The political theology of Jacob Zuma
South Africa’s President Jacob Zuma kicked off the new year by declaring that God was on the side of the ruling African National Congress (ANC). Speaking ahead of the ANC’s 105th birthday celebrations which took place at the Orlando Stadium in Soweto, he reiterated a statement he has made several times before – that the party will rule until Jesus comes.
This time he went even further, hitting back at the party’s detractors by declaring:
We believers never forget that, just like the son of man who came to wash away all of our sins, the birth of the ANC happened to free the people who were oppressed.
By implication, it would seem, any president of the ANC must be pretty well in with God, and those against him, on the side of the Devil.
Put aside, for the moment, any thought of whether Zuma actually believes this twaddle. Consider instead that it actually fits the liberation movement cosmology of the ANC.
In the beginning, there was the Garden of Eden, centred in Merrie South Africa, an ancestral land blessed by plenty, peace, wealth, comfort and ubuntu – (or human kindness).
Then came the Fall.
The chosen instrument of Providence?
Originally Africans had had the land, and the whites had come with the Bible. Colonialism and apartheid saw the whites grab the land, leaving the blacks with the Bible. But then along came the ANC, with many clerics at its head, with its fore-ordained mission to restore South Africa to its rightful owners. And save South Africa it did, leading the country to redemption by finally vanquishing apartheid in 1994 under the messianic leadership of Nelson Mandela.
Alternatively, of course, there is the secular version of much the same story, told in psuedo-scientific, Soviet-style Marxist language. This time round, the vehicle of salvation is the class alliance of the ANC with the South African Communist Party. This embodied a simultaneous struggle for national liberation and socialism – although now redemption comes in two stages, first that of the national democratic revolution, and only then, the heaven-on-earth of socialism.
Common to both versions is the certainty of history. It is the ANC that represents the people, and knows their true interests and destiny. Even if, on occasion, it follows the wrong path, as the chosen instrument of Providence it will find its way back to the straight and narrow.
All other parties are therefore heretics and impostors, and are therefore bound to be overcome, for the ANC and the people are one. The ANC will therefore rule until the End of History, or Jesus’ second coming. Which is why, in a previous speech late last year, Zuma had felt confident enough to tell church leaders who had become critical of the ANC to stay out of politics and stick to religion. It is only the ANC, apparently, which is entitled to blur the two. As far as Zuma is concerned, it is the ANC which is the historic bearer of Good News.
For as the ANC slogan had it at the last general election in 2014, the party had “a good story to tell”. Which is a good thing, for in his message to the ANC at its birthday bash, Zuma had little or nothing to say. He acknowledged South Africa had been going through hard times – mostly, he said, because of hostile global conditions – but assured the faithful that continued pursuit of ANC policies of “transformation” would lead to better times ahead.
From saints to sinners
The problem for Zuma’s political theology is that far too many members of the ANC have been experiencing a dramatic loss of faith. They look back in fondness to the years of the struggle against apartheid when the ANC – whatever its earthly faults – was recognisably and unequivocally on the side of right and the righteous.
It had more saints than sinners, and its ethos was one of duty, self-abnegation and sacrifice. The individual was as nothing; the movement, the struggle, was everything. Yet now they look at the ANC of Zuma, and see little else but a leader and his acolytes deeply mired in corruption, the party torn apart by factionalism, and selfishness rampant. The interests of the people, they say, have been forgotten. The party must therefore “self-correct” – and do so quickly if it is to win back its sheep who have strayed.
Is there a Martin Luther within the ranks of the ANC willing to risk all and to nail his or her manifesto of reform to the church door? If so, it is becoming increasingly difficult to see one.
Party deputy president Cyril Ramaphosa has recently positioned himself as the reform candidate to replace Zuma when his term as party president expires in December 2017. He took a firm stand against corruption just prior to the ANC’s birthday. By openly decrying the perversion of the party’s electoral processes, bewailing votes bought by money stuffed in the boots of cars, and deploring “state capture”, he put clear distance between himself and Zuma.
However, he doesn’t make a very convincing reformer. Not only has he previously kept as quiet as a church mouse as Zuma has lurched from scandal to scandal, but he lacks a significant congregation within the ANC.
Nor is it likely that his major rival in the succession race, Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, the president’s ex-wife, would get to grips with the corruption and patronage that has sunk deep into the ANC.
As she would have been placed in power by Zuma’s own disciples in order to defend their interests and keep their boss out of jail, she would be too deeply compromised to drive the money-changers out from the temple. It therefore seems unlikely that the ANC will prove able to cleanse its soul and present itself as a credible saviour to the voters in the general election in 2019.
It is true, certainly, that the ANC may be able to use its considerable powers of persuasion to lure some lost sheep to the polls. Yet many will not only stay away but cast their votes elsewhere, throwing an ANC victory into question. Zuma may preach that with God on its side, the ANC will never fail. Yet with the ANC in its present state of decline, God seems an unlikely backer at the next general election. God, it would seem, is not an ANC loyalist, but rather a floating voter.
Professor of Sociology, University of the Witwatersrand
Singer Bruno K Exposed For Neglecting His Son, Claims He Only Has One Child
The internet has been abuzz following accusations leveled against Bruno Kiggundu, popularly known as Bruno K, over his alleged neglect of his son, Seth Kiggundu. In a tweet, a user identified as Keith alleged that Bruno K had abandoned his only son, Seth, and only pays attention to his daughter, Briella.
Keith claimed that Vanessa, his best friend, had a baby boy with Bruno K, and the singer had refused to fulfill his parental responsibilities towards Seth. He further accused Bruno of making Vanessa’s life difficult in 2022, which caused her to loathe the singer.
While it is essential to respect the baby’s privacy, it is crucial to hold public figures accountable for their actions, especially when they involve the welfare of children. The allegations against Bruno K are serious and should not be taken lightly.
Child abandonment is a severe issue that affects many children worldwide. It is a form of child neglect that can lead to adverse effects on a child’s development, including emotional and behavioral problems. Children who are abandoned by their parents may experience feelings of rejection, anger, and low self-esteem, which can lead to depression and anxiety.
As a public figure, Bruno K has a responsibility to set a good example for his fans and followers, especially young people. Neglecting one’s child is not only morally wrong but also illegal under Ugandan law. The Children’s Act of Uganda provides that every child has the right to parental care and protection, and any parent who neglects their child can be charged with child abuse.
It is not clear whether the allegations against Bruno K are true, but if they are, he should take responsibility for his actions and do the right thing for his son. Children need both parents to grow up happy and healthy, and neglecting one’s child is unacceptable.
In conclusion, the allegations against Bruno K are serious, and if true, they represent a worrying trend of child neglect in Uganda. As a society, we must hold public figures accountable for their actions and demand that they do the right thing for their children. Let us all strive to create a safe and nurturing environment for all children, regardless of their family background.
Speaker Rt. Hon. Anita Among Orders Minister Dr. Chris Baryomunsi To Stop Making Excuses For Not Establishing The Tribunal
Speaker of parliament Rt. Hon. Anita Among has ordered the Minister of Information, Communications, Technology, and National Guidance, Dr. Chris Baryomunsi to stop making excuses for not establishing the tribunal which she said has been pending for a long.
The speaker’s order followed Dr. Chris Baryomunsi’s attribution of the delay to create the Uganda Communications Tribunal to the recent Cabinet decision on the rationalization of agencies.
The speaker of Parliament Among emphasized the need for the tribunal in place.
“We need a tribunal. How sure are you that we are going to rationalize [government agencies]? We want a tribunal in UCC; we cannot do ad-hoc kind of operations,” Among said.
The Uganda Communications Commission (UCC) Act makes provision for the creation of a tribunal that is supposed to handle complaints relating to the decisions of UCC as provided under Sections 60 and 64 of the Act.
He said this during the Wednesday, 22 March 20223 plenary sitting where he tabled the Uganda Communications (Fees and Fines) (Amendment) Regulations, 2023.
The regulations provide for fees and fines to be paid by telecommunication and broadcasting companies for spectrum or frequency access in order to improve telecommunication services.
His response was prompted by the Leader of Opposition (LOP), Hon. Mathias Mpuuga who accused the minister of ‘sleeping on the job’ by failing to fulfill the provisions of the UCC Act in regard to the creation of the communications tribunal.
“We have raised severally in our alternative policies the question of the minister failing to appoint the UCC tribunal. The minister is now the tribunal; he is acting as the complainant, prosecutor, and judge at the same time. The Ministry [of ICT] is holding media houses at ransom with no recourse to this tribunal,” Mpuuga said.
The Speaker referred the Regulations to the Committee on ICT and National Guidance for scrutiny with a strong caution to UCC not to start collecting fees until Parliament approves the regulations.
Section 93 of the UCC Act, 2013 states that, ‘the minister may, after consultation with the Commission and with the approval of Parliament, by statutory instrument, make regulations for better carrying into effect the provisions of this Act’.
Anti-gay Bill Will Impinge Upon Universal Human Rights, Jeopardize Progress In Fight Against HIV/AIDS In Uganda-White House
The White House and the European Union (EU) have joined the United Nations (UN) and other human rights groups in condemning the just passed Anti-homosexuality Bill.
The Bill that awaits assent from the president was passed by MPs on Tuesday night after a seven-hour heated session.
The bill introduces stricter penalties for people engaged in same-sex activities in Uganda including the death penalty for aggravated homosexuality.
It also proposes life in prison for the offense of “homosexuality” and up to 10 years in jail for attempted homosexuality.
Now White House press secretary, Karine Jean-Pierre says the Bill is one of the most extreme laws targeting homosexuality in the world.
She warns that this will not only impinge upon universal human rights, jeopardize progress in the fight against HIV/AIDS but will also deter tourism and damage Uganda’s international reputation.
“We have great concerns with the passage of the Anti-homosexuality Act by the parliament of Uganda and increasing violence targeting LGBTQI+ persons,” Karine said.
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