Monday, December 17, 2007

Democracy and the disinfection of tyranny

Whatever you may think of Jacob Zuma, what we are seeing in Polokwane demonstrates the power of democracy.

An arrogant denialist is being stripped of his power.

Whatever pain South Africa may feel in the next few weeks and months, at least we have been saved from Thabo Mbeki's increasingly erratic behavior1,2.

Jacob Zuma may turn out to be no better than Mbeki, or even worse, but the message that leaders can be held accountable in South Africa is powerful one, and one I hope the populace internalizes.

1 Nelson Mandela mercifully managed to hold on to his faculties for long enough to lead South Africa, but the fact is that as people age, we expect signs of senility to creep in. We should not be surprised that this happens with leaders as well.
2 Assuming he gives up easily. But I seriously doubt he will find much support if he tries any funny business.