Zille & Ramphele: The KISS that left more than a betrayal smudge!

 Helen & Mamphela

It is all in a kiss, be it love or betrayal !

Through generations and times, a kiss was used to convey affection, love, friendship, peace, and unity. Equally, a kiss was used the night of the betrayal of Jesus Christ as the sign for his detractors. We have seen how disgraced leaders in full view would embrace and kiss their partners as a sign of unity after infidelity was confirmed, despite the known true reality of the hell behind closed doors.

This week was one of drama for some unsuspecting Mzantsites who decried the mess of ‘unification’ of claimed two parties or the blatant renting of a ‘black’ academic turned politician. In the hullabaloo of denials early on Monday and the Tuesday huddled press conference jointly attended by Dr. Ramphele and DA Leader and Western Cape Premier Helen Zille, some are left in proverbial sixes and sevens to make of this matrimony of convenience in election pact signet.

I like many have shared my views a long time ago on Dr. Ramphele as it was carried in an earlier article captured in February 2013 of the Citypress “Inside a flawed political ambitious mind.” Yet I thought perhaps I could opine on the actual kiss that was blazoned on the news media purporting to be the ultimate sign of the ‘unity’ of Agang- SA and the DA.

The kiss thus has a dubious and multi-layered meaning depending what society, time, and situation one finds oneself. This week Ramphele and Zille kissed in unity of a ‘black’ presidential candidacy for a ‘white’ party. It is time to ask what this kiss meant.

This kiss, for Ramphele was a kiss of betrayal to an Agang-SA she informed the world and all who wanted to hear is the answer for ANC opposition. The same Ramphele opined the DA was a ‘white’ party who can never articulate or speak on behalf of what is commonly termed ‘black’ people.

It was a kiss in betrayal of those who for a variety of reasons found Ramphele what the claimed a fresh breath and new entrant self-made and need no one’s money. It was a betrayal to the staff compliment of Agang-SA who was clearly shell-shocked by this announcement as they were readying for an elections showdown as promised by its leader.

Ramphele’s kiss with Zille was also a betrayal of ideology. Yet this ideology aspect in my assessment is perhaps not true because Ramphele though in extramarital relation -association of a Black Consciousness icon Steve Biko has not practiced these strong BC ideological principles. For the greater part of her post – Apartheid context, Ramphele has proven very comfortable in the various positions she held in dictate of a liberalist conviction. Ramphele betrayed some who considered her perhaps wrongly the hope of the black middle class. Mamphela betrayed Biko’s famous  ‘black’  unit construct philosophy.

Ramphele also betrayed herself because it appears one cannot take her morning and evening talks but with a cup of salt. She betrayed some who considered her as an academic astute and above this political muck of personalities and self-interest.

 

Well on the other side, what does this kiss mean for Zille? Helen Zille came to prominence when she took over from Tony Leon in what was considered a bruising battle, which left perhaps eternal scars on Leon. Zille got working on her now crystallised ideal of moving a Democratic Party to a Democratic Alliance. You cannot falter her for consistency in creating an alliance of what was a party. She had meticulously set cause conscious or unconscious of the reality of what comprised the Democratic Party and now the Democratic Alliance. Helen knows how to fight her wars inside the organisation. She even used a young Lindiwe Mazibuko to stave off some challenges from the DA constituency. Yet what Helen who had a stormy year in organisational setting with inconclusive policy positions on empowerment for previously disadvantaged groups defines coupled with the simmering tensions of those who have increasingly have become uncomfortable with her leadership for  divergent reasons. The only problem with alliances is that they bring together conflicting doctrines on a subject and they can tear any time. The DA is hardly a singular group of similar doctrine,

Helen in her persistent and obsessed need to unseat the ANC had political one-night stands, dates, flings, and some courtships with a variety of personalities from a crossbreed of SA political and labour context. She portends forever in love with anything and everyone that says something bad of the ANC. Helen has politically bedded the dead ID of a once vocal Patricia De Lille, until she chained De Lille into a silence with a Mayoral Chain rendering the ID into brief existence but a long death.

Hats off – to Helen Zille for knowing how to take them down in which she remains the male dominant one. She had a proposed date with the now suspended COSATU representative Zwelinzima Vavi that came out when Vavi told all how he was pursued by a feisty Zille. She flirted with Mosioua Lekota of COPE, until their competing ego’s killed the fling. Zille may have had some politically speaking one – nightstands with a Kenneth Meshoe of the ACDP and with Bantu Holomisa of the UDM but these were brief ones. 

Yet Helen kissed in this season Ramphele, in what I shall call a kiss of betrayal on her part for she betrayed the ultra-conservative DA members who came to the DA as a fall out of and old NP remnant. Zille betrayed the organisation’s policy context in letting an outside person be proposed for the DA’s presidential contest.

She betrayed a growing group of internal unhappy  constituency with her leadership who sees her latest half cooked quick to media press conference as in defiance of the DA stance. Zille, in her kiss betrayed even those who are considered liberal, for liberality is not naturally translating to an absence of conservatism. The DA cannot claim it was ready for this surprise of a ‘black’ leader as Helen sprung this on them. It is therefore not correct to assume that all the so-called liberals agree with a Ramphele as DA presidential candidate. Helen on lighter note potentially betrayed South African males, confirming an undying obsession to show female dominance over males as her Western Cape cabinet attests.

Helen Zille with this barely kiss, also betrayed Ramphele, for the truth is knowing that the DA will never have the seat of president in SA constituency, it is an easy  offering thing to a  megalomaniac Goggo who hallucinates of a place and time in Tuynhuis as president of SA. She offers Mamphela literally a moment in the sun of claim of face on ballot paper in the only true opposition fold, but nothing more than that because come June 2014 Ramphele will be an ordinary DA member with  a record of accomplishment of failure as evidence and  sign of no future.

Helen betrayed, her own protégé and crowned successor, Lindiwe Mazibuko . The truth is  the young Mazibuko was never an option she was a decoy of youth claim, whom  Helen Zille preferred at a time when she needed to deal with some in the DA who were challenging her base and leadership. Mazibuko has therefore outlived her stay and served her “purpose” you could see that with all the mess of policy confusion caused by her ineptness.

Also  because Mmusi Maimane is a much more complete DA future leader than her. Ramphele gives Helen a chance to fix the wrong of Mazibuko appointment. My  unsolicited advice to Lindiwe go back to university and study further girl!  It is time we acknowledge Zille’s uncanny knack to attempt greatness in SA political platform. Her moves are all in self-sustaining almost intoxicated to unseat the ANC regardless who she must flirt with, when and where even how.

Lastly, Helen betrayed herself for she acknowledged that she would never qualify to be the SA president for who she is and for what she can bring. She with this last stroke of bedding told SA the DA still believes in fronting when every law in democracy convulses at the thought of such.

Helen’s lips met Mamphela’s lips in a sanitised embrace of kiss in which hardly the make-up smudged, but the betrayal proved real. Perhaps this kiss was rehearsed, perhaps this kiss is a more true reflection of what this charade of potential political prostitution dictates, for it is no semblance of unity as we are told in abuse of Mandela legacy, it is the calculated and callous desires of two politicians who have betrayed their parties and themselves.

In the end, it appears the  famous song ….Let’s just kiss and say goodbye…  of the Manhattans that vintage soul-train voice group, will be the song cometh the hour after the 2014 elections results are announced.

Until then the stench of betrayal pollutes our political canvas attesting a sanitised kiss that left  an indelible betrayal smudge.

Clyde N.S. Ramalaine

Independent Observer

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Where to now for “NUMSA”and its confirmed political chosen leader Vavi?

– Beyond rhetoric and claimed ideology, sense must prevail –

In the aftermath of the NUMSA Special Congress organised in December 2013 and its long anticipated resolutions the question becomes now where to for ‘NUMSA’ and Vavi.

I hold that each of the resolutions will fall one after the other as of less impact and showing in rhetoric of claim. NUMSA’s claim to have this power to change COSATU’s position on the Alliance is proving empty.

Secondly with the ANC accepting NUMSA’s claim of not supporting it as for the 2014 National Elections as immaterial since union members don’t engage in block voting but are free to choose what party to vote for, the claimed might of a NUMSA is proving vacuous.

On the Vavi suspension issue, NUMSA is and has lost the plot and more and more confirms the fact that all the recent rhetorical actions and noise was around Vavi and not the  claimed Workers- Cause.

Vavi is history in COSATU context with the nine charges and will never be trusted as a COSATU leader in COSATU leadership thus he is compromised and perhaps even ostracized by his own actions and political ambitions.

We learn NUMSA has since the ANC – manifesto prove to have second thoughts on not supporting the ANC and is meeting today with COSATU to discuss the implications of its emotional special congress.

Perhaps NUMSA’s R8m support of the ANC was exaggerated as significant which now proves a speck and hardly a bargain instrument.

Perhaps NUMSA will realise, as we always have known it needs COSATU more than what COSATU needs a NUMSA. Equally, COSATU will not budge on Vavi.

Perhaps the workers in NUMSA was misled by a group of leaders duly elected but not duly following the workers cause but rather personality cultic worship laced with misplaced ideology rhetoric.

Maybe NUMSA will finally realise how small it is in the context of SA politics and opt to focus on workers issues and not political governance.

Parties contest elections with the aim to govern, organised labour exist to organise workers for the workers -cause we must desist a conflation and confusion of the two only because one claims to have a membership in excess of 300000.

Organised labour is not structured for block political voting in national or municipal elections context and therefore should not attempt portraying such. Claiming that type of block voting power is an absolute sophistry.

Members of organised labour have and continue to enjoy their constitutional right and privilege to opt for whom to vote in a political elections year. Thus to pretend NUMSA is a united front ready to start a party to lead the workers cause in politics of governance is misleading to say the least.

Either increasingly NUMSA will sober up or they will sober up on an elected leadership that has not always acted in mandate embrace.

Whichever way this pans out NUMSA’s leadership has bitten off more than what it can chew and is quickly realising this. It is easy to become emotional and shout slogans, spit threats, prove cocky with your two pence (R8m) in attack of others. It is not so easy to persuade the others of your true cause when they already know the real deal behind NUMSA’s behaviour in recent times has little to do with ideological incongruence of NDP or any policy but a conviction that Vavi can and should be deputy president of SA. From where this conviction, perhaps only those in NUMSA who endorses an emerging form of personality cult worship knows.

For Vavi, either he soon will knock on the EFF’s door or he will reconsider what I called in an earlier note “an offer at prime time.” The only difference now will be he will ask for deployment and thus will not just be compromised but will have no room to dictate, not that he ever had.

The moral of the story is don not confuse media driven campaigns as more powerful than what they are. Sitting behind a microphone and getting flashy cameras does not automatically translate to political power that can alter the SA political landscape.

Maybe Vavi and NUMSA were just used no different to a Malema in a previous year by a lusty media who essentially hell-bent on being anti-establishment at any costs. This media has not contributed to the democratic transformation of an SA. It rather has opted to be the opposite of what we strive for in SA.

Where to now for “NUMSA” and their confirmed political chosen leader Vavi?

Humble pie, subdued utterances who knows!

Clyde N. Ramalaine
Commentator

Prof. Shadrack Gutto, please objectivity is not a dreaded disease!

– Analysis must always attempt objectivity as a basic –

 

Listening to Prof. Shadrack Gutto you cannot but conclude we have someone who cannot be objective about the ANC, at least the ANC defined from 2007 onwards. Gutto, argues the ANC 2014, Manifesto will not save it. This argument is premised on his assertion that there is nothing new in the manifesto. An aspect like corruption is there forever he retorts.

My understanding is previous Manifestos’ in democracy should be in sink and address the same fundamental issues.

After all the transformation of a society uniquely as ours is not an event but a process conscious of the dynamism of humans and organisations influenced by events, occurrences and circumstances exemplified in past, present and prospective future.

Why Gutto and others like Prof. Susan Booysen (who often relies on tabloid research and drape it up with academic claim) can conclude this journey an event that should have been concluded by now since its 20 years in the making says how little these grasp the nature of a developmental society with its historic and new challenges.

Gutto last wrote something objective and positive on the ANC in 2007, we shall have to assume he became like some trapped in the paradigm of a Polokwane Elections result and an Mbeki recall.

It is accepted that all analysts I mean all analysts (even the one that pens this note) have a bias towards some ideology, party, person and group or value system. Yet what is not acceptable is the fact that objectivity is so often in post – apartheid context sacrificed for unwarranted campaign exemplified in ‘intellectual’ opinion.

To Gutto we say the manifestos of the ANC as ruling party remains the same in overarching dimension because the issues necessitating the cause for transformation remains the same.

We are a nation in becoming and you cannot use the 20 years as a convenient lashing stick as too long a period of time, whilst when you in ostrich head-in-sand type consciously refuses to accept the gigantic strides this ANC has made as a collective of leadership seldom defined in one epoch as more prevalent than the other.

 

 

We know some of you have this view that when you ran the government, even advised our leaders in whatever form or capacity  it was necessarily clean, clearly focused, problem- free and a picture perfect scenario because ” intelligence” warped defined was the guarantor for this your claim. We know you like some in the public intellectual farm have no regard for the Post – Polokwane ANC leaderships, less on fact but more on conjecture if not bitterness. Thus, you theorise and eulogise this tired song of how great you were.

 

Some of us beg to differ for we were sojourners in this journey whilst we respect the fact that you and others may have contributed, we also know you are the reasons for our delay in some areas.

 

Our collective historic conscious does not afford you such latitude to assume we see you the same we you see yourself.

 

– You cannot negate the fact that South Africa is a different place from the past apartheid context.

 

– You cannot deny that dignity is being restored when no country ever in the history of democracy has built 3.3million homes in 20 years. You can argue that 380000 of those houses had a defect but, but you cannot argue that 18million people live better.

 

– When as a society the ruling party has remained conscious of the poor in providing grants in excess of 15million people. We can argue whether we should be a welfare state or not but SA’s poor cannot and dare not argue there is no delivery.

 

– You cannot challenge the reality of a transforming primary health care system, which serves mother and new-born infants as an established reality in 20 years of governance. We may argue the overall internal challenges in such but you cannot argue it is not happening.

 

– You cannot argue that whilst education was evident in 1993 as that which reflects almost 12 separate race defined systems the work of the ANC has reduced this in this era to an essentially one but really two national system with its concomitant challenges in delivery.

 

Again, we can agree the dropout rate is high and a concern, yet we cannot arrive at an understanding of a high dropout rate if we have nothing that we can measure it.

 

– You cannot argue that this ANC led Government has not drastically changed the context of business as an evolving reality in SA to the advantage of previously disadvantaged groups. Notwithstanding many issues attached to this we must concede BEE or BBEEE is a platform that exists and is entrenched by now. As a system, it has helped many. Today the access to opportunity to take charge of one’s own destiny exists for all.

 

– On the issue of Mineral Rights the ANC as government has taken the custodianship of such as far back as 2002. We may argue a Marikana occurrence in the context of labour disaster and force it into a political tragedy yet we must ask how did we get to a Marikana? We must ask did this ANC Led Government provide the platform of bargaining structures of which justice and fairness constitute cardinal axis.

– On the issue of Landownership, perhaps the thorniest of all matters in SA, the question that must be asked is what former administrations did on the subject because this era is building on the same and have not deviated. If the ANC failed the people on land ownership and land tenure, it did not start at Polokwane it started with Mandela and was thriving under Mbeki. Yet we know all three administrations have made efforts, good bad and indifferent.

– On the E-Toll saga, E-Tolls (which I dislike and hate too) was not a post Polokwane policy the administrations of Mandela and Mbeki gave birth to it. The Zuma administration is implementing it. Hence, if this sentiment is twisted as an attack on the current administration it is because some refuse to observant, conscious, and truthful in their analysis. What therefore is inconsistent about this issue for it is used today by some as a key point to render the ANC not listening to the people.

 

I guess I cite these as a means to show an objective assessment of the ANC as led from its manifestos is resulting in these worthwhile achievements.

 

Again, we not saying this is good enough and the finishing line, we have many mountains to climb but an objective analyst on the eve of the fifth guaranteed peaceful National democratic elections will desist advancing an opinion laced in historic snapshot persona worship, or megalomania. True academics are necessarily humble people for they have learnt in specialising a discipline how little they really know.

 

On the subject of election – polls, SA has never been a society in election context that has taken pre- elections polls serious. Our context defies these pre-election polls and reduces them to opinions of those who already had determined their preferred outcomes. Those who feed a specific narrative necessarily in question of that which is African.

 

Therefore arguing the manifesto will not save the ANC – it is all the same stuff, rings hollow in thought application. It is bereft of objectivity, naked of sensible engagement and archaic in semblance of defence of a system that made you Shadrack Gutto in SA probably a personality.

 

 

Now we know there are those who desire the ANC losing an election, there are also those who pray for it to get 50% yet our wishes and dreams or prayers cannot leave us inebriated that we refuse to be objective, when we claim to be public intellectuals.

 

Equally, I hope your “analysis“ of an ANC manifesto that won’t save it has nothing to do with your opinion on an ANC president the same you despise when you worshipped a previous one.

 

Respectfully submitted.

Bishop Clyde N. Ramalaine

Ordinary citizen of Mzansi

 

 

 

Vavi, An OFFER at Prime time, or a poisoned chalice

         Either way he remains compromised  –

 

An old adage goes – you cannot fight more than one war at a time. I want to add you cannot have enemies all over and survive.

 

This week we hear as relayed by the media the words of the ANC Secretary General Gwede Mantashe that Vavi should quit organised labour politics as led by shortsighted leaders and go to parliament on an ANC ticket.

 

This offer in jest, which also contains a veiled instruction perhaps, is worth dissecting.

 

Maybe we should ask is this an offer or not? I hold it is an offer but not without recognising the compromised state, the recipient finds himself in if he has any individual political aspirations for any high office anytime soon.

 

It is an offer because it recognised two things; one that Vavi is potentially history in a COSATU context. COSATU as quiet as it seems will not relent on the Vavi issue. If COSATU respects itself, it cannot let Vavi simply slide, for it would make a Vavi stronger than the organisation. Almost like a repatriation of Malema would do to the ANC.

 

Thus, Vavi will not be able to make a comeback in COSATU particularly because he has consistently shown very little regard for its constitution, leadership and the CEC suspension conditions necessitated by the investigations against him.

 

At another level, it is an offer because it offers Vavi a second bite at what he was offered before but in strength of COSATU role and leadership rejected when he had the power to do so.

 

In this epoch being offered an opportunity as is advanced is not one to be easily scoffed at because the context has changed so drastically for Vavi in definition of organised labour sense. The truth is beyond the rhetoric and utterances of tweets the space has become very small for the suspended GS of COSATU who for all practical purposes is the former GS of COSATU.

 

He is for all intends and purposes in the political wilderness and regarded as oppositional in his praxis of politics. Some go as far as calling him the enemy from within, which is a costly enemy to have in organised labour context.

 

It is also an offer of a peace- pipe, because Vavi has been very vocal in attack of the ANC leadership and the direction it was heading on a number of fronts.

 

Yet the condemning of the ANC leadership was not necessarily from a purist perspective but one informed by personal political ambition if the NUMSA General Secretary Irvin Jim’s unauthorized visit to Nkandla on solicitation of a Vavi deputy presidency post attests. Vavi it is claimed sits behind the vitriolic claims and statements of NUMSA leadership. Therefore, to hear a new NUMSA president Patrick Chirwa calling for a Zuma resignation is really a Vavi statement.

 

At another level the offer comes with a clear understanding that should a Vavi who is in a sense politically homeless choose to be in an SA parliament on an ANC ticket he will be contained to toe the party line.

 

Vavi will struggle to mobilize in parliament for the agenda he has thus it is safer place to have him play his politics.

 

This offer if accepted by Vavi will also destroy the claim of power a lusty NUMSA leadership has in identifying with a Vavi as the potential leader of a worker’s party as is branded around by NUMSA. It will neutralize this claim and render it of less personality focus.

 

If Vavi opts for accepting the offer, he will therefore have to choose between a NUMSA advanced political future role, and an ANC position with potential side offers yet nothing remotely to what Jim went to Nkandla for.

 

If Vavi opts not to seriously consider the offer, he remains compromised since the constituency of organised labour as led by COSATU will not smoke a peace pipe easily.

 

Potentially it could be a neat strategy in brilliance of good cop bad cop feature.

 

COSATU who must contend with its biggest affiliate, who seeks to influence it to drop the ANC, will remain the bad cop for Vavi, when the ANC leadership now becomes the good cop.

 

A good cop that firstly acknowledges it cannot direct neither instruct a COSATU, whilst it may be concerned about hegemony and a parlayed unity at least for the most vulnerable time of its post democracy era if elections is the barometer.

 

Good cop for extending an olive branch of peace, in parenthood of maturity to say, you were naughty but we have hope you can come right. Whilst you are guaranteed a salary a major issue for any working father who has a family to take care off. Particularly when you hear Agang-SA with its claimed R500 millionaire strong leader pleading poverty and cannot pay staff salaries. It confirms the daunting task of fundraising even for multi-millionaires.

 

Vavi therefore remains compromised because NUMSA backing him, has opted for sensible reasons to stay in COSATU, yet NUMSA can’t guarantee Vavi any drop of the existing cases particularly because Vavi is second respondent in the NUMSA case against COSATU. This latter issue lends itself to the hardened and justified stance of the existing COSATU leadership. Ultimately, this will make it very difficult for him reinstated in a COSATU leadership.

 

Vavi is compromised because he created too many enemies in COSATU and thus he will never be trusted in this federation. For some his legacy has been the destruction of COSATU and he cannot claim innocence, which he conveniently so easily does.

 

Vavi is compromised because his future political existence is no longer in his hands but in the hands of other. The others include essentially the ANC’s who is willing to make him an offer.

 

Yet this offer is in my opinion perhaps a stroke of brilliance in ANC leadership and it is also a poisoned chalice.

 

A stroke of brilliance because we cannot assume this was a Mantashe decision, but it must be an ANC leadership position, which was arrived at through discussion. Therefore, it is not Mantashe that gives Vavi a lease on political life though considerably minute to what he claimed in an organised labour setting, it is really a Zuma led ANC that gives his so-called enemy hope thus respect.

 

Vavi if he is in any sense aware of his compromised state as things stand now would be a fool not to consider this carefully. A poisoned chalice because he whilst condemning others in the SACP leadership for selling out in accepting ANC position as claimed offered by Zuma, will now in acceptance of the offer also be in that same line and thus will never be able to argue or condemn others.

 

For if he rejects this offer again he will have accept that he wrote the final script in his Alliance politics and thus his future would be almost similar to a Malema outside the ANC fold. He has upset the leaderships of the ANC, SACP, and COSATU with his utterances and stance and the ANC is the only one willing to make him any offer.

 

Should he opt for rejecting this offer in assuming a potential NUMSA constituency he will have to persuade them to part with the idea and strategy of staying in COSATU to influence COSATU otherwise? The latter the resolution of the December 2013, Special Congress.

 

That would not be an easy task, furthermore if he rejects this offer he would confirm that his involvement in worker politics was not as exempted and free from self-serving, already a notion that is held by many.

 

In the end Vavi, is compromised and whatever decision he makes, reject, or accept the offer as extended by a Zuma led ANC leadership, he remains compromised.

 

The ANC was brilliant to have issued a challenge and Vavi somewhere soon must respond, because it is not as if he has mug time or many options left.

 

Yet what is clear the ANC wants Vavi out of organised labour politics regardless to how it is out in very choice words. Perhaps this is the toughest call for someone who had made this sector his political world as base to influence a varied context.

 

You cannot but respect this Zuma led ANC for proving very tactical and strategic on political leadership.

 

 

Clyde N. Ramalaine

********Article appears courtesy DUSTY MUSINGS political analysis and commentary 2013-2014 (Due March 30, 2014)

 

To recall, or not perhaps the wrong call!

To recall or not perhaps the wrong call!

It is said history repeats itself the first time in tragedy and the second in a farce. To recall is the drumbeat of some as January 2014, unfolds.This is the much publicized and vocalized debate in shades of murmur and public claim. Analysts sing this melody in advice to the ANC, their claim a recall will be good for the ANC.

The context for this recall claim in this season attests a conflicting premise.

I shall categorically advance here and now that when the ANC decided to recall Mbeki, it blundered. It did not blunder because Mbeki was right, it blundered not because there were no serious clouds gathering in a leadership that proved hostile, aloof and perhaps allergic to critique. Neither because there existed in the praxis for some legitimate grounds for such recall.

 

It blundered because it did not allow time to think about the ramifications for this organisation in stability, congruence, and visionary outlook.There was serious discontentment perhaps legitimate and perhaps driven by conjecture. Usually when the noise starts, it becomes difficult to discern between fact and fiction and the booing becomes the barometer of discontent.

 

Yet the ANC should never have recalled Mbeki, singularly because it rendered a fragile ANC more vulnerable and susceptible to agendas not welcomed in the ANC.The recalling of an Mbeki rendered the organisation in chasms of factions that always existed but not to the public degrees made visible in the ANC and its tripartite alliance.

In this season, there are again those who remonstrate, lobby, and motivate for a recall of another sitting president.

Whilst as in the case of Mbeki there were legitimate and emotional reasons for such, the ANC should have learned that recalling presidents does not help the movement but renders it weaker in the collective of its root cause.

 

Those obsessed with a recalling commit four errors:

 

Firstly, they failed to do an organizational analysis of the ANC pre and post recall of its sitting SA presidency. It did not ask for its hegemony index and thus its capacity to deliver with a fractured leadership adored by some and despised by others.

 

Secondly, they in convenience of comfort assume no collective responsibility for the mess the ANC finds itself. These have champions in the top leadership who are not held accountable instead; some are seen as the correct replacements for the sitting president. If we recall how this is done that when the organisation is run on a collective leadership as its guiding philosophy and praxis. Where is the joint responsibility of elected officials who defines this presidency?

 

Thirdly, they also fail to appreciate the material conditions for such recall is not exemplified in ANC presidency but in SA presidency thus a recall of the elected ANC president. Unlike the time with Mbeki in 2008 who at that the time of his recall was no longer the ANC president this new mooted recall will prove much more cumbersome and even more destructive to this movement.

 

In the fourth instance the propagators of recall does not sing from the same hymn.

 

There are quartets who sing from a forever-bruised image and ego of a past Polokwane, these want a recall of revenge, and will be happy with nothing less.

 

Secondly, there are those who hummm from a claim of mixed former ANCYL leadership embrace these have not yet made peace with the fact that that chapter is closed.

 

Then there are those who drums recall, from outside the ANC, be it analysts, media formations and the open letter brigade who almost wants to blackmail the ANC into doing what pleases them, blanketed in claim it is good for the ANC. The strange contradiction is they did not and will not in the foreseeable future vote ANC.

 

The ANC would have learned grave lessons from a Polokwane and a subsequent Mbeki recall, not because again Polokwane was wrong neither because Mbeki at the time inspired collective leadership but because the organisation in health suffered gravely and it has not healed from that pain until this time.

 

A recall is therefore not an emotional decision you assume in claim if we can just replace so and so with this one or that one and all will be smooth- sailing.

 

If the latter is the aim perhaps, we have missed again the issue of the collective healing of the organisation we claim to love to wither the challenges of this time.

 

It remains thus a short-sighted call for recall informed by emotion.

 

The ANC is more important than anyone is or individual we must desist creating an impression of two or three ANC’s.

 

If we seek to make recall our means of dealing with organisational fractures and chasms, we shall have these occur more as a norm than a phenomenon.

 

In the end to recall or not recall is not a decision in the interest of the organisation.

Obama’s, Mandela Address : Perhaps a Missed Opportunity !

         Things he could and should have said –

 

On December 5th, 2013, arguably one of the world’s noblest sons and perhaps the modern day epitome of humanity exchanged mortality for immortality. The world stood aghast whilst readying to converge to attend the home-going of Nelson Rolihlala Mandela. In record time a 10-day period of mourning to mark his death was announced and by the 5th day, I like many others found myself in Suite 71, earmarked for the accredited religious persons to attend the State Memorial at FNB stadium, South of Johannesburg 

 

This was an occasion graced by 91 former and present presidents, with an even larger contingent of 103 Governments who also came to pay due honour to Mandela. The list of speakers a crossbreed of friends, foes, enemies, and celebrity politicians honoured to speak on this occasion says more of the mosaic of a Mandela. 

 

It was on this occasion that Barack H. Obama acted as the first of eight renowned people afforded to speak, the same dovetailed with an epic fulfilment of who Mandela is with the aging Raul Castro of Cuba paying homage to a friend. 

 

Obama gave without any doubt perhaps the address of the day, in sterling gifted oratory skills and aptitude cloaking this rendition in personalizing his Mandela celebration.

 

There is no question that he had the crowd salivating for more, and for days after that his speech was discussed argued deliberated  on various platforms of social networks, print media, and television broadcasts. 

 

We also can forgive him for his ‘selfies’ and maybe Michelle has already forgiven him for his over friendliness to a prime minister Helle Thorning Schmidt who could not waste time to converse, chat, touch and pose with him. After all, he is an ordinary “youngster” at 49 if Mandela’s age is used as barometer, rendering him also a fan of the colossal Mandela.

 

In the aftermath, we are informed that there is a PHD student Ryan Shapiro who is presently heading to court to force the CIA to reveal or declassify documents admitting its role in the capturing of Mandela at Howick in 1962. 

 

This and other issues necessitates upon us to ask in this season did Obama not miss an opportunity to set the record straight on perhaps critical issues. Notwithstanding the brilliance of his address, in the world’s favoured accent.

 

I shall herewith list seven things I have been mulling over which I thought Obama could and should have reflected upon.

 

1. I thought Obama could have if the involvement of the CIA in Mandela’s capturing in Howick was true, owned up to the fact that the man he and 3 former USA presidents came to honour could potentially had been killed by the work and hand of a previous USA government.

 

2. I thought Obama could have spared a thought to actualise the grave implications for this act when we consider the USA the bastion of democracy. He perhaps could have deliberated on the challenge of democracy and its fruit, which often do not reflect its values. 

 

This thinking resonates at another level to solicit acknowledgment that it was a democratically elected USA government that shared in stark contrast to the espoused democratic principles a symbiotic and cosy relationship with an Apartheid state heresy. An apartheid system that had as fundamental axis racism, breathing discrimination and came exemplified in segregation with a resultant effect of the debasement of an African dignity.

 

That same firstly acknowledged in a common humanity, the founding fathers of the USA thought critical to include in the Declaration of Independence … We hold these truths to be self- evident that all men are created equal….

 

The USA as a democracy is over 200 years old, therefore the definition of democracy if we seek to make sense of this construct in a greater context it must be accepted it derives a recognised indebtedness to what is often referred to as the West. 

 

3. I thought Obama could have alluded to the fact that it was USA multinationals and corporates that fought against the cause for which Mandela became the “black pimpernel” in underwriting the discrimination of opportunity and resource for those of darker melanin content.

 

Therefore and acknowledgement of this at this the demise of his hero, would have been very pragmatic and redeeming.

 

 

3. I thought Obama could have referred to the fact that Mandela like so many others until recently still reflected as a terrorist on the intelligence of USA radar. 

 

Perhaps an acknowledgement of how short-sighted the USA was in not recognising the man to be buried and for which the globe only had personal and collective veneration was served a grave injustice in this fashion by none other than the USA. 

 

Obama could have taken collective responsibility for this injustice in pragmatism thus fixing the past in establishing a future. After all he was addressing this crowd less as Obama but as Obama the 44th President of the USA.

 

4. I thought Obama could have spared a moment to reflect on the USA’s role in an Angola –  Namibia (South West Africa back then). We have recently been taken down in an epic journey of reflection from the pen of Cuba’s former president Fidel Castro. This soul-cleansing of rear-view mirror opinion corroborated by facts and names mentioned in his article “Mandela is dead, don’t tell no lies about Apartheid” gives us a perspective less known.

 

Thus, I thought Obama would engage the nature and actuality of the risks of those engagements  at the time the error of such whilst arguing no different to a Martin Luther King Jr, on Vietnam ‘being a senseless war’. According to the records, the South African apartheid regime was backed by a democratic USA in this instance. 

 

If anybody was capable of putting the record straight not in narrow defence of USA but in balance of objectivity whilst owning up, this lanky son of a Kenyan Father who brought his shooting – hoop to the White-House was the appropriate candidate.

 

These are not facts too far removed from any USA president be it in historic precedent or experiential reflection.

 

5. I thought Obama would on behalf of previous USA administrations apologise to the current ANC and its preceding leaderships for misunderstanding this organisation not as liberation organisation but as a terrorist group. Jogging the memory of this 102-year-old movement in highs and lows with a definitive undeniable reality of being a non-racial organisation could have helped in this celebration of a movement Mandela swore allegiance to beyond his death.

 

6. Obama’s speech clearly could have acknowledged the fact that the ANC in almost 20 years of democracy upholds and maintains respect for the SA constitution it firstly produced and jealously guards in having shown a maturity to share common space for all in line with the reconciliation mantra of Mandela. He easily could have acknowledged that in 2004, the ANC with a 2/3 majority could have reinterpreted and altered the constitution to legally reflect what some feared possible if the intentions of the ANC were considered ambivalent on democracy. It would have been easy for Obama to acknowledge the maturity of this Movement in consistently engendering the fundamental principles of democracy.

 

7. I thought Obama could have acknowledged that his ascendance to USA White-House of political power inadvertently and automatically generated expectations justifiably and sentimentally in hopes from fellow Africans on a desired change in USA diplomacy as that which respects the legacy of a Mandela and his ilk evident in a greater sensitivity for Africa.

 

It appears whenever Obama addresses Africans it is to lecture them from a veiled place of aloofness. The one key interview with SABC anchor man in Washington Sherwin Bryce-Peace, confirmed this assertion.

 

 

The ‘black’ 44th President of the USA identifies easily with the power to pronounce on the thematic narrative of corruption which is justified, yet in the words of and emerging thinker  “…Obama’ the African Fathered-Son wrestles to come home to walk in barefoot embrace of Africa in admitting the concomitant wrongs and evils committed by the West…” (Niklos – CNSR)

 

There must be something worth questioning when Obama as the 44th President of the USA can lecture Africans and yet as an African cannot identify with Africans in this that Africa remains abused by the toxic concoction of Euro-USA self-interest. 

 

 

These constitute perhaps the aspects lending legitimacy on the claim of a definitive missed opportunity the 44th and First African President of the USA shared. 

 

Though we cannot yet confirm the research on the CIA involvement as advanced by a the PHD – student Ryan Shapiro, we remain vigilant to follow the outcome of this as one of the many things Barack Hussein Obama could have included in his address when Rolihlala Mandela was laid to rest. The ocassion called for more than great oratory skills, it called for an admission of wrong on the part of the USA in defiance of the ethic of a Mandela. Maybe we never will hear these admissions ever in history to come, for the best opportunity to engage these were lost and now registers a missed opportunity.

 

Bishop Clyde N. S. Ramalaine

Social Commentator