Saturday, October 4, 2008

Political Venting.

Today I went to the oriental plaza. It is a market with items supposedly imported from the orient and is sold to you by Indians. Most of them have never seen the Orient despite their ancestors being from India, but heck, who would notice, right?

Anyway, I am walking down the plaza strip and something catches my eye. It's a green flag with a picture of Thabo Mbeki on it. In case you don't follow SA politics, here is what has bee occurring recently:

Mr. Mbeki is the ex-president of South Africa by like 2 weeks. He was recently unceremoniously ousted from presidency because it was discovered that he was neck high in corruption bullshit. A few hours after the 'resigning' of Mr. Mbeki, a new president was sworn in to serve the remaining time of Mbeki's term. No one who this guy was, nor did they know how to pronounce his name. Kgalema Motlanthe is now the newest, non-elected president of South Africa.

Why was some random sworn in instead of a 'vice president'? The short answer: because this is Africa. South Africans do not vote in a person, they vote in a party. The ANC is the political party in power since Apartheid and the president of the ANC should be the next in line. But this wasn't the case.

Jacob Zuma is the president of the ANC. Unfortunately, he was unable to be sworn in due to his... being in court. Zuma has been in court numerous times. Once for rape and was strangely and almost OJ Simpson-like acquitted. During this particular case he made a statement that will forever and ever cast him in the stupid box. After having unprotected sex with an HIV positive woman, Zuma claimed he would not get the HI virus because he...wait for it... took a shower afterwards. A second time Zuma was charged with fraud and corruption. And was strangely and almost OJ Simpson-like acquitted. Recently he was again charged with corruption except this time in the same 'deal' that Mbeki was ousted for. Yet Zuma was acquitted on a legal technicality.

So enough of the (somewhat biased) politics 411. Back to the green flag... under the Mbeki flag was the exact same flag reading 'Long live Zuma, South Africa's next president'. The shop owner was a Zulu man with obviously strong communist leanings. It just echoes the thousands and thousands who rallied outside Zuma's court cases, violently protesting the apparent misrepresentation of Zuma. The ANC Youth League President even stated publicly, "I will kill for Zuma." In Africa we do not take such statements lightly.

What I do not understand is why so many people of colour choose to continue voting for the same party that continues to screw them over. The economy has plummeted (yes I know that recent economic struggles are due to worldwide issues) since the fall of Apartheid. Less indigenous people have decent paying jobs than during Apartheid. The ANC promised housing for every previously disadvantaged (ie Black) person in South Africa and has barely housed 100 000 Black families. The electricity shortage has not improved in the least as now 10 years after Aparteid there has been little maintenance done on the power stations and little planning on the consumption thus, the only power company is increasing the electricity to up to 60% with 3 hour blackouts weekly. Uncool guys. Very uncool.

Ultimately, the only joys I get out of thinking about politics are, local cartoonist, Zapiro's satirical cartoons found in the Mail and Guardian. This cartoon was published Oct 3 2008. It features the new president Kgalema Motlanthe at the desk and Jacob Zuma (the man under the infamous shower) in the shape of an iguana with the ANC youth League riding his back.
Yes. Politics stink. Bullshit stinks more. And that's all I have to say about that one.

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