Those who remember how former South African Thabo Mbeki was unceremoniously booted out by his party so as to lose presidency, still remember the power behind this disgraceful move. To cap it all, ruling South African Party, the African National Congress (ANC) branded Mbeki’s sacking a recall. Two movers and shakers were at the epicenter of Mbeki’s fall-Jacob Zuma (current president) and Julius Malema (former president of ANC youth wing). It goes without saying that Zuma used Malema to punish Mbeki, and grab power from him. Instead of protecting Zuma during corruption allegations against Zuma, Mbeki did it differently from African style of scartch my back I will scratch yours.
Zuma used Malema, a firebrand and a school dropout, whose influence then stunned many in South Africa and the world especially his crusade for economic freedom. Ironically, while Malema was ‘crusading’ for economic fairness, he himself had amassed a heck of ill-gotten wealth. Had the duo not fallen apart, who’d have known this hypocrisy of high order?
Malema was recently charged for money laundering and corruption the charges he denies and say they are politically motivated aimed at silencing and incriminating him. What’s going on currently is the battle of titans in which the president is facing his protege who’s turned out to be his arch foe more veraciously kicking than Mbeki who let it go and left quietly. The major question one can ask is: when Zuma used Malema to oust Mbeki did he foresee that Malema would use his influence to be a king maker? Did Malema use Zuma knowingly that time for him to be used would come and it is now?
Is the going on a dog-eat-dog tussel, the moment of truth that he who lives by sword dies by sword? Malema is now charged for corruption. He was recently quoted saying, “Zuma has 700 charges against him. I only have one." This means that Zuma is reminded to look back to allegations against him that were brought to end in a very suspicious way.
To humiliate and pin Zuma down, Malema says that he is not fighting Zuma but fighting for cause of the people namely economic freedom which means Malema decided to fight Zuma along with the whole system especially the legacy of apartheid. On this, he was quoted as saying, "The struggle for economic freedom is in motion and no amount of suppression and intimidation will silence us," At this juncture Malema turns his fight to be the fight of the people. This means anyone fighting him he is fighting against the people. Malema went far by saying they will overthrow ANC shall the current mess go on.
Malema adds, "I'll continue with the struggle for economic freedom,” Differently from Zuma, Malema has openly asserted that South African policy on empowering the people should emulate that of Robert Mugabe he venerates a lot. Malema leads this struggle and Zuma is portrayed as the one opposing the will of people namely economic freedom. Malema's take is that there won't be true freedom without the majority of South Africans benefiting from their economy which is still in the hands of white minority. This is why Malema commands more support from youths in South Africans than Zuma. This can be seen in the words of Luterdo Mothurwane, who was quoted as saying,"He gets more support than President Zuma because he is more in touch with the people and more intelligent," Lao Tzu once said that he who wins over others is persuasive and he who conquers himself is strong. Is Malema trying to use Lao Tzu wisdom as his modus operandi knowingly how persuasive and strong he is compared to Zuma? Who knows?
Malema does not mince words. Just as he said in removing Mbeki, he is repeating the same so as to prove how history repeats itself even within a short time. He says "We must make sure Jacob Zuma does not become [remain] president of the ANC... Remove him as a president," (just the same we removed Mbeki). In a game where the ends justify the means anything can happen. If Zuma used Malema to humiliate and later topple Mbeki why can’t Malema use the same method he used against Mbeki to turn tables against Zuma?
"As far as a miner living in a shack is concerned, Mr Malema speaks truth to power. When he talks of nationalization, it gives them the hope that they will see some benefit from the riches of South Africa," One south African analyst William Gumede.Gumedo goes on saying that it is hard to put Malema in the box thanks to what he says he stands for.
If Malema was a gun for hire he now wants to become a player especially kingmaker in lieu of a tool any person can use. Given the fact that Zuma has power under his disposal and Malema popularity, who will come out victorious? Will Zuma’s power save him from Malema’s onslaught built on economic freedom the majority of black South Africans want to hear? Zuma being meat in the sandwich has lot to lose especially when his tinted past is revisited so to speak. Will economic freedom leave South Africa united or asunder as it relegates back to racism and hatred due to the fact that its economy is still built on this? Will this dog and pony show benefit common South Africans or just use them to reach hidden goal for the two protagonists? Will Zuma bottle the genie or being himself bottled?
SourceL The African Executive Magazine May 22, 2013.