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The tragic arrogance of power

THE governing African National Congress (ANC) has lost its majority in elections for the first time since the dawn of multi-party democracy in 1994.



THE governing African National Congress (ANC) has lost its majority in elections for the first time since the dawn of multi-party democracy in 1994.

This is a defining moment for Africa’s oldest liberation movement. Although the fall of any hegemonic entity can be shocking, the ANC’s decline was quite predictable. In politics, arrogance comes before a fall.

Over the years, the ANC has been taken over by mostly self-serving charlatans driven by money, entitlement and impunity.

The party of Oliver Tambo and Albert Luthuli was now a vehicle for self-aggrandisement.

Service delivery took a back seat while South Africa’s problems of unemployment, inequality, violent crime and collapse in essential services pointed to alarming decay.

Incredibly, the ANC has learnt nothing from Zanu PF, a former liberation movement gone rogue, which has plundered and vandalised a once promising country.

In large part, Zanu PF itself owes its continued existence to the role played by the ANC in shielding Zimbabwe’s ruling party from democratic accountability.

It is an open secret that Zanu PF has lost virtually every elections since the turn of the millennium — but has clung on to power courtesy of two critical factors: undemocratic support from a politicised military and the scandalous backing of the ANC.

The leaders of the ANC have defended Zanu PF’s impunity from accountability. Even when Zanu PF slaughters unarmed civilians, it is business as usual for the two hegemonic “liberation movements”.

When Zanu PF brazenly stole the August 2023 general elections, the Southern African Development Community (Sadc) came out clearly in declaring that the polls did not meet the requirements of Zimbabwe’s Electoral Act, the national constitution and the Sadc principles and guidelines governing democratic elections.

In short, Zanu PF lacks legitimacy and has no business masquerading otherwise. After last year’s electoral theft, what happened? President Cyril Ramaphosa happily endorsed yet another sham election in Zimbabwe.

Is this the same ANC which partnered Zapu in the trenches against racist colonial rule? No moral authority, no conscience, no political stature.

The ANC was walloped in the 29 May elections because the party has lost touch with the masses.

South Africa faces significant challenges which require honest, selfless and competent leadership.

As the election results show, most voters are convinced that the ANC has not done enough to address these issues, leading to disillusionment.

The ANC has been embroiled in countless corruption scandals, which have damaged the party’s reputation and alienated voters.

The ANC — like its Zanu PF sibling north of the Limpopo — has been likened to a criminal organisation.

When a former liberation movement crumbles, terrible service delivery is one of the first signs of collapse.

Communities in South Africa are languishing under poor service delivery, such as unreliable electricity, water shortages and inadequate infrastructure.

Endless power cuts are now a defining national feature.

This has contributed to massive voter dissatisfaction. At the Cosatu conference in 1993, one of Africa’s greatest sons, Nelson Mandela, had important advice for the people of South Africa: “If the ANC does to you what the apartheid government did to you, then you must do to the ANC what you did to the apartheid government.”

The downtrodden — be they in South Africa, Zimbabwe or any part of the world — must remember Mandela’s timeless wisdom.

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