Zuma could be kicked out – Gumede
President Jacob Zuma could be ousted like his predecessor, Thabo Mbeki, if he is re-elected at the ANC’s conference in Mangaung in December.
His re-election could even split the party, political analyst and writer William Gumede has said.
Mbeki was ousted as president in 2008 by the ANC, nine months after Zuma was elected part president and a few months before the end of his term.
Gumede, whose book Restless Nation is set to be launched tomorrow, spoke to businesspeople at a breakfast in Rosebank today.
He said Zuma only seems to have support in three provinces – KwaZulu-Natal, Mpumalanga and the Free State, and his position isn’t as secure as he would have liked.
Zuma also has divided support in the trade unions, and there might be strong enough support for his ousting a year or two after Mangaung.
Gumede also said some in trade unions who wanted to see government policies change, might be unhappy with Zuma’s re-election and lose patience. There is a chance that this group could split from the ANC.
He said because Zuma doesn’t have a convincing majority support, his lobbyists might try to convince or intimidate any possible opponents not to stand against him in December.
Another strategy could be to strike a deal with someone like businessman Cyril Ramaphosa, who would then become Zuma’s deputy in the party and president of the country.
Ramaphosa could also agree to soothe Zuma’s fears about losing his position, such as possible prosecution for corruption and loss of business for him and his family, Gumede said.
He said Deputy President Kgalema Motlanthe’s strategy was to convince people to support him on the basis of policy, not on the basis of his opposition to Zuma.
“Kgalema appears as someone who has no view, but he is saying to factions if you support me, it’s on my terms,” he said.
Motlanthe might step out of the way in Mangaung if the fight gets dirty, Gumede said. This would provide an opportunity for Housing Minister Tokyo Sexwale, who also has his eye on the presidency, to step up.
“Tokyo’s tactic seems to be that he’ll fight hard and dirty like Zuma, and that he’s happy to stitch together his constituencies from people like the (ANC) Youth League and the unions,” Gumede said.
Analyst and author Daniel Silke, who also spoke at the event, said the positive about a second term for Zuma could be that he’d be more secure in his presidency, knowing that he cannot serve another term.
He would spend less time “looking over his shoulder” and could be more decisive, Silke said.
He said the debate in the ANC should really be around Planning Minister Trevor Manuel’s National Development Plan, and how it could be implemented.
“It is really sad for the country and the ANC that this wasn’t what the ANC’s policy conference was all about,” he said.
Gumede’s book launch takes place tomorrow night at Exclusive Books in Hyde Park.