Friday, November 07, 2008

Breakfast with Jacob Zuma

I am eating breakfast with Jacob Zuma.... and anorher hundred or so people. The Cape Town Press Club has invited the ANC President to speak. And I am curious. I do not agree with Jacob Zuma and dislike his personal moraliry. But he is a powerful politician who profoundly affects our country. He is a charming man with a sense of humour and a lovely chuckle. He is good at responding warmly to hostile questions. And like any good politician he avoids answering difficult questions by offering pleasantaries and a smile. I still do not agree with Jacob Zuma, but I will admit that he is wonderfully warm and friendly.

I am back home, and on reflection I am deeply uncomfortable with Jacob Zuma: He is good at reading his audience and keeping them happy. But he would not answer the questions that really matterted:
* Should he not reploy Thabo Mbeki away from mediating in Zimbabwe? he said that it was up to SADEC to deal with Zimbabwe, and that the ANC could not take a position on this matter.
* Should he not stop singing Umshini wam? He agreed that we must oppose any political violence and teach the young people to live peacefully - while ignoring the question
* Should he not silence Julius Malema? Zuma said that Malema is like any other hot headed young man who will mature with time. "Even Nelson Mandela was hot headed as a young man". But he did not say that he opposed Malema's utterances.
* Would is not be good to keep the current President of South Africa in office for a five year term for the sake of stasbility? Zuma replied that he had no opinion on this because he was the servant of the ANC.

Personally, I do not want someone who keeps us warm and fuzzy - I want a leader who is willing to stand up and give an opinion. And Jacob Zuma did not do this.


Barbara said...

I have to confess, I'm not familiar with South African politics, but your last statement resonates even in America and I agree with you 100% - "I do not want someone who keeps us warm and fuzzy - I want a leader who is willing to stand up and give an opinion." Why do so many other people prefer warm and fuzzy?

Eliza D Hunter said...

I so utterly and totally agree, Pete, we as a country are falling and we gonna fall really hard, I don't at all think that Zuma would be good for our country. I am a firm Lekota supporter, simply because he speaks his mind, wants to make a difference and I believe that if we stand together and actually vote and not just complain, we could just maybe get somewhere.