STOP THE ATTACKS ON ZUMA
RUSH Limbaugh, in a show called I Hope Obama Fails, said: "I got a request here from a major American print publication. 'Dear Rush: For the Obama (Immaculate) Inauguration we are asking a handful of very prominent politicians, statesmen, scholars, businessmen, commentators, and economists to write 400 words on their hope for the Obama presidency.
'We would love to include you. If you could send us 400 words on your hope for the Obama presidency, we need it by Monday night, that would be ideal.
' Now, we're caught in this trap again. The premise is, what is your hope. My hope, and please understand me when I say this. I disagree fervently with the people on our side of the aisle who have caved and who say, 'Well, I hope he succeeds. We've got to give him a chance'. Why? They didn't give George W Bush a chance in 2000. Before he was inaugurated the search-and-destroy mission had begun.
"I'm not talking about search-and-destroy, but I've been listening to Barack Obama for a year-and-a-half. I know what his politics are. I know what his plans are, as he has stated them. I don't want them to succeed."
The conservative and right wing Rush Limbaugh Show is apparently the most listened to radio talk show, broadcast on more than 600 radio stations across the US.
I believe that we also have our own Rush Limbaughs in South Africa who are also indirectly saying: "I know what his plans are, as he has stated them. I don't want them to succeed."
In an editorial, Barney Mthombothi of the Financial Mail said "we knew what we were getting ourselves into when we elected this man as our president".
Jacob Dlamini who refers to the ANC as "a ruling party at odds with 'the people'" and goes on to say that President Jacob Zuma's ascendancy to the highest office has not led to the deepening of SA's democracy.
Justice Malala who is said to have been dismissed by one Ronald Suresh Roberts as an example of an "ideological xenotransplantation" (apparently this means that he thinks like a white reactionary) writes that "many in the ANC and the government are depressed by the poor leadership of the president".
Another South African Rush Limbaugh is Sipho Ngwema, the former Cope spokesperson who suggests in an article titled "Exposing lies: Zuma has never placed a premium on his honesty" that the president is a dishonest person and indeed a liar.
He had the audacity to write that "an honest look into the issues that have besieged the ruling party and, by extension the country, over the past decade will reveal that they all have to do with the personal indiscretion of the person of the president".
According to Ngwema, Zuma has single-handedly delivered a chunk of the ANC to a group of vultures that have mercilessly laid assault on the moral fibre of his organisation.
Ngwema further states that "all these dubious interventions that have gradually imparted a sense of disrespect for the institutions of the state and sheer contempt for the nation. There have not been any consequences for his actions".
"In turn, Zuma has never placed any premium on his honesty - because he has never had to tell the truth. Every time he has been caught out - his lieutenants have desperately come to his rescue."
The characteristics of the Rush Limbaughs is that they do not have any civility. They pretend to respect the constitution while having utter disregard for the results of democracy.
The president was elected and did not ascend the highest office through a coup d'état.
All South Africans must respect him, be courteous and show good manners while writing or talking about him. This does not mean that there should be no criticism of the president.
Somebody once wrote that "in order for any group, organisation, or institution to be able to build and maintain itself as a functioning entity capable of achieving its potential, it must be able to manage its interpersonal relationships in a positive civil and respectful manner."
One journalist noted that when Zuma was attacked by the British newspapers, South Africans were lacking in their defence of the Commander in Chief of the Republic of South Africa.
Are we ever going to accept that Zuma is the president of the Republic of South Africa? Where is our patriotism and civility?
Venomous attacks on Zuma have no place in civil discourse in a democratic South Africa.
People have a democratic right to express their views without fear of reprisal.
This is not an effort to force the Rush Limbaughs out of public discussion but a clarion call to the Mthombothis and Ngwemas of this world to have good manners and treat our president with respect.
We are not a banana republic where people are selective in their acceptance of democratic values.
While referring to Zuma as "this man" Mthombothi positively writes that "the outcome of a democratic election is a solemn pledge between the electorate and those who have won its favour, which should be annulled only by another election. The Zuma presidency should be allowed to run its course. As we made our bed, so we must lie on it".
Zuma must not be discouraged but continue in his quest for social, political and economic freedom of our people and the words of one Koroma from Siera Leone are appropriate in the circumstances: "As a former community leader ... I understand that people spend more time looking at what is wrong and hardly do we lift up or appreciate those who shoulder the burdens of responsibilities, those who are the last to leave the hallways of decision making or the first to answer to the agonies of others mostly feel undervalued and unrecognised.
"Your towering obligations are such that sometimes even a few words of appreciation and encouragement will give you thousands of reasons to continue the sacred duty of service to our nation."
I call upon those who have honest disagreements with the person of Zuma to stop further polarising our communities and urge them to act in a spirit of respect and civility towards our president. The action of the Rush Limbaughs should be deplored by all people of goodwill in this country.
l The writer is chairperson of the Lobbying Corporation of South Africa