Nelson Mandela had a great opportunity this week to deliver a powerful rebuke to the African National Congress for its totalitarian impulses and its endemic corruption.
Yet just 15 years after he gloriously led his party to victory in South Africa’s first democratic election, the great man chose to sit on a platform at a stadium rally between his former wife, Winnie Madikizela-Mandela - who has convictions for fraud, theft and assisting a kidnapping - and Jacob Zuma, the ANC leader whose own past is mired in allegations of sleaze and corruption.
Zuma’s supporters celebrated this great display of symbolic party unity by chanting their man’s favourite war song, Bring Me My Machine Gun.
Their exuberance was well-justified. For with Mandela’s very public endorsement, Zuma will this week be elected President when the country goes to the polls today.
But wait: there’s more!
South Africa’s president-to-be, Jacob Zuma, says he’ll establish a new “media tribunal” to regulate newspapers, which he feels don’t treat him with enough respect.