Wednesday, December 19, 2007

JZ Rulz

Sounds like a gansta rap.

This is the story of a Zulu freedom fighter who emerges as an astute post-revolutionary politician aspiring to lead the country. Jacob Zuma has just been elected the leader of South Africa’s dominant political party.

But – doesn’t he have some very dodgy friends?
Yes. One of them in now in prison for soliciting bribes on behalf of Zuma, who (it is said) promised to supply government contracts to gift-bearing arms dealers. But then this is not unusual amongst politicians: gifts and favours were the lubricant to deals between American politicians and American oil barons in the election of George Bush Jr, and the whole Iraq fiasco. And Gordon Brown is discovering that the British Labour Party has solicited some dodgy funding in exchange for signing some official papers. So JZ is in good company.

But – might he not land up in court for the same charges?
Yes, the national prosecuting authority is planning to charge him. But he will be in good company: Silvio Berlusconi the former Prime Minister of Italy, and Jacques René Chirac the former President of France are both facing charges of fraud and corruption. This seems to be the way of modern politicians.

But didn’t he have an inappropriate sexual encounter?
Yes - with the much younger daughter of his best friend, who was entrusted into his care on his death bed. And again, he is not alone in his sexual peccadilloes. Just ask the former American President Bill Clinton or the former Israel President Moshe Katsav.

But – wasn’t he democratically elected as party leader?
Yes. This is true: as was Aldof Hitler democratically elected as leader of a German political party! Democracy is not the will of God. It is a human election tool that ensures that the most popular leader gets to be in charge. This does not ask the leader to be moral, or ethical, or visionary. It just asks the leader to be popular. JZ is popular.

And perhaps this is the core problem with modern politics: leaders are elected because of their ability to capture the popular appeal: this has very little to do with personal faith/morality/integrity, and everything to do with the public persona of sound bite, image, and a strategic use of opinion polls. I do not support Jacob Zuma as president of my country. But I do not think him different from the President/Prime Minister/Illustrious Leader of any other country in the world.

I believe that Christ followers need to engage political leadership at every level. We must offer our opinions, our prayers, and our participation. We dare not abdicate our public civic responsibility in favour of some “other world” that we think lies beyond death. This is the world given us by God. It is this world that we must engage....for Christ’s sake.


Scout with the Cross said...


With you all the way on this one! We do need to be heard in the political arena.


Jenny Hillebrand said...

Don't you feel pretty helpless at times?

Paddy said...

All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing.

We have voices, and we need to use them!