of South Africa limits each president to two terms - the first term was Nelson Mandela, who stepped down after his first term to hand the reins over to Thabo Mbeki, his deputy during the first term.