John Campbell

Africa in Transition

Campbell tracks political and security developments across sub-Saharan Africa.

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Showing posts for "ANC"

The Likelihood of Instability in Zimbabwe

by Guest Blogger for John Campbell
Zimbabwe's President Robert Mugabe gestures as he arrives to address Zimbabwe's Independence Day celebrations in Harare, April 18, 2016.(Reuters/Philimon Bulawayo) Zimbabwe's President Robert Mugabe gestures as he arrives to address Zimbabwe's Independence Day celebrations in Harare, April 18, 2016.(Reuters/Philimon Bulawayo)

Tyler Falish is an intern for the Council on Foreign Relations Africa Studies program, and a student in Fordham University’s Graduate Program in International Political Economy & Development.

Last spring, the Council on Foreign Relations published a Contingency Planning Memorandum (CPM) by Ambassador George F. Ward that described the potential for political instability and violence in Zimbabwe. Amb. Ward detailed three paths to instability in Zimbabwe: President Robert Mugabe’s death before an appointed successor is installed; a serious challenge to Mugabe’s control driven by increased factionalism; and an economic crisis triggering demand for political change. He also offered three corresponding “warning indicators”: any sign that Mugabe’s health is in decline; indication of increased dissent or infighting within the ruling party, Zimbabwe African National Union – Patriotic Front (ZANU-PF); and public unrest. Read more »

Fissures Within South Africa’s Governing Party

by John Campbell
Supporters of the African National Congress (ANC) wave a party flag during the party's 104th anniversary celebrations in Rustenburg, South Africa, January 9, 2016. (Reuters/Siphiwe Sibeko) Supporters of the African National Congress (ANC) wave a party flag during the party's 104th anniversary celebrations in Rustenburg, South Africa, January 9, 2016. (Reuters/Siphiwe Sibeko)

South Africa’s governing African National Congress (ANC) has long been a big tent, with its membership united by opposition to apartheid and, less salient, support for “nonracial” democracy. Conventional wisdom has seen the ANC membership, policy, and electoral support as revolving around four poles or tendencies:  the “democrats,” devoted to Nelson Mandela’s vision of nonracial democracy and the protection of human rights; the South African Communist Party (SACP), in many ways a Marxist party of a generation ago in Western Europe, but also devoted to a nonracial state; the Congress of South African Trade Unions (COSATU), which promotes the interests of the country’s “labor aristocracy” rather than the unskilled unemployed; and the “Africanists,”  those who want a redistribution of wealth from whites to blacks and an assertion of black identity that recalls the Black Power movement in the United States. (Many of them would drop the nonracial modifiers of democracy.) Depending on the issue, support varies for each of these “tendencies,” and there is substantial overlap. In any event, however sliced and diced, the ANC is likely to remain intact to contest the August provincial and local government elections. Read more »

One More Sign that South Africa’s Zuma is in Trouble with his Party

by John Campbell
South Africa's Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa and President Jacob Zuma stand during the playing of the national anthem at the opening of Parliament in Cape Town, February 11, 2016. (Reuters/Mike Hutchings) South Africa's Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa and President Jacob Zuma stand during the playing of the national anthem at the opening of Parliament in Cape Town, February 11, 2016. (Reuters/Mike Hutchings)

In the aftermath of the Constitutional Court’s unanimous ruling that President Zuma and the National Assembly failed to uphold the Constitution over Nkandla, there are signs that the grassroots of the governing African National Congress (ANC) is losing patience. (Nkandla is Zuma’s private estate on which the public protector ruled public money was improperly spent; the presidency and the National Assembly stonewalled the public protector, actions which the Constitutional Court ruled unanimously violated the Constitution.) The ANC used its huge parliamentary majority to block an April 5 effort to impeach Zuma, but prominent ANC leaders are saying that Zuma must go. Read more »

South Africa’s National Assembly Debates Impeachment of Zuma

by John Campbell
South Africa's opposition Democratic Alliance (DA) leader Mmusi Maimane listens in Parliament in Cape Town during a motion to impeach President Jacob Zuma after the constitutional court ruled that he breached the constitution, April 5, 2016. (Reuters/Mike Hutchings) South Africa's opposition Democratic Alliance (DA) leader Mmusi Maimane listens in Parliament in Cape Town during a motion to impeach President Jacob Zuma after the constitutional court ruled that he breached the constitution, April 5, 2016. (Reuters/Mike Hutchings)

Last week, the Constitutional Court ruled that President Jacob Zuma and the National Assembly had violated the constitution with respect to the use of public money on the president’s Nkandla private estate and their collective failure to implement the ruling of the public protector. In the wake of that decision, Mmusi Maimane, leader of the opposition Democratic Alliance (DA), tabled a motion on the National Assembly to impeach the president. National Assembly Speaker Baleka Mbete scheduled debate on the impeachment motion for today, April 5. Conventional wisdom that the ANC’s overwhelming majority in the National Assembly would protect Zuma from impeachment proved correct, and the motion was defeated. Read more »

The Constitution and Rule of Law Reaffirmed in South Africa

by John Campbell
Mosiuoa Lekota (C) of the opposition party, Congress of the People (COPE) celebrates with Kevin Malunga deputy public protector after South Africa's constitutional court ordered President Jacob Zuma to pay back some of the $16 million of state money spent upgrading his private home in Johannesburg, March 31, 2016. (Reuters/Felix Dlangamandla/Pool) Mosiuoa Lekota (C) of the opposition party, Congress of the People (COPE) celebrates with Kevin Malunga deputy public protector after South Africa's constitutional court ordered President Jacob Zuma to pay back some of the $16 million of state money spent upgrading his private home in Johannesburg, March 31, 2016. (Reuters/Felix Dlangamandla/Pool)

On March 31, the eleven justices of South Africa’s highest judicial body, the Constitutional Court, ruled unanimously that President Jacob Zuma and the National Assembly had violated the Constitution. The president, the court ruled, had improperly spent public money on his private estate, Nkandla. The National Assembly had improperly defended the president by refusing to implement the ruling of the public protector, a constitutionally mandated official, when she concluded that the expenditure had been improper. Read more »

South Africa’s ANC Ups the Heat on President Zuma

by John Campbell
South Africa's President and African National Congress (ANC) party president Jacob Zuma, flanked by National Assembly Speaker Baleka Mbete, Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa, ANC Treasury General Zweli Mkhize, reacts ahead of the party's National Executive Committee (NEC) three-day meeting in Pretoria, South Africa March 18, 2016. (Reuters/Siphiwe Sibeko) South Africa's President and African National Congress (ANC) party president Jacob Zuma, flanked by National Assembly Speaker Baleka Mbete, Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa, ANC Treasury General Zweli Mkhize, reacts ahead of the party's National Executive Committee (NEC) three-day meeting in Pretoria, South Africa March 18, 2016. (Reuters/Siphiwe Sibeko)

The National Executive Committee (NEC) of South Africa’s governing African National Congress (ANC) met March 19-20. Among issues discussed was President Jacob Zuma’s relationship with the wealthy Gupta family, which critics accuse of “state capture,” that is, exercising undue influence over presidential, high level appointments and government contracts for their own benefit. For many in South Africa, the relationship between President Zuma and the Gupta family has become the face of corruption. Concern about corruption is a major political issue in the run up to local and municipal elections that will take place between May 18 and August 16. Indeed, according to South African media, the NEC also discussed the upcoming elections in Johannesburg and Pretoria, where the ANC faces stiff competition from the opposition Democratic Alliance (DA), which has also called for Zuma’s resignation over corruption. Read more »

South Africa’s President Zuma in Trouble with His Party

by John Campbell
President Jacob Zuma answers questions at Parliament in Cape Town, March 17, 2016. (Reuters/Mike Hutchings) President Jacob Zuma answers questions at Parliament in Cape Town, March 17, 2016. (Reuters/Mike Hutchings)

South Africa’s President Jacob Zuma has often been accused of corruption. But, until recently his hold on the governing African National Congress (ANC), with its huge parliamentary majority, has ensured that he could weather political storms. However, his recent missteps have eroded his support within the party. There is speculation that the party could remove him as party leader which would likely result in his resigning the presidency. While such speculation is premature, he is certainly politically damaged. The greatest threat to Zuma’s political future is now from within his own political party, rather than from the opposition. Read more »

South Africa’s Trade Union Federation to Split

by John Campbell
Suspended general secretary of the Congress of South African Trade Unions (COSATU) Zwelinzima Vavi (C) protests with members of the National Union of Metal Workers of South Africa (NUMSA) as they march through Durban, March 19, 2014. (Reuters/Rogan Ward) Suspended general secretary of the Congress of South African Trade Unions (COSATU) Zwelinzima Vavi (C) protests with members of the National Union of Metal Workers of South Africa (NUMSA) as they march through Durban, March 19, 2014. (Reuters/Rogan Ward)

The Congress of South African Trade Unions (COSATU), a federation of labor unions, played a crucial role in the struggle against apartheid. It provided much of the personnel that mobilized voters for the African National Congress (ANC) from the country‘s first “all-race” elections in 1994 up to now. COSATU, the South African Communist Party (SACP), and the ANC form the coalition that governs the country. COSATU and SACP contest elections as part of the ANC. Read more »

South Africa’s Three Capitals

by John Campbell
A general view of the Union Buildings in Pretoria, November 24, 2009. (Reuters/Siphiwe Sibeko) A general view of the Union Buildings in Pretoria, November 24, 2009. (Reuters/Siphiwe Sibeko)

Resulting from negotiations between the British Empire and the defeated Boer republics that ended the second Anglo-Boer war and created the Union of South Africa were three capitals. Parliament meets in Cape Town, the former capital of the British Cape Province. The administration was based in Pretoria, the capital of the Boer republic of Transvaal, and the judiciary was based in Bloemfontein, the capital of the other Boer republic–the Orange Free State. Read more »

South Africa’s Ruling Party and the South African Government

by John Campbell
A man walks near posters of former African National Congress (ANC) presidents including former South African President Nelson Mandela (R middle row) at the entrance of Luthuli house, the ANC headquarters in Johannesburg, July 2, 2013. (Reuters/Siphiwe Sibeko) A man walks near posters of former African National Congress (ANC) presidents including former South African President Nelson Mandela (R middle row) at the entrance of Luthuli house, the ANC headquarters in Johannesburg, July 2, 2013. (Reuters/Siphiwe Sibeko)

The African National Congress (ANC) is a big tent. Politically, under that tent is the Congress of South African trade Unions (COSATU) and the South African Communist Party (SACP). Both run candidates for office as ANC, not under their own label. The Secretary General of the ANC, Gwede Mantashe, is also a former chairperson of the SACP. Read more »