Tag Archives: zuma

The “Daily Mail” se p**s

I don’t like President Zuma. I think he’s vacuous, weak and unscrupulous. That said, when the Daily Mail launched a bilious attack on the man ahead of his arrival in London I felt the stirrings of indignant, patriotic rage. He is the head of state, my head of state — and while I’m all for taking potshots at power, the Daily Mail‘s attack felt based more on malice and contempt for cultural “otherness” than a substantive unease about the man’s politics and policies.

While Zuma’s lifestyle undoubtedly can raise eyebrows, the paper’s tone and choice of words seemed aimed to insult as much as possible. It also seemed determined to pass moral judgment on President Zuma’s polygamy. In my view, a newspaper’s role is not to pass judgment, but to report on “the news” objectively and accurately (as far as possible — as achieving the two are elusive but worth striving to achieve).

But  objectivity and accuracy are aims that only credible newspapers hold.  For others, including the Daily Mail, credibility is not the point: reinforcing the prejudices and petty snobberies of its readership is. For these sad creatures, buying such a paper is not to keep informed, but to have their own sullied, bigoted views of the world confirmed so that they can live in a state of smug superiority.

Much has been said about the British press’s coverage of President Zuma and his visit to the UK. The views that most mirror my own were those expressed in a Business Day editorial on Thursday:

MANY thousands of South Africans gave their lives for the freedom of Britain in the two great wars of the last century. Britain is one of this country’s main trading partners and the single biggest source of foreign tourists to our country. We have sporting links that go back more than a hundred years and South Africans have enriched English literature and science.

So it is appalling to have to witness the reception President Jacob Zuma has received on his state visit to the UK, from sections of the British media.

Zuma has been pilloried because of the chaotic state of his private life. But you would think British journalists would know better.

After all, wasn’t it the last Conservative prime minister of that country who we now know was screwing one of his cabinet ministers while still in office? Wasn’t it the heir to the British throne who told a woman over the telephone he wished he was one of her tampons? Wasn’t it the British Parliament and the House of Lords that were hit last year with proof that dozens of British politicians had lied about their expenses and stolen money from the taxpaying public?

The British body politic is without peer when it comes to sex scandals and moral or financial hypocrisy and the sight of leading British newspapers having a go at Zuma for his lapses of virtue is sickening.

Let us help you guys in Fleet Street with a little news. Life in SA, even under Zuma, is, trust us, a lot better than in the UK. Sure Zuma’s imperfect. He may even be a lousy leader. But he’s our lousy leader. We’ll deal with him. When UK politicians visit here we’ll be sure to treat them with respect.

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Zuma’s parole for pals

Many people, myself included, had suspected that convicted fraudster and pal of President Zuma, Schabir Shaik, managed to get medical parole through having friends in high places.

Only terminally ill prisoners qualify for medical parole; it seemed hugely doubtful that notwithstanding Mr Shaik’s medical issues, he was most certainly not terminally ill, or about to die, when he was released early March 2009.

This was view further solidified when, over the past few months, reports continually emerged of Shaik being out about, at restaurants and playing golf. It also seemed a little odd that a man who was ostensibly suffering from a terminal illness and on the verge of dying, hadn’t passed away yet.

Today the M&G provides us with some sad, unsurprising answers. They have obtained documents which clearly show that Shaik was not terminally ill and that his parole release was politically motivated.

Read the M&G‘s expose here.

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Quote of the day

Rhoda Kadalie, in today’s Business Day, on the Lekota dissidents:

Having failed to crush Zuma, these rebels are now plunging headlong into calling a national convention, not because they believe in a constitutional democracy and the Freedom Charter, as they claim. It is about revenge. They will destroy Zuma even if it means destroying their beloved ANC.

And

For Lekota to claim that the current ANC has departed from the Freedom Charter is a bit rich, given that the cabinet of which he was a part behaved as though the Freedom Charter never existed.

As usual, Kadalie hits the nail on the head!

Check out the rest of her must-read column here.

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Rebel party gathers critical mass

The M&G analyses the potential support Mosiuoa Lekota’s breakaway party has across the country in this article. The most likely sources of support are the division-wracked Western Cape, Northern Cape and Eastern Cape.

Today The Times quotes Lekota on further plans for the convention, with a new party possibly launched on Reconciliation Day (16 December). Click here to read the article.

It is interesting to see the reports covering the shredding of ANC membership cards by members disillusioned with Zuma. At last the spotlight is on the widespread division of the ANC at a grass roots level. Clearly the organisation is far from monolithic — and this will hopefully provide the momentum for the breakaway party.

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How the ANC will push out the President

The latest M&G’s lead story outlines how the ANC plans to get rid of Mbeki. Apparently they do not want go through the conventional route of a parliamentary impeachment or vote of no confidence for fears they will be obligated to call an early election which the party feels too unprepared for.

Instead, it has been decided to encourage Mbeki to resign and spare himself the humiliation of being “pushed”. It remains to be seen whether this will work. What is also quite exciting are the rumours abounding that Mbeki is considering creating a new party to rival the ANC. Being forced out by the ANC may well be the last straw for Mbeki, according to Karima Brown, the Business Day‘s sterling political editor who also adds:

Polls have been conducted, research commissioned, meetings held and stories spread. According to one, an election now with such a party in the field would result in a hung Parliament. That may be optimistic but it is evidence of something being hatched. So far, backers have been cautious about when or how to launch, but Malema may be pushing the boat out to sea. Much will depend on how the crisis between Mbeki and the ANC is handled over the next few days. Running an election campaign is expensive but Mbeki’s backers do not lack funds.

The birth of a rival movement will have a radical — and welcome — impact on our political landscape; while messy, it will increase our democracy’s chance of surviving because it will shatter the ANC’s hegemony.

Read the M&G’s cover story here. Click here to read the Business Day article.

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Zuma “rapes” justice system

As usual, Zapiro hits the nail on the head with, as it happens, a mighty sledgehammer in his latest Sunday Times cartoon. His hard-hitting, courageous, uncomfortable yet brilliant cartoon depicts Umshini about to rape “the justice system” which lies helplessly pinioned to the ground by Zuma’s head cheerleaders (Julius Malema, Gwede Mantashe, Blade Nzimande and Zwelinzima Vavi).

Predictably, it has sparked indignant outrage in the Zuma camp — probably because they know that its message is spot on. Zuma’s supporters have been brazenly doing everything possible to undermine the judiciary to ensure that he is never held accountable for his alleged criminal activities. Perhaps they were expecting they could get away with it – without being challenged about it in the press. As Zapiro has so potently demonstrated, they were wrong about that.

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Our president’s arms deal bribe

For years I’ve suspected that the president was implicated in the arms deal’s corruption scandal. Ducking and diving, the president has clearly had much to hide. Today, however, we have more than conjecture (and an incriminating encrypted fax the DA has been in possession of) to go on. The Sunday Times bravely broke the story that Mbeki received R30 million from the German shipbuilding conglomerate MAN Ferrostaal in return for awarding the SA Navy’s submarine contract to the consortium it led. Apparently Mbeki gave R2 million to Zuma and the rest to the ANC. No wonder the arms deal probe has been a whitewash!

It will be interesting to see how the following weeks unfold.

Click here to read the story.

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