Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Brothers in Arms

Will it be a fart against thunder, a storm in a tea cup or just a tiny splinter from the beam?

I have so far refrained from commenting on the Thabo Mbeki resignation or firing, which ever way you look at it, simply because I don’t really know Mbeki. I left SA when Nelson Mandela was still running the country and I have only read on the Internet what Mbeki achieved or did not achieved in his presidency. What his achievements mean to the everyday person in his everyday life I can’t say. And the new temporary President I don’t know at all. Never even heard or saw his name before. However, the possible split in the ANC could have repercussions for expatriates.

I, like many other South Africans that have left the country may always have the hope of one day returning, maybe to retire there. After all you can take an Afrikaner out of Africa but never really take Africa out of the Afrikaner. The current storm in a tea cup with the possible split in the ANC can cut both ways. Let’s face it; the ANC did bring a form of political stability to South Africa after 1994, albeit crime did climb sky high. But compare to what happened in other African countries after a change in long time rule the ANC did not do too badly. But it also brought arrogance and a sense of “we can do what ever we want” in parliament, which is not good for politics because it can lead to another Zimbabwe. On the other hand a split in the ANC into 2 parties, the doves and the hawks, or the moderates and the hardliners could have positive and negative implications. Positive because it can lead to more balanced politics in the country and negative because it could result in a civil war. It’s not too far fetched with some hawks exclaiming that they will kill for Jacob Zuma.

But will there really be a significant split? Will Mbeki really join a new party after a lifetime of serving the ANC? Will the ANC high command really allow something like that to occur? And will those that are now doing the tough talk and breaking away come up with policies that differ enough from the ANC’s to become a real political power? After all, the split it seems to me is more about power than policy. And that’s hardly a sound reason for starting a new political party. Obviously only time will tell, but it does make for more interesting times ahead for South Africa.

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