Eusebius on TimesLIVE
PODCAST | Is the ANC too far gone, or can it change with the times?
ANC member Chrispin Phiri argues for more demanding threshold criteria for anyone wishing to get elected
Is the ANC too far gone to modernise?
That was the framing question of this episode of Eusebius on TimesLIVE, in which ANC member Chrispin Phiri articulated his critique of his party’s suboptimal internal electoral processes.
The first part of the discussion reflected on the history of the party that has led to an opaque and insufficiently democratic set of practices. Phiri argues that historically the party had some candidates who had the ideal skills for certain leadership positions but that this had the inadvertent effect of reducing internal contestation at times.
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Alternatively, at other times, there appeared to be vigorous contestation but there were no clear rules around articulating and defending candidates’ vision and candidacy. There should be, he argues, more demanding threshold criteria for anyone wishing to get elected. Such a modern demand for publicly defending your vision and candidacy has not taken root within the organisation. This leads, at times, to internal electoral contests collapsing into sheer populism. Phiri added that even for branches it is undesirable to offer substantive explanations and reasons in support of those they nominate to positions of leadership.
He agreed with TimesLIVE contributor and analyst Eusebius McKaiser that one consequence of this substantively anti-democratic culture is that some ANC cadres, not used to the demands of offering reasons for their views and actions, unsurprisingly carry that attitude into the state, and then do not fare well as civil servants when the law demands they offer reasons for how they exercise state power. There is, therefore, a clear connection between the antiquated ANC elections culture and some of the cultural problems within the state that lead to unlawful and unethical behaviour.
To listen to previous episodes, go here.
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