Jacob Zuma is gone! Nay, he has been stabbed by the same knife he stabbed Thabo Mbeki, the crown prince of ANC. But Mbeki was also a bad guy. He disrespected and undermined Tata Madiba to an extent that he choreographed liberation hero’s booing during ANC party meeting.
Thabo refused to pick Mandela’s calls and forced the old man to walk to his office on several occasions. See, Mandela would have preferred Cyril Ramaphosa — who was back then ANC SG— as his successor for his role in mediating the hand over of power from white minority rule. But Thabo was like a Silician mafia boss, and did him in. Thus setting a bad precedent for the future succession plans, for which became brutal war. This brought into the open the contradictory faces of the ANC: the robust force of grass roots democracy, versus the tight central control by the president and his men.
William Mervin Gumede in his book, Thabo Mbeki and the Battle for the Soul of the ANC, paints a raw motif of who Mbeki is. Gumede and Mark Gevisser in a book, Thabo Mbeki: The Dream Deferred (Jonathan Ball) captures the divide in the party. Thus Thabo Mbeki, then South Africa’s president, was humiliatingly rejected as ANC party leader in favour of his rival and former ally, Jacob Zuma it was the sudden nadir of a political life.
However, ANC congress adopted a strategy paper called “The Path to Power” written by Joe Slovo and calling for a “seizure of power” through “mass insurrection”. The outcome has since been extraordinary chapters of recent South African history marked with big figures from the anti-apartheid days suffer dizzying falls from grace over corruption. Andrew Feinstein’s short book, After the Party: A Personal and Political Journey inside the ANC (published in South Africa by Jonathan Ball), tells the story of his own experience of just such a dramatic falling-out.
A bewildering series of serious charges and counter-charges, apparent smear campaigns, even the accusation of a “plot” against Mbeki by some of the biggest political names in the country (which came to nothing), are reported.
It is a Shakespearean tale of power struggles, paranoia, betrayals, secrets, lies and, above all, hubris. Thus the Ides of March for Zuma!