Free advice to JZ: change tack on the way to 2009 poll

The ANC president, who will be South Africa's next head of state, always has choice words in his oratory.

The ANC president, who will be South Africa's next head of state, always has choice words in his oratory.

Though repertoire would be befitting I will confine myself to Msholozi's gift of the gab.

Poet William Wordsworth put it this way: "Words are the wings of action." Though an English Romantic Age poet, Wordsworth might have had Jacob Zuma in mind when he wrote these famous words.

You see, the man who would be president rarely believes in retracting especially potent statements.

I will not repeat his oft-said snakes gibe and his attempt at justifying reference to the serpent. In 2006, during one of his hyped-up public utterances, he said: "The ANC will rule until Jesus comes."

No amount of chastising, either in the media or privately, solicited any contrition. In fact, he looked rather bemused by the hullabaloo.

Only a week ago, this time as the war of words reached a crescendo between the ANC and the infant Congress of the People, Zuma repeated the statement.

Now, biblically, it is given that when Jesus returns to earth He will take all His people to heaven with Him.

Scholars, thinkers and great poets such as William Butler Yeats think that when Jesus returns it will be The Second Coming - which will bear ominously on existence itself.

Simply put, The Second Coming will mean the end of the world, of life.

Back to JZ.

I wonder whether Msholozi, he who commands a huge following among the ANC disciples, comprehends fully the effect of his exhortation.

I'll try to explain this.

The ANC is the oldest liberation movement in Africa, ostensibly in the world. It has fought gallantly to topple the National Party and end apartheid.

It is therefore noble for JZ to instil in the party faithful a great sense of allegiance while also painting a picture of invincibility.

So, understandably, to JZ that Jesus will be resurrected one day might be a myth never to happen. He believes the ANC will rule forever.

But I think he should change tack if he is to ensure that ANC followers remain loyal forever.

I am sceptical because I believe that one of the best methods to ensure loyalty is by inculcating party principles, beliefs and policies and also fulfilling promises and meeting expectations.

If not, one day the members will see through this "until Jesus returns" rhetoric that might haunt JZ.

Here is a lesson, and it is out of respect not arrogance that I give it freely to the ANC leader who would become the next president.

Zuma is an honorary pastor and should be familiar with the gospel.

Intellectuals might not agree but it has been chronicled that the Book of Revelation has come to be read as prophesying the events of the end of history. A general resurrection, a general judgment and a new age.

Others have boldly described The Second Coming as Armageddon - the final battle at the end of the world between the forces of good and evil.

Surely, the honourable JZ does not wish that to happen to the ANC.

A simple drum beat would be enough: "Follow me, follow the ANC because it is the right thing to do."

I suggest this should be Zuma's battle - oops, I don't mean it literally - cry as we march towards the 2009 elections.