Killing for Zuma

After all the negative publicity generated by the declarations of ANCYL President Julius Malema and COSATU Secretary General Zwelinzima Vavi that they were willing to take up arms and to kill and die for Jacob Zuma and to ensure that he comes to power as the next President of South Africa, I was rather appalled to see this newspaper headline today: “‘Kill for Zuma’ gets life of its own”.

At a time when our international reputation is already being challenged (to say the least) by the spread of xenophobic violence and President Mbeki’s incomprehensibly limp-wristed response to the farcical elections in Zimbabwe, such headlines really don’t help. According to the said article:

“Thousands of ANC Youth League members burst into a “Shoot to kill for Zuma” chant when they welcomed the ruling party’s leader on his arrival at their national conference.

They toyi-toyied in front of Jacob Zuma on the podium when he arrived to give the closing address at the second leg of the ANCYL’s 23rd national conference in Joburg on Sunday.”

Now, instead of using his popularity to bring some discipline back into the ANCYL by asking them to stop this chant (which would have been the morally correct thing to do), Jacob Zuma simply ignored it and continued with his speech. Its topic, ironically, was “the ill-disciplined conduct of the Youth League during their chaotic conference in Mangaung, Bloemfontein, two months ago.”

“Ill-disciplined” and “chaotic conduct” seems to characterise pretty much the entire ANCYL in recent years.

The only ANC leader who had the courage and the sense to speak out against Malema and Vavi’s reprehensible statements was ANC deputy president Kgalema Motlanthe, who “indicated that talk of killing and taking up arms was inappropriate in a constitutional democracy.”

Well, thank goodness for that!

Nonetheless, Malema is still sticking to his guns (pardon the pun); he doesn’t see what all the hoo-hah is about and maintains that the “shoot to kill” chant “should not be taken literally”. Oh, good grief. To quote him:

“Don’t impose liberal language (on us). We are using this (word) ‘kill’ to determine our passion and love in defence of the revolution. We respect the laws of this country. We respect the constitution.”

I wonder whether he used the word “liberal” deliberately, or whether he meant to say “literal”? But no, we certainly can’t accuse him of being “liberal”.

Similarly, Vavi also refuses to apologise, because he doesn’t see the need to do so. On the weekend, “at the unveiling of the tombstone of National Education Health and Allied Workers’ Union leader Bheki Mkhize in Ulundi”, he said:

“The DA and liberals, and now, surprisingly, the Human Rights Commission, would be horrified that Mkhize was so ready to die for his people.

“All those who have been distressed by our commitment to lay down our own lives for our revolution, (those) that do not come from this tradition, need to understand this is not an empty commitment. It’s a real commitment.”

Does this make your hairs stand on end? It does mine…

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