The World Gets Ready to Say Goodbye to Jacob Zuma (Finally)

After almost 9 years of leading South Africa into the ground, the people, including government officials within Zuma’s own party, have finally spoken. Many prominent leaders within the African National Congress (A.N.C) have spoke against the rule of Zuma, and some members even suggested that he resign peacefully well early into his first term. His actions have forced South Africa into social, economic, and political devastation. But as Zuma approaches the conclusion of his second term, set to end in 2019, his past has finally caught up with him in what appears to be the breaking point for South Africa. Beginning his early career and commonly considered a populist, Zuma has transitioned into an authoritarian. Although South Africa is technically a democracy, Zuma’s endless political scandals and acts of self-interest have forced people to question their government closely. And who can blame them?
Jacob Zuma has been considered one of the world’s most corrupt leaders. Zuma began his political career as president – May 9, 2009 – by winning the sentiments of the people and promising to listen and base his decisions on the wishes of the people. The people soon learned that the intentions he voiced did not mirror his actions in office, yet Zuma is still president. Even though his second and final term ends just over a year away, many people want him out, and want him out now. Why?
Most commonly, critics look to Zuma’s use of government funds to remodel and luxurize his personal home, yet in total, Zuma has been charged with roughly 783 allegations of corruption. Such claims include rape and association in a multibillion dollar arms deal, but evidently there are many other claims. Zuma denies all allegations; however, Zuma was forced to pay back the money that he used to renovate his house with. But still, why has he not been ousted?
Zuma was born into poverty, which has allowed many people to attach themselves to him. His charisma and important role during the fight against apartheid worked, and apparently still work, as a significant backbone of his support. The people looked to him as a fighter, a person who would listen to their emotions and their wishes, but in large part, Zuma has failed the people. Zuma has a poor habit of appointing unequipped and ill-trained members, simply based on their loyalty, within his office. The second a member shows any action of disloyalty, Zuma finds a way to replace them. Such actions have brought South Africa under the rule of an uncredited and insufficient staff. Finally, from recent social uprisings and large dissent within the government, it appears that loyalty has begun to play a minimal role within the politics of South Africa.
One of the most devastating problems that have stemmed from Zuma’s presidency is the diminishing respect and approval of the A.N.C as a whole. Nelson Mandela was a key member of the party, but Zuma’s actions have created a lot of criticism for the entire party, both past and current members. Zuma actions have limited the right to freedom of speech, increased unemployment rate – to which explains South Africa’s current economic recession, diminished security machinery, and forced institutions to submit under his will. The A.N.C lost the support of major cities – Johannesburg and Pretoria – during the 2014 election, and the election results were the worst the party has seen since the fall of apartheid. It appears that Zuma, although, is not naive to his country’s disapproval. Aware that his term soon will come to an end either way, Zuma made a sly move to clear the road of competition for his successor in the firing of a well-liked and respected finance minister, Pravin Gordhan. A previous wife of Zuma, – Zuma is a proud polygamist, currently has four wives and fifteen kids – Nkosozana Dlamini-Zuma, currently works as a politician within the A.N.C and plans to succeed Zuma. Millions took to the streets earlier this year in April in protest after the scandal broke out, and it finally seems that others are listening.
Although he remains president for now, that is not to say that his presidency has not been contested. Amazingly, Zuma has survived a total of 8 ‘no confidence’ votes, barely winning the last one earlier this year by a margin of 21 votes. Zuma’s party has backed him throughout much of his presidency, but his support is dwindling to nothing. The A.N.C holds 249 of the 400 seats within the parliament, yet the opposition since Zuma’s election has begun to gain significant numbers in parliament due to Zuma’s controversial rule. In particular, as recent data shows, the opposition has gained so much support – especially from members within the A.N.C, that Zuma most likely would not survive the next vote, for the opposition only needs 50 A.N.C votes.

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