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Saturday, November 08, 2008

Zuma: Regional Powers Must Force Mugabe Into Real Power-Sharing

I have a lot of problems with the putative next president of South Africa, Jacob Zuma. Mainly, he seems to be a bit of a thug.

He was acquitted of raping the HIV-posiive daughter of a friend. During the trial he said that he had taken a shower afterwards to keep from getting AIDS. (Sadly, even this makes him comparably light years ahead of his predecessor, Thabo Mbeki, on the HIV knowledge.) He has been heavy handed in his attempts to grab power, and is too cozy with the South African Communist Party. (The last thing SA - and the region - needs is to have their emerging economy backslide because foreign investment gets worried about the state nationalizing everything.)

However, keeping all of those caveats in mind, I like the noises Zuma is making about forcing ZANU-PF to live up to the power-sharing agreement they made with Morgan Tsvangirai and his Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) in Zimbabwe. It may take a thug to stand up against the current top thug of southern Africa, Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe.

Powers from the region are meeting this weekend to hopefully thrash out a deal. I pray they do.

One other positive development from Zuma's rise is that his ruling African National Congress party has split thanks to the power struggle between Zuma and Mbeki. This may result in a viable two-party system in South Africa - a welcome development after 14 years of one-party rule. (It was OK when Nelson Mandela was president, but that kind of leader does not come along very often.)

[Oh, and for those of you who are not sure, Africa is a continent, not a country.]

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