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South Africa: Lessons for South Africa’s Jacob Zuma in Robert Mugabe’s Misfortunes


Left: Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe. Proper: South African President Jacob Zuma.


President Robert Mugabe’s endgame in Zimbabwe holds quite a lot of Lessons for his South African counterpart, Jacob Zuma, as the latter too, considers his prospects against the top of his presidency. The Primary, clearly, is that while, from the pinnacle of power, a country’s president may feel the monarch of all he can survey, it is at all times that you can think of that the blade of the guillotine is simply across the corner.

Consequently, it’s always prudent to keep at least two bags packed for a hasty exit: one filled with go well with, shirts, lingerie and socks, every other full of foreign currency echange (preferably bucks or Euros). You Just never know how issues may pan out, so it’s best to be ready.

Following the almost-coup, Mugabe has been in a stronger position than many African dictators ahead of him since the African Union has in recent years turn into a lover of democracy and a hater of coups. It subsequently now calls for that modifications of management should have at the least a veneer of constitutionality.

This has at all times been the Zimbabwean defense force’s vulnerable level right through this Prior week of flirting with political power. Hence its insistence that, regardless of its take-over of the airwaves, State Home and parliament, alongside its Home-arrest of the president and his domestic, its moves are not a coup.

In flip, this has equipped Mugabe with a substantial stage of wriggle room, which he has sought to take advantage of to the full. Indeed, it has remained his key bargaining chip, Not least because the African Union does Not wish to be considered as birthday celebration to the overthrow of a hero of African liberation.

Explicit political actor

Zuma will feel assured that whereas in Zimbabwe the military has long been deeply involved in the ruling celebration’s inside affairs and the wider political arena, the South African Nationwide Defence Drive is not an Specific political actor. He stands in no worry of a defense force coup (or perhaps a Zimbabwe-style non-coup). But he does have to worry about what occurs inside his political party, the African Nationwide Congress (ANC).

Despite The Fact That his favoured candidate, Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, were to win the birthday celebration management on the ANC’s December congress, Zuma’s persevering with as South African President may well be seen as a political embarrassment. If robust contender Cyril Ramaphosa wins, Much More pressing calls can be made from inside the ANC for the him to be “recalled” as a result of He’s Going To be considered as an electoral liability.

It’s A honest guess that, whoever wins, an excuse will be made for a delegation from the celebration leadership to discuss with the president and to ask him to face down. Just ask former President Thabo Mbeki who used to be fired Via his personal ANC. If Zuma refuses to cooperate, then the ANC may turn to parliament, the place enough ANC MPs may really feel emboldened to vote with the opposition to dethrone him.

Combating for survival

Like Mugabe, Zuma will likely be struggling with for a dignified exit. Even More urgently, He’ll be Combating for survival. In previous years, Mugabe will have feared the chance of retribution for his sins, and would have been determined to steady immunity from prosecution.

Now, at Ninety Three, he’s assured that once out of place of job He Will be left in peace. He may just or would possibly not savour the irony that, in contrast to his usa’s final white ruler Ian Smith, he will not be able to stay in Zimbabwe after he has been forced to stand down, But He’s Going To be aware of that he has to go away.

Neither the army nor Zanu-PF will want him placing around, fearing his skill to continue pulling strings. So off he must go, to South Africa, Dubai or Singapore (any place with a number of respectable stores for his shopaholic wife Grace). His Major fast concern then, we may just presume, is safe passage and immunity for his family. We may Further presume, that there is a whole lot of money stashed away in overseas financial institution bills to maintain the crocodile from the door.

Zuma’s tricky place

Zuma is differently positioned. If he loses the Presidency he stands in all types of risks, Not least of which is prosecution for Earlier financial crimes and the prospect of his ending his days in jail. In different phrases, he has way more to discount for, and He’s Going To be doing so from a considerably weaker position. Not least of his problems is that he is a lot youthful than Mugabe, so could spend quite a couple of years in prison.

Zuma’s Main energy is that, whoever wins the party leadership, the ANC will almost definitely need to grant him immunity and get him out of the way, as in any other case they face the chance of their former chief going through a corruption trial right through the lead up to elections in 2019.

But for a start, there is not any provision for presidential immunity in the structure, and its provide would face a robust problem within the courts. Furthermore, if the Gupta or different Zuma allies within the mission of “state seize” had been to be prosecuted, Zuma could face being dragged into court as a witness.

Briefly, Zuma will fully grasp that it’ll make sense to hot-foot it in another country, preferably to a conveniently authoritarian us of a so that they can flip down requests for extradition.

The fickle folks

What Mugabe is finding out now, and it is something of which Zuma must take just right word, is that the individuals are an ungrateful lot, and are more likely to turn against you Just while you most want their toughen. Up till per week in the past, it was presumed that Mugabe retained the backing of all who mattered in Zanu-PF and that he would once more be its candidate for president at the subsequent election. However now, like many a dictator, he’s having to study fast that the folks not love him.

Previous allies, like the struggle veterans, had already grew to become in opposition to him, repudiating his apparent bid for his wayward spouse, Grace, to interchange him. Zanu-PF Youth chief, Kudzai Chipanga, firstly declared his willingness to “die for Mugabe” and labelled Main-Normal Constantino Chiwenga, the chief of the non-coup, a traitor when the military first intervened. After being locked up, he shamefacedly read out an abject apology, begging forgiveness, and pleading the inexperience of Youth.

This has been adopted Via all 10 provincial companies of Zanu-PF calling for Mugabe to move, and even encouraging peculiar people to sign up for the marches being organised By Means Of opposition events and civil society hectic his dismissal.

Zuma is just too wily a flesh presser to not be aware of that once he loses the birthday party presidency, his strengthen base will drain away, and that He’ll turn out to be known as the day gone by’s man. But like Mugabe, He’s Going To take remedy from the regional body, the Southern African Building Group (SADC), for there may be nothing his fellow presidents dread greater than the prospect of any certainly one of their quantity going through impeachment.

He Will also comprehend that, not like Mbeki, whose stature in Africa is still excessive, he has no plausible future as a roving ex-president. Zuma will understand that if he needs to experience his retirement in peace, he has to depart South Africa ahead of he will get knotted up in courtroom complaints.

His very best option will likely be to snatch those two suitcases, make a hasty exit and transfer in next door to Bob and grace in Dubai.

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