Who raised Jacob Zuma? What did his mother teach him about honesty, truth, fairness and justice? Is there a word in the Zulu language for ethics?
And yet, we have to caution ourselves. Our mothers and even our teachers teach everything we need to know, yet when we grow up and are on our own, we end up too often yielding to temptations of all kinds. The Liberian warning or interpretation of all this is, “You born the child; you don’t born the heart.”
We all watched on television when Jacob Zuma, in his quest for South Africa’s presidency, crawled on his knees to greet former President Nelson Mandela. That was designed to seek the old man’s blessing. At the time, some people thought this was a demonstration of Zuma’s humility.
Alas! It turned out to be something far different—it was the man’s insatiable quest for power, which he seemed willing to do anything to achieve. Remember the lesson of William Tell we learned in school: “My knee shall bow to God and God alone! My life is in the emperor’s hand, my conscience is my own.”
And once Zuma received the venerable old man’s blessing, what did Zuma do with power?
The answer: Everything wrong, from fulfilling his insatiable appetite for women—four wives at last count—to greed for money, influence and power, although he was already by far the most powerful and influential person in the republic.
Zuma had—and still has—so much power that he decided to share it with the wealthy South African Indian family, the Guptas, whose own voracious appetite for power and influence led them to misapply their friendship with Zuma by offering the most senior posts, including Finance Minister, to other politicians.
STOP! Yes, we must stop here to ask ourselves: Is that why Nelson Mandela spent 27 years in prison? Is that why he voluntarily ceded power and patriotically and selflessly passed the torch to the younger, smarter, more energetic younger generation of that great and promising country?
The answer is no! He did it because of his love for South Africa and its people—all of them—black, white, yellow and green—all of them together.
He did it to set an example for the younger generation, not only in South Africa, but throughout the world.
Too bad Robert Mugabe, who also waged an armed struggle to free the oppressed black Zimbabwean masses from the white minority rule of the country’s rabid racists and their leader Ian Smith, in 1964 issued the Unilateral Declaration of Independence (UDI) from colonial power Great Britain.
But see where selfishness, greed, racism and the total lack of feeling for other people can lead to. The white Zimbabweans, because of their racism and selfishness, lost everything, not just their white power wielded against their oppressed black brothers and sisters; but also their prosperous farms that made them, the white people, rich and powerful.
And that is exactly where Mugabe’s overweening (arrogant, self-aggrandizing) grip on power has led Zimbabwe.
Alas! That is where Zuma’s own greed threatens to take South Africa.
Thankfully, though South Africa has already been downgraded by some of the world’s leading economic and financial watchdogs, the country has not yet reached the dismal level of Zimbabwe.
The only thing that can now save the country from sinking further to the level of Zimbabwe and so many other African nations affected by greed and bad leadership is for Zuma to resign.
In so doing, he would restore the influence, good name, respectability and promise of Nelson Mandela’s African National Congress (ANC).
Zuma’s stepping aside may very well help the ANC to regain its once overwhelming respect, popularity and power among the people, much of which was lost during the recent municipal elections.
In the name of God, therefore, Jacob Zuma, please go.