The DA and the vote of no confidence!

DA tables motion of no confidence on Pres Zuma. At what cost asks our columnist Maruping Phepheng?

I managed to catch the tail of the debate on the motion of no confidence on Jacob Zuma, the president of our Republic. As usual the show was coloured with histrionics, even though the real dramatists, the EFF, were not participating in the debate.

Let me say from the onset that the pointlessness of such a workout – even if one were to advance the argument that the opposition essentially wants to sharpen the nation’s focus (and that of the world) on what they consider to be the weakest and the single most embarrassing aspect in our entire post ’94 project, President Jacob Zuma – is so outrageously obvious given firstly the sheer majority the ANC has in parliament, but secondly and most importantly, given the doctrine of democratic centralism the ANC so famously subscribes to.

So it becomes quite easy to see this attention grabber employed by the DA as no different from coming into my house, repeatedly, every time with the hope that my wife and children will choose your side in our dispute and help you effect a coup d’état. That is quite likely to happen in the world of fiction, yes. Reality on the other hand is a different pot of fish.

On the podium as I listened on the radio was one Pule Mabe, the very one who until recently nursed the desire to be president of the youth league of the ANC. Having never heard him debate before, I got a sense that he was quite fired up, animated, passionate, and totally convinced in his belief that the president and the ANC are a wonderful gift to the country.

At some point I heard him saying there in fact could be some on the benches of the opposition who would want to vote against the motion if it were to happen through secret ballot. This was a clever ploy to collapse the official opposition’s known argument that there sure are members of the ruling party who would want to vote in favour of the motion if the vote were to be conducted privately.

But that was not what struck me as the most interesting comment. He got my attention when he said the repetitive attempts by the opposition to have the president removed through a motion of no confidence was like feeding the body with the same medication over and over again. It is bound to develop layers and layers of resistance, he said.

And dead right he is. I mean, not too long ago the ANC in parliament voted to absolve the president of any wrongdoing in the Nkandla saga. This does not mean that all ANC MPs agree that the president is not culpable. It simply means that the party line was that the president was not in the wrong and therefore the entire ANC parliamentary team ought to vote that way.

Besides, the ANC is a proud organisation. It will not remove its president just because an opposition party says so. That will be giving way too much power to an enemy.

They will remove the president when they want to, and even that will require radical power shift within the ANC, resulting in Zuma mislaying the clasp he currently has on the NEC.

Until then, politically speaking, he stays.

The Democratic Alliance’s best approach on this matter, other than the courts, is to look to the electorate to pass a motion of no confidence through the ballot box. This means going to the millions of poor Africans, convincing them that they will give them jobs and better health care and better education and better roads and cheaper electricity, and so forth. They must go to the victims of apartheid and racism, and somehow show them that under their government, racism as we know it will end, that there will be jobs for everyone, that land will be returned to Blacks, and so forth.

The difficulty with the above proposition lies with its impossibility. The DA is perceived to be pro-White, pro-capitalist with a predominantly white and racist support. In light of this their attempt to remove Zuma can be seen, among (and perhaps even overwhelming) other legitimate reasons, to be nothing but a racist attempt to remove a Black president from power.

It must be noted though that I am not arguing against the DA in favour of Zuma’s ANC. That is not possible right now, given how generally anti-Black the ANC has been in the past two decades.

Realistically, the only way forward for the DA is either to use the courts to topple Zuma, or – and this will prove quite tough for a party perceived to be pro-White, to win the votes of millions of Blacks in the next election in order to install a president of their choice.

Ed. Maruping is an independent commentator, visit social pages for his  works.

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