Zuma has indeed learnt much from Stalin
Soon Robert Mugabe will be gone, leaving behind a trail of destruction in his wake. In Zimbabwe, the judiciary is almost non-existent; government maladministration is chronic; state institutions are dysfunctional; and the economy is completely broken. Much of the damage is almost irreparable. Mugabe's signature style of governance has been dictatorial, murderous on occasions, and excessively self-serving regardless of how it affects the electorate and the country. He represents much of what is wrong in Africa today.
President Zuma is increasingly showing similar signs of megalomania. In the evolution of his accession to power there is a concomitant evolution in his acquisition of state resources, Nkandla being an extreme example of this trajectory of corruption. Just as a sycophantic military, a compliant police force and political cronies support Mugabe, just so Zuma depends on crony capitalism and loyalists within his Party to do his bidding. And they do so unflinchingly.
Saturday's rally in Nelspruit took the cake! In preparation for Zuma's appearance at the rally, the state's machinery was set in motion by the Security Cluster to protect the President from being booed. When I saw this headline, I was rather intrigued to know how they went about shielding the Posa from being booed without curbing the public's right to freedom of speech. According to the Sunday Times, precautionary measures included instructing people where to sit according to their provincial memberships and the preregistration of party supporters. In addition, Collins Chabane and Siyabonga Cwele visited residents around the Mbombela Stadium to warn them not to disrupt the rally.
Intelligence sources allegedly claimed: "This time around we are well prepared." "We know where every bus comes from, and who the passengers are." The people were seated as provincial delegations so that it becomes easier to isolate and deal with any trouble."
Now is this not Stalinism, deluxe - the use of state machinery to shut up their own comrades up, to stop ANC supporters from showing their disapproval of the great clay-footed Zuma. Any threats to the ANC's rule "until Jesus comes", and displays of disdain for the president, shall be prevented even by military means if necessary. This is a dangerous portend of things to come and worse, Zuma's acolytes in the Cabinet, are not innocent and will have much to account for in the future. They are all as culpable as the President for the decline of the rule of law and the endemic corruption.
Stalin did not operate alone. He had his cronies and inspired by Marxism and Leninism, they helped him develop the "cult of the individual with himself at the centre" and they seriously advocated the national democratic revolution. He also extensively used the secret police to reduce opposition.
Zuma still operates very much in this mould; cultivating a cult around him, and centralising power as demonstrated by Noseweek's organogram of the Zulu-Nostra occupying all the levers of power including the Constitutional Court. This imperial network, to echo Martin Welz, is nothing but a demonstration of institutionalised tribal warfare, where the tribe in power loots as much as it can from the state's treasury. This is scary stuff and when Zuma promises, without a trace of irony, that he will no longer tolerate corruption and lazy civil servants and clean up government, then we say, Mr President how about starting with the Arms Deal and Nkandla.
Instead of his assurances that "Public servants and public representatives will be prohibited from doing business with the state, and further measures will be developed to identify and prosecute corrupt actions by public servants and others," how about showing some respect to Thuli Madonsela, the Public Protector and allowing her to do her job fearlessly?
These empty pre-election promises are a provocation to those of us who know that as soon as Zuma wins, the looting will continue. Because if he is really serious about rooting out corruption, he, first, should resign and also know that very few of his cabinet and loyalists will be around to run the ANC.
This article first appeared in Die Burger.
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