Tue Oct 25 08:48:03 SAST 2016
Minister of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs Des Van Rooyen. Picture Credit: Gallo Images
Van Rooyen suddenly withdraws his interdict

In another twist involving the public protector’s office‚ the Minister of Co-operative Governance an.

Save Africa from 'saviours'

By unknown | Mar 30, 2007 | COMMENTS [ 0 ]

On Thursday the ANC Youth League organised a session where the media, politicians and political commentators discussed the role of the media in the ANC succession debate.

On Thursday the ANC Youth League organised a session where the media, politicians and political commentators discussed the role of the media in the ANC succession debate.

The irony was that it was organised by the youth wing of the very same party that denies the existence of such a debate.

ANCYL's Fikile Mbalula found himself in the unenviable position of having to interrogate the media's coverage of the succession debate - while also denying its existence.

As is the norm, most of the ANC and ANCYL members who participated in the debate accused the media of misinforming the public about what is happening within the ruling party.

Some of them argued that this was because the media "did not understand the ANC".

The counter to this argument, made by several media practitioners and commentators, was that the ANC used this tag to avoid scrutiny by the media.

Political commentator Xolela Mangcu said journalists did not have to be members of the ANC to write about the party.

His argument was that the history of the ANC is public knowledge anyway.

For me, one of the most striking comments came from an ANCYL member who said the ANC "was created by God".

One can only assume that the majority of the ANC leaders do not subscribe to this notion.

Having said so, it is important to mention that ANC deputy president Jacob Zuma was once quoted as having said "the ANC would rule until the return of Jesus".

During an interview with the SABC, prolific Kenyan writer Ngugi wa Thiong'o was asked why he continues to write about post-colonial Africa. Wa Thiong'o said it was because he was concerned about the political situation in post-colonial Africa where massive human rights abuse still abound.

The world-famous author also raised another important issue about post-colonial Africa - how some African leaders have come to regard themselves as the anointed liberators of the oppressed people from the yoke of colonialism.

This notion has led to some African leaders seeing themselves as God-chosen Messiahs whom "no man can challenge".

Taken in this context, the utterances by both the ANCYL member and the statement ascribed to Zuma cannot just be flippantly dismissed.

In the case of the ANCYL member, his utterances must be seen as a serious indictment on both the league and the ANC when it comes to the political education of their members.

Zuma's case becomes even worse in the context of him being a candidate within the succession contest.

The question that should be asked is whether he does indeed believe that the ANC is ordained by God to rule South Africa indefinitely.

Interestingly it is not Zuma alone who is guilty of making such messianic assertions.

In 2001, during an International Bar Association investigation of the beginnings of Zimbabwe's rule-of-law crisis, Mugabe is said to have remarked that he was like Jesus Christ.

"When people say I am dead, I rise again," he said.

Any leader who holds such notions does not augur well for democracy in Africa.

Experience has shown that leaders who believe they possess messianic powers turn out to be dictators.


Login OR Join up TO COMMENT