JOHANNESBURG: If all goes as expected, South Africa will soon be led by a president who is also the defendant in a criminal case, an alleged fraudster and racketeer legally empowered to select the officials who decide whether to drop his prosecution or push it forward.Ladies and Gentlemen...the next Zimbabwe.
However one feels about the presumptive next president, Jacob Zuma — and most of the feelings here align toward extremes — his ascension to the top job will test the rule of law in a country often regarded as the democratic anchor of the continent.
Then again, with Moammar Gadhafi as leader of the African Union...what could go wrong?
He attended the session Monday dressed in a gold-embroidered green robe and flanked by seven extravagantly dressed men who said they are the “traditional kings of Africa.” Gadhafi told about 20 of his fellow heads of state that he would work to unite the continent into “the United States of Africa.”That continent is like a freakin' cartoon. But, South African constituents seem to be level headed:
Gadhafi arrived at the summit Sunday with the seven men, one carrying a 4-foot gold staff, and caused a stir when security officials did not admit them because each delegation gets only four floor passes. All seven “kings” were seated behind Gadhafi when he accepted the chairmanship.
‘‘If you arrest him, he will lead us from prison,’’ remarked Julius Malema, head of the ANC Youth League. ‘‘We are not afraid to be led by a president in orange clothes.’’ He has said he would ‘‘kill’’ for Zuma.I wonder if, as a mouth frothing zealot in support of criminal leaders you can go "free agent." That way, you can capitalize on your full talents and increase your marketability by highlighting your wares to the most needy despot. Of course, the arbitration hearings will put a temporary delay on village acquisitions.
With an election coming, the ANC hired Carl Niehaus as a new spokesman late last year. He began a campaign to buff the recent smudges off the party’s image, writing essays for newspapers that adoringly described Zuma as a man deserving of unwavering loyalty.I believe President Obama still has some cabinet positions available...Good luck, Carl.
But the new spokesman turned out to be a bad choice to champion the innocent. Last month, newspaper accounts portrayed him as a man addicted to extravagant living who held off creditors with artful lies. According to one allegation, he talked his way into a family vacation at a resort in Mauritius by fibbing about being ill with leukemia to an unwitting travel agent. ‘‘What I did was terrible,’’ Niehaus told The Mail and Guardian, confessing to forgery.