Stupid, stupid, stupid. Zuma’s coterie, drunk on power, might think they’ve got the upper hand in their battle against Mbeki. But by ignominiously firing a man well known for his pride, they are simply hastening the demise of the ANC as we know it. They have provided the impetus required for the inevitable wrenching of the ANC into two distinct parties.
Everyone knew the ANC would split but most thought it was still in the distant future — like in 2014. Having recalled Mbeki, however, means he has nothing much to lose by starting up a rival movement. And he has, lest the Zuma camp forgets, an influential group of backers, supporters and funders. He even has pockets of popularity (especially amongst the middle classes), admittedly not something which appears obvious our news is saturated with mshini-toting pro-Zuma fanatics.
The Zuma camp have made a strategic blunder — by shoving Mbeki out into the cold, they are creating a significant challenge to their accession to power. Which is a good thing, of course.
Our democracy (if one can call it that) may just stand a chance.