South African President, Jacob Zuma has refuted and rejected calls for him to step down from civil organisations, and religious leaders, stating that he will only leave office if, and when Zimbabwe’s President, Robert Gabriel Mugabe has resigned, retired, or died.
The first citizen of the Republic of South Africa has been under fire lately after series of corruption exposes, Gupta State Capture revelations, and a landmark Constitutional Court Ruling that found him guilty of failing to uphold the Supreme Law of the land.
Opposition parties in the country, mainly the Economic Freedom Fighters led by Julius Malema, and the Democratic Alliance led by Mmusi Maimane have tried unsuccessfully to have Jacob Zuma impeached, arguing that his office had been compromised, and that he was repeatedly flaunting the constitution, and hence betraying his oath of office.
The calls have gone beyond opposition politicking, with several branches of the African National Congress, Zuma’s own party, calling for his ouster. The biggest being the entire province of Gauteng which houses Pretoria, the country’s capital, and Johannesburg, the commercial capital of the world.
With South African staring down the barrel of the gun of chaos, religious leaders, and non-governmental organisations have also joined the calls for Zuma to be removed from office, and they have held several #ZumaMustFall campaigns around the country.
The President had yet to react to the increased pressure, largely speaking his mind through proxies in the ANC and in government.
ANC Secretary General Gwede Mantashe rejected calls for the ANC to recall Zuma, arguing that it was tantamount to allowing the opposition to sow seeds that would destroy the country. He also threatened all ill-disciplined branches in the ANC that were working to destroy the party.
Over the weekend, it was widely reported that Jacob Zuma had warned that his followers in the rural areas would protest violently if he was removed from office without dignity, something that analysts noted as a direct threat of tribal politics that was tearing apart the ANC.
Jacob Zuma is Zulu, and since taking over, there have been accusations that he has purged all non-Zulu execuives, amid reports that the ANC has sworn that they will never be another Xhosa President in the party.
This latest revelation is however the most intriguing. Robert Mugabe, the mentor has ruled Zimbabwe for over 36 years. In that time he has overseen the destruction of the country’s infrastructure, looting of billions, and the slide of the country from a net food exporter, to an aid dependent nation.
His wife has stated that Mugabe will be taken to work in a wheelchair and a wheel barrow, and that he will rule even after he has passed 100 years of age.
Newspaper reports earlier this month quoted Mugabe saying he will rule and die in office.
Mugabe is scheduled to contest his former Deputy Joice Mujuru, and charismatic MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirayi in the 2018 Presidential elections in the country.
While the constitution in the country states that Mugabe can only contest in one more election, it has been made clear that he will die in office.
That brings the whole matter into perspective. Jacob Zuma is in his last term, but they have been reports of him running for an unprecedented 3rd term. If he plans to step down when Mugabe dies, retires, or resigns, it means he could rule South Africa for another 10 years.
Report by Maynard Chizavare