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Africa And Aboriginal Tuesdays: Zuma Is Entitled To Any Position by Buti Manamela

The acquittal of Jacob Zuma rings a million bells for the future of the country, including as we deepen our campaign against women and child abuse, and as we confront an alarming rate of HIV infection, particularly among the youth.

The various pointers that emerged from Zuma’s rape trial need not be avoided or swept under the carpet. Already Zuma has publicly and unconditionally apologised for having had a lapse, but said that there are lessons to be drawn from this battle. The Young Communist League welcomes this and applauds his exemplary stance in this regard.

He has shown courage and leadership in the face of mockery, ridicule and venom displayed against him. He has further committed himself to the struggle against women and children abuse, and HIV/Aids.

Zuma has never been the composite unit in the struggle against HIV/Aids and women abuse, but one of the many committed cadres fighting this battle. What he said in his defence does not amount to a reversal of this.

The manner in which some have appropriated the comments made by Judge Willem van der Merwe to serve their own interests should be condemned. Throughout the trial, Zuma has been called many names. He has been referred to as morally bankrupt and chauvinist, while others even went further to proclaim his guilt.

The rape trial also exposed other things that need to be condemned rather than condoned. The scale with which some people have been prepared to break the sub judice rule in the name of the struggle against women abuse is one. Organisations such as People Opposing Women Abuse and One in Nine continued to display a high level of opportunism through this case and were prepared to insult the judge and Zuma without even hearing reasons why certain decisions were taken by the judge.

Although there are many rape cases reported daily, many women abused and many HIV infections, these Mickey Mouse organisations decided to use the Zuma trial to elevate their status.

Those who hold a long-standing view that Zuma should not be the president are using what transpired in court. Already people are advancing a “moral” cause to ensure that their views and opinions on who should lead the ANC and the country will prevail.

We would like to caution against any tendency that uses selective morality and undemocratic discriminatory criteria to determine leadership within the liberation movement and society in general.

The fact that Zuma is not guilty means he is entitled to any position in society. The media should desist from perpetuating the distortions around the deputy president’s testimony in court, including the issue of a shower after sex.

Buti Manamela is national secretary of the Young Communist League. This article appears in The Mail and Guardian

Buti Manamela

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

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