Tuesday, September 23, 2008

The End of an Era

The End of an Era
While South African expatriates in Australia, the UK and various other parts of the world sit on the sidelines observing the peculiar developments in South Africa, saying, We made the right move while the Afro-pessimists take delight in their dj vu feel While some radio station hosts sarcastically mimic the comments of political actors in apparent disbelief While analysts mock the reasoning behind various decisions While cartoonists are having real field day

all the while, the South African public sit in utter disbelief at what has hit them. They struggle to come to terms with what has transpired and what the consequences of this most recent episode in the current muddle of events that have played themselves out on the South African political stage. They attempt to pinpoint where things went awry. They apprehensively watch if things have not fallen apart. They endeavour to delve into the hearts and minds of those that have chosen to take the path they cause the South African people to tread on, plodding and labouring along to a destination that no one is certain of.

Commentators insist that it is no surprise that ex-President Thabo Mbeki finds himself where he is, unceremoniously axed by his own party, a party that he loyally served for over fifty-two years. They suggest that he was the architect of his own destruction and should have seen the writing on the wall. Many intimate that justice has been served upon a man that had become used to quietly serving injustice - a man whose leadership style exuded nothing but intimations of autocracy; a man that had assumed a condescending attitude towards all others; a man that had circled himself with those that were true to only him; a man that eliminated, in a calculated manner and without conscience, any that could even be considered to be a threat to his authority; a man that stood and acted with no emotion and feelings; a man that believed he could do no wrong; a man that thought that he would never wane in the eyes of the people; a man who often thought that he could pull wool over the eyes of all the people, supporting his allies when their wrongdoings were displayed for all to see a wooden character that had established himself as a giant that could not be toppled.

Other commentators suggest that the current events create the fear of a scenario of unprincipled rule based upon law of the jungle of survival and vengeance. A scenario of the existence of an administration that is hell-bent on achieving its own aims regardless of the consequences.

Admittedly, it was clear that Mbeki would be removed from a position of influence. Very few, however, suspected that he would actually be removed from the position of President, especially since he had a few months left to serve as President. In any event, many say that the ANC were already calling most shots, with Mothlante being privy to all information and part and parcel of every decision. The timing, speed and cruel, cold and callous manner of removing Mbeki in one swift and decisive swipe is frightening to most.

Whatever the case, the consequences of the ANC decision are many. Political analysts have advised that the decision has created an environment of uncertainty. Even though the markets have not yet reacted negatively, the possibility of foreign investment must be adversely effected since the basis of any investment is stability and an environment of certainty which generates confidence. In the absence of this a situation of financial turmoil can easily evolve over a period of time.

The ANC decision also creates an environment where there exists the probability of no closure on matters such as the arms deal and the accusations against Zuma. It also raises concern as to how the ANC will govern in the future. Questions about whether Zuma is making decisions and who is really in charge have also been raised. It has also been asked as to why it was not possible to employ institutions that have been created for resolving differences to get to the bottom of issues.

In a situation where Zimbabwes future is uncertain, the world economy is failing, there is a high volatility of currencies, the undercurrents of private political battles being fought out in the economic field are clearly existent, and now Mbekis firing, it is important that things are sorted out as soon as possible.

All we can do is hope and pray that sanity prevails in the interest of the nation.

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