Omnipresent paradox of presidential proportions.

I have been avoiding writing about Doctor Reverend Professor President Jacob Gedleyihlekisa Phalaepnosis Zuma, endearingly known by his clan name ‘Msholozi’. I have my reasons and no it is not for fear of his machine gun.

I will not bore you with details of the faults of the man nor will I paint a glowing picture of the honourable… I mean of the president. After all I am not his spokesperson. Instead this piece attempts to draw your attention to the paradoxical or consistent contradictions that citizen number one presents with.

For a man whose anthem is ‘Awuleth’ umshini wami’, translated bring me my machine gun, Prof. President adopts the victim role far too much. The country’s economy is in a mess. He says the media and anyone who criticises the ANC-led government is mean, well that wasn’t the word he used but he complained of the country being put in a bad light. It makes me wonder if Ma Angie “I don’t deliver” Motshekga has been tasked with delivering the machine gun which clearly has not arrived yet. I propose a commission of inquiry!

I will not say much about Msholozi’s relationships with women. I will however highlight one contradiction. In his cabinet Dr Zuma has the highest female representation this country has ever seen. Under his tutelage we have seen Dr Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma being nominated and appointed to the position of chairperson of the African Union commission. Yet he makes statements that contradict this progressive attitude by stating that it is “not right” for women to be single and further asserts that having children is “extra training for a woman”.

Ifu elimunyama, phecelezi, the dark cloud that hovered over that unmistakable head of the then incumbent president in 2009 cannot be forgotten in South African political circles. Professor Zuma came into the presidency with an unprecedented 783 charges of corruption, money laundering, racketeering and bribery hanging over his kop. I mean our president, who has recently had an orchid, the phalaepnosis, named after him, was not a blossoming choice for the ANC or national president positions. Enter the paradox. Rev. Zuma enters into office with a no corruption policy, except for the perennially terminally ill duo Mr Sela elibi and Schabir Shaik whom the presiding judge in his case noted that he had a relationship with Dr Zuma that was “generally corrupt”. In fact the release of this duo is itself a contradiction when you take into account that Msholozi served 10 years in Robben Island alongside honourable men like Govan Mbeki and Dr Nelson Mandela. I digress.

In office Zuma has not tolerated corruption instead he has fired high profile people such as General “stomach-in-chest-out” Cele. He has gone on to initiate a commission f inquiry into the very same “arms deal” that is responsible for his 783 charges that entail kinds of theft he can neither pronounce nor spell: Racketeering.

Ignorant critics of Jacob Zuma have this ill-bred association of declaring a cause and effect relationship between his lack of a ‘formal’ education and any mistake or rather mistakes he makes. I do not intend to do this. Prince Mashele wrote an article titled “Is Jacob Zuma educated or not? My answer is the honorary professor of International Relations is educated albeit in a non-conventional manner.

Unless you, like me, believe in an education that transcends the classroom then you might disagree with this section. Dr Jacob Zuma did not finish high school or primary school, he was herding cattle. Now in a sober sense, without limiting what constitutes an education to neo-Western ideas you would know that herding cattle is itself an education based on the values inculcated in the young men partaking in this activity. However if this sounds too airy fairy for you those in ANC political circles would tell you that Jacob Zuma was tutored by one Harry Gwala, may his soul rest in peace, and thus was formally educated in that sense. Unless you have a yearning for a president who was instead educated in the Verwoedian Bantu education, no comment on Verwoerd’s soul will be made at this point, you can appreciate that our president is educable and educated.

Without a matric or ABET certificate Mr Paradox, I mean Msholozi has managed to be the Head of Intelligence of the ANC a job that by definition requires you to make full use of your mental faculties in an underground movement where a mistake equals death or imprisonment. Msholozi has gone on to be an honorary doctor, an honorary professor and more recently been appointed to serve on the UN SG’s Education First Initiative to achieve quality, relevant and inclusive education for all. The less said about the comparison with our current education under his tutelage which lack quality, relevance or inclusiveness the better.

Before you start to think everything is a contradiction though I will draw you to a consistent reality in our President’s life. His love for cattle will never desert him. From being a herd boy, to mingling with the other admirer of cattle, Mr King Zwelithini “I have my own money, what we call taxes, but no job” Zulu and being in the same camp with a man who has bidded for a R18 million wild cow. Dear first ladies, current and future, if you are reading this do not get ideas and ask for 11 buffaloes instead of the customary 11 cows. In the words of a Friends like these presenter “khethile khethile touch is a move”.

Please do not be surprised when Prof President who has led the ANC to its worst point in history, marked by a Marikana massacre and cracks in the tripartite alliance where the worker’s union has to beg workers to allow them to bargain on their behalf, emerges from Mangaung singing a victorious “Awuleth umshini wami”.



President Jacob Zuma @ the AFCON 2013 draw



Phalaenopsis Jacob Zuma


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