Opinion

Both sides of Zuma divide risk bringing the edifice down

20 August 2017 - 00:00 By AUBREY MATSHIQI

The Polokwane chickens have been on the road since December 2007. They have been on the N1 freeway, heading south, on their way home to roost.
A decade ago, President Jacob Zuma was "an unstoppable tsunami", riding the crest of a wave of populist support that ended the presidency of Thabo Mbeki.
Today, the Tsunami of Polokwane has become a pariah to many who, in order to advance their own political interests, worshipped him as a demigod.
Now, they are trying to convince us that Zuma is evil incarnate. If Zuma is the devil, is it not possible that the disciples of Polokwane are satanists who will shift their allegiance from one devil to another depending on changes in the content of their political interests?
As I keep saying, the internecine battles in the ANC and the state are godless battles between angels with horns and devils with halos. What they have in common is a God complex and a penchant and propensity for Orwellian manipulation.It is my view that the difference between the gladiators in the battle for state power and economic dominance lies in the degree of godlessness and capacity to turn those of us who are part of the chattering and (un)thinking class into instruments that, consciously or unconsciously, will, on their behalf, distort our perception of political reality, the balance of forces and the balance of support.
If we want to understand what is really going on in the ANC, we need to accept that, despite the claims of some political observers and actors, all of us have only partial access to political realities inside the ANC. Therefore, we must free ourselves from what political actors and political observers "know".
As Tony Judt put it in the preface of the book A Grand Illusion?, "... it is one thing to think an outcome desirable, quite another to suppose it possible".
We must free ourselves from the desires of political actors (politicians, commentators, supporters of Zuma, opponents of Zuma, ratings agencies, the markets, the media and the political angels and devils who are created in our image of politics).
With this freedom may come a better understanding of the balance of forces inside and outside the ANC. This may help us understand whether the ANC is heading towards a split or not.
What follows is my partial understanding of the forces and factors that may cause the ANC to split.
For too many during the liberation struggle, the ANC was nothing more than a means to an end - as it has remained for too many years now.
In this regard, the ANC is simply an instrument for the advancement of narrow personal, political and economic interests.To me, some of the conflict in the ANC must be understood in terms of those who were in the liberation struggle to destroy the ANC.
This tendency did not end when apartheid came to a partial end in 1994.
I am convinced that on both sides of the battle to unseat or to defend Zuma there are people in the leadership of the ANC who have always been part of an agenda to destroy the ANC. As matters stand, they are on a very good wicket.
These destructive elements come in two varieties, namely those who hate or were instructed by their masters to hate the ANC on the one hand, and those who love money and power more than they love the country and the ANC, on the other.
It is now common cause that the rampant looting of state resources has become one of the defining features of the post-apartheid state.
I have argued elsewhere that the looters are on both sides of the Zuma divide. In fact, some of Zuma's enemies aided and abetted the looting when they were still part of his concentric circles of power.
The difference is that some of the looters have turned looting into fine dining while their adversaries tend to chew with their mouths open.
In other words, the battle between the supporters and opponents of Zuma is a battle between cabals that at times are not shy to pursue ethnic and tribal interests.
Also, they are prepared to forge alliances with forces that have always wished for a social, political and economic order that runs counter to the vision of liberation that the ancestors of the ANC fought for.
What may precipitate a split are two tendencies: first, some Zuma opponents are prepared to burn the ANC house to the ground in order to kill the black mamba under the bed. Second, some Zuma supporters, and maybe Zuma himself, suffer from a combination of Samson and kamikaze complexes. In defence of their interests, which are disguised as a love for Zuma, they are prepared to collapse the pillars of our democracy.

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