Connect with us

AFRICA FOCUS

HOW HE WAS FORCED OUT: Jacob Zuma Resigns As South Africa’s President

Published

on

President Jacob Zuma of South Africa, a master tactician who survived a string of scandals and harsh court judgments during his nearly nine-year presidency, agreed on Wednesday to step down, repudiated by the governing African National Congress Party, cornered by opposition parties and abandoned by millions of voters.

In an address to the nation Wednesday night, Mr. Zuma said he was resigning even though he disagreed with the party’s decision ordering him to do so.

“I have therefore come to the decision to resign as the president of the Republic with immediate effect, even though I disagree with the decision of the leadership of my organization,” he said at the end of a lengthy address on television. “I have always been a disciplined member of the A.N.C.”

It is a humiliating end for Mr. Zuma, a charismatic anti-apartheid hero who was imprisoned on Robben Island with Nelson Mandela and was once the A.N.C.’s intelligence chief.

Initially he inspired hope in millions of South Africans, especially the poorest. But, tainted by numerous accusations of misconduct, he came to symbolize the corruption that flourished during his time in office.

Influence-peddling in his administration was so widespread, according to the nation’s former public protector, that it became a form of state capture in which Mr. Zuma’s business partners or friends influenced government decisions in their personal interest.

He will resign anytime from now – Malema told Zuma recently

Now, his departure as president leaves South Africa with a disillusioned electorate, a weakened economy and a tarnished image in the rest of Africa.

Only hours before his resignation he had sounded defiant and aggrieved during a live interview with the state broadcaster SABC, after party leaders had threatened to remove him through a no-confidence vote in Parliament on Thursday. He had indicated strongly that he would not resign, saying the party’s effort to pull him from office was “unfair,” that he was being “victimized,” and that he had done nothing wrong.

The deputy president, Cyril Ramaphosa — whose election as A.N.C. leader in December set off a power struggle with Mr. Zuma — immediately became acting president. On Thursday, Mr. Ramaphosa is almost certain to be chosen by Parliament to become the nation’s fifth president since the end of apartheid in 1994; all have been members of the A.N.C.

The resignation was the culmination of a long internal fight, pitting Mr. Zuma’s supporters against an ascendant faction led by Mr. Ramaphosa, who pushed the president to step down before the end of his full term in mid-2019. The balance finally tipped against Mr. Zuma, when the majority of party leaders concluded that the A.N.C.’s interests, and their own, would be better served under a new head of state.

On Tuesday, after more than a week of failed efforts by Mr. Ramaphosa to ease Mr. Zuma out office, party leaders ordered Mr. Zuma to step down, saying his continued presence as the nation’s leader would “erode the renewed hope and confidence among South Africans,” and indicating that he was hurting the party’s electoral prospects.

Mr. Zuma’s administration appeared to schedule an address to the nation by Mr. Zuma at 10 a.m. on Wednesday, but then issued a statement saying no such briefing was planned an hour before it was scheduled to start.

As Mr. Zuma remained defiantly silent, the police’s investigative unit — which has long been subject to political interference — raided the residence in Johannesburg of the Guptas, a family with wide-ranging business interests and close ties to one of the president’s sons and his political allies, and arrested three people.

The intended message, political analysts said, was that those closest to Mr. Zuma, or even Mr. Zuma himself, could be next unless he acceded to the party’s order to quit.

Then, a few hours after that, as Mr. Zuma gave no indication of responding to his party’s order, A.N.C. leaders escalated the pressure. If the president did not resign by the end of the day, they said, they would move to remove him through a vote of no confidence the next day.

“The ball is in his court,” said Paul Mashatile, the party’s treasurer general and a Ramaphosa ally.

Mr. Zuma broke his silence with the SABC interview shortly after that, before finally resigning during his address to the nation.

The developments were a clear sign of how much had changed in the two months since Mr. Ramaphosa was chosen to succeed Mr. Zuma as the leader of the A.N.C., creating what South Africans refer to as the two centers of power — the presidency and the head of the party.

Mr. Zuma, seemingly untouchable just a couple of months ago, was gone in just 58 days.

For years, Mr. Zuma — as the leader of both the party and the nation — had relied on his party’s support to fend off opposition-led no-confidence votes in Parliament and damning rulings by the nation’s highest courts.

Mr. Zuma’s reversal in fortunes began in December, when his choice as party successor, Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, a veteran politician and his former wife, lost to Mr. Ramaphosa by a small margin.

Mr. Ramaphosa’s election was considered a victory for reformers inside the A.N.C. After his election, South Africa’s currency, the rand, and overall business confidence have risen.

In recent weeks, Mr. Ramaphosa’s supporters lobbied for Mr. Zuma’s early exit. They argued that Mr. Ramaphosa needed time before the 2019 elections to rebuild the party and woo back voters, especially in the urban black middle class.

Pushing back, Mr. Zuma’s followers said he should be allowed to complete his term. But the momentum was not in their favor, and other challenges, potentially embarrassing to both Mr. Zuma and the party, lay ahead.

Mr. Zuma faced possible corruption charges for an arms deal in the 1990s, before he was president, as well as possible impeachment proceedings stemming from another corruption case, related to the misuse of public funds for upgrades to his homestead.

Mr. Zuma’s resignation saved the A.N.C. from a potentially embarrassing confrontation in Parliament. It is almost certain that the party would have succeeded in passing the no-confidence vote, given its dominance in the legislative body.

But the spectacle of a party finally turning against a leader it had protected steadfastly for nearly nine years would have likely resulted in awkward verbal footwork by A.N.C. lawmakers and stinging attacks by a reinvigorated opposition.

The same A.N.C. lawmakers, who had until a couple of months ago always offered a full-throated defense of Mr. Zuma’s conduct in a series of scandals, would have been forced to proffer reasons to remove him in Parliament — exposing the party to charges of hypocrisy and expediency, and casting doubt on Mr. Ramaphosa’s pledge to reform it.

The A.N.C.’s difficult position was on clear display on Tuesday. At a news conference at its headquarters in Johannesburg, Ace Magashule — who is third in the party’s hierarchy and has traditionally acted as its spokesman — struggled to explain why the party was asking for Mr. Zuma’s resignation.

Mr. Magashule said the corruption accusations against the president had played no role, saying, “We did not take these decisions because Comrade Jacob Zuma has done anything wrong.”

Mr. Magashule’s remarks suggested the party might be reluctant to deal head-on with the culture of corruption that was endemic under Mr. Zuma — and also that it was concerned about its success in future elections.

In the 2016 local elections, the A.N.C. lost control over the nation’s biggest cities after it was deserted by traditional supporters disillusioned by Mr. Zuma’s conduct; some party officials have since warned that it might face a similar fate in national elections in 2019.
But party leaders did not explain, as Mr. Zuma himself pointed out in the television interview, why they had loyally backed him until two months ago and were now demanding his resignation. What had changed, beyond the fact that there was now a new A.N.C. leader who wanted him out?

“Nobody’s saying what I’ve done,” Mr. Zuma said in his television interview.

SOURCE: New York Times

Comments

Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

AFRICA FOCUS

Uhuru Kenyatta Orders Top Officials To Take Lie-detector Tests In Corruption Crackdown

Published

on

Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta is ordering procurement officials in government offices to undergo lie-detector tests as part of a corruption crackdown following a series of scandals.

Kenyatta’s announcement Friday comes after nearly 9 billion Kenya shillings ( $90 million) vanished from the National Youth Service, a government agency that provides training opportunities for young people.

It later emerged that the funds were allegedly stolen through fake invoices for services that were never rendered. Dozens of people have been arrested and are facing charges over the alleged theft.

Kenyatta said people running government institutions will undergo the new tests to safeguard against “selfishness and greed.”

“All heads of procurement and accounts in government ministries, departments, agencies and parastatals will undergo fresh vetting including polygraph testing, to determine their integrity and suitability,” he said.

The tests will be concluded before the start of the next financial year, and those who fail will be suspended, he said. The government’s financial year starts in July.

“You will hear of other tougher actions in the days to come,” Kenyatta said.

One of Kenyatta’s campaign promises when he was first elected for his first term in 2013 was to tackle corruption, but government agencies have been embroiled in several graft scandals.

“Many fear the procurement of the lie-detectors would itself be scandalous! Corruption is in the DNA of Kenya,” Mohamed Yarrow tweeted.

Kenyatta acknowledged the rampant corruption, describing it as one of the main challenges facing the nation and urging citizens to join him in the fight.

“While the challenge may look huge because of the way corruption has become entrenched in some of our people today, we have to declare in unison that corruption in all its forms will be diminished from our country,” he said.

One of East Africa’s largest economies has had a series of corruption scandals in recent months.

In March, Kenya’s auditor general said the health ministry is missing 11 billion shillings ($108 million), a major concern for a nation that gets numerous funds from international donors.

Comments

Continue Reading

AFRICA FOCUS

ICC Regrets Uganda’s Failure To Arrest Bashir – ICC Adviser

Published

on

The International Criminal Court (ICC) based in Hague (Netherland) has today regretted the failure by Uganda to arrest Sudan President Omar Bashir during his recent visit to the country.

Dahirou Sant-Anna, the international Cooperation Adviser in the office of the prosecutor regretted the lack of cooperation from the government of Uganda for refusing to arrest Omar Bashir, the president of the Republic of Sudan, when he stepped on Ugandan soil. He noted that the government was supposed to arrest Bashir because the court has already issued arrest warrants against him.

It’s against this background that he called upon African countries to corporate with the court because its role is to give justice to victims of war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide.

Dahirou also revealed that ICC received a complaint concerning the Kasese killings and its under review.

It should be remembered that a group of Uganda members of parliament from Kasese region led by the Leader of Opposition, who doubles as the Kasese women MP Winnie Kiiza petitioned ICC over the 2016 Kasese massacre.

In other developments, Maria Mabinty Kamara, the ICC Outreach Officer refuted claims by some African leaders under the African Union that the court is only targeting them because they are financially poor and are contributing little to its survival. She said that America and European countries are not the biggest contributors.  She said that its Japan who contribute much to ICC because of the per-capital income of their people. Maria said that a country’s contribution to the court depends its people’s per-capital.

Maria also revealed that in July this year, ICC is going to celebrate 20 years under the theme ‘Building a more just world’. She said that a number of activities are going to take place which will include ICC officials having engagements with other stakeholders like members from Civil Society Organisation (CSO), the Uganda Law Society and LRA victims.

The International Criminal Court (ICC) is an intergovernmental organization and international tribunal, established in 1998 in Rome (Italy) that sits in The Hague in the Netherlands. The ICC has the jurisdiction to prosecute individuals for the international crimes of genocide, crimes against humanity, and war crimes.

Thus far, 39 individuals have been indicted in the ICC, including Ugandan rebel leader Joseph Kony, Sudanese president Omar al-Bashir, Kenyan president Uhuru Kenyatta, Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi, Ivorian president Laurent Gbagbo, and Congolese vice-president Jean-Pierre Bemba.

It currently has 123-member states which are signatory to it.
By Jamil Lutakome

Comments

Continue Reading

AFRICA FOCUS

SHOCKING PHOTO: Of Catholic Congo Priest Infected With Ebola As Bishops Prays For Him Afar

Published

on

A Catholic priest contracted the Ebola virus in the Democratic Republic of Congo amid a continuing outbreak that began in the nation earlier this month. The priest, who has been identified as Fr. Lucien Ambunga, – was reportedly infected in the town of Mbandaka.

The clergy was pictured receiving prayers from other the Bishop and priests after being quarantined. Fr. Lucien contracted Ebola while visiting the sick.

Extremely contagious and highly deadly, Ebola gained major international attention during the 2014-2016 epidemic in West Africa that left more than 11,000 people dead.

In the latest outbreak in DRC, the first case of Ebola was reported on May 8 in the rural Equateur province near Bikoro, and later spread to Mbandaka. The World Health Organization has said that the chances of Ebola spreading to other parts of the nation are “very high.”

 

Source: catholicforlife

Comments

Continue Reading

like us

TRENDING