– Why this is a cold water statement –
No holds bar words of an expelled Julius Malema, when some who wanted to know of his recent London Trip interviewed him. These words reminded me of those of American decorated general Douglas McArthur who led the Vietnam charge, MacArthur is famed for his claim “I will be back” yes he said he will be back. In addition, these words reminded me of the words of billionaire entrepreneur Bill Venter when he was fired, he re-echoed the words of MacArthur ‘I will be back” devoid of the American twang, in Afrikaans – ‘skorheid’. As history attests, he later bought out the same company.
Yet as much as MacArthur and Venter used similar words, the premise for this to materialise for Juju, seems to grow dimmer and dimmer as the season of elective nominations manifests. It is perhaps time to ask what does Malema really say when he said this?
Firstly, what makes Malema’s statement worth of assessment is the fact that he says this with utter disdain for the ANC a body and organisation he joined freely without any group but as an individual. However, he claims to love the ANC.
Secondly, the anger resentment and almost disdain Malema has for the sitting president and all in the ANC constituting leadership who reprimands him is another misguided challenge. Malema is on record for pelting at every turn insults on Zuma. Yet these insults though aimed at Zuma remains the insults of the ANC collective and must not be separated from such collective for cheap political expediency sake. It is the ANC democratically elected serving president in its centenary that he is insulting. Zuma is nobody but an ordinary individual safe for the office he holds afforded by a democratic franchise in the ANC, which affords him to serve as Country President.
Thirdly, if his anger was his only gripe for which he was on record you could make the case of a very hurt young compatriot, who feels betrayed and knows no better out of lack of proper political education but to retaliate and personalise the politics of an organisation in a make belief of individualism and factionalism. The truth is Malema is on record for castigating the entire NEC leadership with a one exception only that being Mamma Winnie Madikizela-Mandela.
He is on record for blasting those who claimed to have supported him, lived in the limelight he created and now have shunned him. It does not take rocket science to know whom he is talking about. Rumours were running wild that chief among these is his former colleague Mbalula and the very Deputy President Motlanthe he now through his ANCYL hopes to make.
In the fourth instance, Malema’s support in what easily can be termed “we stand by our leaders campaign” of ANCYL, has confused if not fuelled his pursuit to claim he will be back after if not at Mangaung. This support is often premised on the claimed issue of the victim-villain mind-set so often used by our political leaders when it suits them. Remember Mbeki used it when he was claiming some are out to get him, Zuma used it to sell his campaign among the politically and economically wounded ones.
The current ANCYL is stuck in reverse gear for it still recognizes an expelled and suspended leadership. What must be said to Malema’s credit is that he has done an outstanding job to become the centre of the ANCYL programme and agenda. In fact he is the ANCYL, because for more than a year now he has held ANCYL hostage in defending him to the extent that it as a league is dysfunctional, consumed by one and only one thing Malema’s return.
In the fifth instance, Malema’s claim of a return in ANC embrace is informed by the misguided image and ego Malema has afforded himself. It is not difficult to see that Malema is a victim of his own wrongful faith and persuasion; he has convinced himself that he is indispensable. He has persuaded himself that this 100-year-old organisation will bow to his exerted pressure. He has in a sense crossed over from political mortality and has adopted a type of immortality in political definition. He is fully convinced that he is the ANC and that anyone else is nobody.
Hence, his regret and claim that he made Zuma now he is seeking to make Motlanthe too. Anybody who understand the basics of power relations would attests, those who claim to have made you equally will by virtue of that role also claim to dictate to you what to do, so that when you disagree and want to have your own mind to lead you will be threatened with removal.
Understanding Malema’s claim in the nakedness of its intent and meaning one has to deduce that you dealing with someone who is totally out of control. This suggests he was always out of control in organisational context, but was tolerated for political reasons. Out of control because the case for which he was expelled was preceded by other cases, the first its guilt charge and verdict rightfully defended by a Phosa he accepted. The second he appealed and lost in arrogance, and ultimately the call for expulsion which sees him in the wilderness of political lost home, grasping at any and everything he can politically scavenge on, like the plight of the Marikana workers.
This brings me to the subject of arrogance; we must not confuse confidence for arrogance nor must confuse arrogance for confidence. To lead anything in life warrants a sense and gravitas of self-confidence, as humans in this world we will not be able to attain or achieve if we lacked a sense of self-confidence. The fuel inspires new inventions. Yet arrogance is a belief in self to the defiance of structure, self-discipline and submission to what one claims to believe in as a value or ethic. Arrogance is negative for it is destructive to self and the greater good.
It is as one dictionary denotes ‘overbearing pride evidenced by a superior manner toward inferiors’. Off course the natural question in counter to my assertion shall be who has determined the structure, value moral code etc. that it should stand sacrosanct? In the case of the ANC, that code is established in constitutional governance of organisational embrace. That means those who join the ANC necessarily denounce any form of arrogance for it is not tolerated in ANC constitutional framework and articulation. If the ethical code of the ANC dictates that, the organisation is bigger and holds sway over the individual that therefore determines the scope or background against which this arrogance must be understood and interpreted.
The truth is most people one interacts with would argue like all of us Malema was correct for raising the critical issue of economic redress, yet Malema is uncouth, in-ANC in his political fights and respects no one perhaps not even self. There is an old saying in Afrikaans “in die land van die blinded is die een-oog koning” loosely translated “in the presence of blindness he with one eye is king”. Malema is blinded by his pursuit of getting even that he cares not how he pronounces where and when, to the pander of a media who it can be claimed made him and loves the Juju juice.
The rules in the art of warfare dictate that one must pick your fights. This one-eyed king cares less, because he has followers totally blinded by his chutzpah and charisma not distinguishing between the separation of issues, fact, organisation and personality. Political education 101, would educate in organisational context you pick your fights, you always find a cause you never become the cause because the cause is never indispensable humans are dispensable as mortals of time and error. The ANCYL is perhaps this season at its weakest because they allowed an individual to become the cause of their fight, he has coloured the contours of their programmatic definition. In fact in this season of nominations and assessment let us assess all ANC leaders even the leagues leadership, we will find that the youth league has done for almost 24 months nothing on its programmatic mandate, it is caught up in a tussle of proving its mother body wrong in executive leadership. It has fallen victim to the personality occult where it identified the ANC problems in one man (Zuma) and its solutions in another man (Motlanthe) whilst it made another man (Malema) its cause.
The ANCYL is at its weakest because those present now in leadership out of recognition and worship for the expelled remain victims of listening wrongfully to such expelled and suspended leadership and therefore cannot lead in this epoch.
In the end Mangaung or the ‘Promised Mangaung of Revenge’ will come and go and Malema will realise even those he now campaign for quietly had prayed he never makes a comeback for fear of not being able to control him when in newness of made kings status he will challenge again those he claimed to have made.
Perhaps the fundamental reason why Malema should never be allowed back in this season resonates in this he will be bigger rightfully so than anyone sitting in any position and will be the de facto leader of the ANC. After all, he claimed also, “I will lead this ANC”. That statement by itself defies the culture of leadership this 100-year-old movement subscribes to and live for.
In the ANC, wrongly or rightly you can never make such bold ego driven statements, leadership remains a privilege to serve and one you assume with selflessness and trepidation, humbled by being afforded such opportunity.
Douglas MacArthur returned and conquered Vietnam, Bill Venter of Altron Farm, returned and bought out the company that fired him. Yet Malema will not return to the ANC, for no one wants a person who disrespects the very organisation he joined out of his free will, pledged support to, and committed to work for as that which is bigger than the individual is.
As the air around Malema is circled by a combination of Hawks and SARS, even police investigations the energy to fight politically will be sapped especially since his political value would have reached expiry date and his usefulness for those who is a tad wiser politically would have run out. Malema, will then realise in politics the age-old adage “there are no permanent friends or enemies only permanent interests” and may I add, in which one may prove very dispensable whilst the organisation grow into its second centenary without those who thought they bigger than the ANC.
Clyde N.S Ramalaine
Courtesy of “Malema’s ANCYL the by de FAULT face of SA Economic Redress” Due November 30, 2012