South Africa: Peaceful Politics with Racial Bias?

Yes we can! This familiar slogan appears to have travelled around the whole world signifying an era marking the end to racial biased politics and a new era in which leaders are elected based on performance records. It signified an era in which people voted for candidates in order to have their major problems solved.

It seems that South Africans have not caught the fever during their recent democratic election in which Helen Zille’s Democratic Alliance lost to Jacob Zuma’s ANC. Even though it was repeatedly said that Zuma won the heart of poor South Africans because they identify with his lower class background, it appears that the election result could be tainted with a racial bias. With a global applaud for conducting a free and fair election, critic eyebrows are raised as South Africa’s black population who voted for Zuma , which constitute the bulk of the South African populace.

When comparing the achievements of both candidates, it’s obvious that the only thing both candidates have in common is the letter “Z” in their name as beyond doubt, Zille’s credentials thrash Zuma’s whose credentials have nothing but a trail of smears, which include, rape and corruption. Although Zuma was acquitted of charges due to prosecutorial misconduct, many believe it puts to question his credibility as Prime Minister of one of the world’s most important countries. Jacob Zuma is a self-proclaimed polygamist and has been married at least four times. Among his wives was Kate Mantsho a Mozambican, who later committed suicide on the 8th of December, 2000. In addition to Zuma’s records, his solution to pregnancy among South African teenagers is to confiscate their babies and have the mothers taken to colleges and “forced” to obtain degrees.

It must be recollected that targeting foreign immigrants in South Africa has been witnessed over the years. Dangerous criminal activities, which include robbery, rape etc have been considered natural occurrences in South Africa in recent times.

Zille, who is Mayor of Cape Town, is the first premier of the province from the Democratic Alliance.  As Mayor of Cape Town, her records are remarkable. She was applauded for her successes in tackling crime (which reduced by 90%), drug abuse, and unemployment. In 2008, Helen Zille was selected as World Mayor of the Year.

Analysts worldwide hoped Zille would be able to apply her vast experience on the National Level in order to propel South Africa into the league of Great Nations. Zille was instrumental in the rapid growth and development in the City of Cape Town. Under her term , Gross geographic product (GGP) increased by over 12%, unemployment also declined from 20.7% to 17.9%. She would have been the right candidate in this great economic depression the world is facing.

So, why didn’t the South Africans vote for this remarkable woman? The scare of a return of white ruler appeared to have sent shivers down the spines of core pro African voters as many feared Zille would not represent the interests of the black community. This fear was put to the cleaners as Zille is a clear reflection of South African multiculturalism and multilingualism. Zille identifies with all and speaks English, Afrikaans and Xhosa. Zille was also a strong anti-apartheid activist.

Even though we might not conclude reverse discrimination is why Zille lost the election, the existence of  racial prejudice in South Africa is an indisputable fact. For example, in 2008 white journalists were denied entry to an event where Zuma was addressing a crowd.

The 2009 ANC victory needed no prophet to predict. However, their ability to cling on to power in the future remains dismal as they narrowly fell short of a two-thirds majority.

The ANC won 65.9% of the 17.7 million votes cast. 16.6% were won by the Democratic Alliance.

Recently, the Democratic Alliance seems to be getting stronger in South Africa. Numerous prominent South Africans have been shifting alliance among whom are Trevor Tutu’s, son of former Nobel Laureate Archbishop Desmund Tutu.

The present state of the African continent is disturbing. It’s sad that prominent countries in Africa capable of turning Africa around such as Egypt, Nigeria, South Africa and Ethiopia presently have mediocre leaders. Africans need to realize that even though the continent was full of chiefly blacks and Arabs, there now exists other races, born on African soil with no where to go. Africa is their home as well by birth right. Just like Africans move around the globe, acquiring citizenship from numerous countries, they should be willing to share as well with those who come to live amongst them. It’s the only way forward as multi racial societies have proven to provide the atmosphere for economic growth.

Jovi Otite

Jovi Otite (Ph.d) is the co-founder of BornBlack. He is an Animal Science Expert in Animal Reproduction, agriculture and alternative renewable energy.

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