By Eric Elezuo
The South African President, Mr. Jacob Zuma, like the proverbial cat with nine lives, has survived yet another scare from the country’s National Assembly; the eight in the series of impeachment moves to pull the presidential carpet off his feet.
In a no confidence vote cast against him on Tuesday, Mr. Zuma won with a total of 198 votes against those who want him out but pooled a paltry total of 177 votes. A difference of only 11 votes as nine inconsequential abstained!
The third president in the post-apartheid South Africa has on more than one occasion being associated with high profile corruption, a situation that necessitated his countrymen to call for his removal.
On seven previous occasions, Zuma has faced the angry parliamentarians, and on those occasions, have come out unscathed, making him become another cat.
The hallmark of the eight attempt was it was characterized by a secret system of voting as pronounced by Speaker Baleka Mbete, unlike the previous times; a move most South Africans claim was a masterminded game plan, meaning that the game of political chess continues.
However, there were celebrations from both sides as the vote count was much closer than previous votes.
It was observed that shouts of “sell-outs” and “traitors” were heard as MPs left the chamber after results were announced, prompting an aggrieved parliamentarian, Mmusi Maimane, to call Zuma a ‘dead president walking’ and called on him to resign.
Rumour mills have suggested that Zuma got the vote at a price as he was given an ultimatum to resign after 30 days if he was saved. That will be a story for another day.
The opposition erroneously capilised on the cracks in the ANC ranks to strike, but they forgot the cardinal rule: no matter how divided the ANC may be, to attack it only unites them, and that was exactly what happened.
According to Ladysmith Gazette, “It is amazing how many people make the mistake of believing President Jacob Zuma is not a shrewd and very adept politician. He is exactly that and borders on being a political genius.”
In November, 2016, during the fifth attempt to oust Zuma, the motion failed when 214 MPs voted against it and 126 voted in its favour. One MP abstained and 58 did not vote (absent).
Other times include but not limited to March 1, April 7 and May 20, 2017 as well as December 20, 2016 with the latest being August 8, 2017.
Much as the parliament are not giving up in ousting the scandal-prone president, whose tenure expires in 2019, Zuma continues to spring surprises at every hearing, making the accusations of corruption against him to remain mere accusations.
However, time is running out on the former Vice President to Thambo Mbeki, whose running battle with him drew much sympathy to his side, enabling him to gain party support, and became the party’s presidential candidate against the wishes of his boss, and subsequently the country’s president.
Zuma has used up eight of the nine proverbial lives of the invincible cat. What therefore happens if for any reason another inquisition comes up before the expiration of his second term in office? What if another vote of no confidence springs up? What the rumour of those who gave him 30 days ultimatum proves true?
Time is obviously running out on President Jacob Gedleyihlekisa Zuma