John Campbell

Africa in Transition

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

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Showing posts for "Jacob Zuma"

ANC Leadership Contest Heating Up

by John Campbell
South Africa's Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa gestures at an election rally of the ruling African National Congress (ANC) in Port Elizabeth, South Africa April 16, 2016. (REUTERS/Mike Hutchings)

South African Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa all but announced his candidacy to succeed Jacob Zuma as the leader of the African National Congress (ANC) at a speech on April 23. The party’s election will take place at the 54th ANC National Conference in December. Ramaphosa’s speech, at an event sponsored by the South African Communist Party (SACP) in the Eastern Cape, was his first since Zuma sacked well-regarded Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan (which resulted in multiple international credit rating agencies downgrading South African credit to junk status). Prevalent themes of Ramaphosa’s speech included: the need to address the “rot” within the party, the need to “root-out corruption,” and concern over outsiders unduly influencing government policy. All of these points were thinly veiled attacks on incumbent President Jacob Zuma. Read more »

Podcast: Politics in Jacob Zuma’s South Africa

by John Campbell
South Africa's Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan speaks to President Jacob Zuma (R) during closing remarks during the 5th BRICS Summit in Durban, March 27, 2013. (Reuters/Rogan Ward)

In this episode of Africa in Transition, John Campbell and Allen Grane catch up with Simon Freemantle, senior political economist at Standard Bank Research. Recorded days before President Jacob Zuma’s removal of Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan, the podcast addresses the complex factors at play in South African politics. Read more »

No Confidence Vote Postponed in South Africa

by John Campbell
President Jacob Zuma looks on as members of Julius Malema's Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) party raise objections during Zuma's question and answer session in Parliament in Cape Town, South Africa, September 13, 2016. (Reuters/Mike Hutchings)

Speaker of the South African National Assembly Baleka Mbete has postponed the date for a vote of no confidence in the government of Jacob Zuma from April 18 to early May. The delay was caused by the request to the Constitutional Court from the United Democratic Movement (UDM) that the vote be by secret ballot. The court has agreed to review the case, but has not yet made a decision. The speaker, who agreed to wait on the courts decision, is a political ally of President Jacob Zuma and is the national chairperson of his African National Congress (ANC). Read more »

South African Demonstrations Unlikely to Move the ANC and Zuma

by John Campbell
Demonstrators carry banners as they take part in a protest calling for the removal of South Africa's President Jacob Zuma in Johannesburg, South Africa, April 7, 2017. (Reuters/Mike Hutchings)

Over the Palm Sunday weekend, there were large demonstrations in South Africa’s urban centers against President Jacob Zuma and the African National Congress (ANC) in the aftermath of last week’s cabinet reshuffle. The largest demonstrations took place in Cape Town and Pretoria, where, according to the media, demonstrators numbered in the tens of thousands. Elsewhere, demonstrations were much smaller. The demonstrations received extensive media coverage internationally and in the United States, however, they will certainly have no impact on Zuma’s position or the ANC in the short term. For his part, Zuma accused the protestors of being racist. Read more »

The Morning After in South Africa

by John Campbell
Demonstrators protest against South African President Jacob Zuma's firing of Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan, outside Parliament in Cape Town, South Africa, March 31, 2017. (Reuters/Mike Hutchings)

For now, Jacob Zuma has succeeded in defeating his rivals for the leadership of the African National Congress (ANC) and an upcoming parliamentary vote of no-confidence will likely fail. The intra-party show-down has followed on the heels of his dramatic cabinet reshuffle. Zuma carried out this reshuffle without consultation within the ANC or with its partners in government, the South African Communist Party (SACP) and the Congress of South African Trade Unions (COSATU). Read more »

Uncertainties Mount Whether Zuma’s Presidency Will Survive

by John Campbell
South Africa's President Jacob Zuma reacts during the launch of a social housing project in Pietermaritzburg, South Africa, April 1, 2017. (Reuters/Rogan Ward/File photo)

Voices calling for President Jacob Zuma to resign or to be removed from office are getting louder in the wake of his cabinet reshuffle and removal of Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan. Within his African National Congress (ANC) the Integrity Commission – intended as an internal corruption watchdog but often toothless – has announced that at an April 9 meeting with the president, it will ask him to resign. Powerful ANC figures including Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa and Treasurer General Zweli Mkhize have disassociated themselves from the reshuffle, though they have not publicly called for Zuma to go. The Mandela Foundation and the Kathrada Foundation, keepers of the liberation movement flame, have done so, as has former President Kgalema Motlanthe. Read more »

Jacob Zuma’s Cabinet Reshuffle Bad News for South Africa

by John Campbell
Demonstrators protest against South African President Jacob Zuma's firing of Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan, outside Parliament in Cape Town, South Africa, March 31, 2017. (Reuters/Mike Hutchings)

As part of a wide-ranging cabinet reshuffle, President Jacob Zuma has fired highly respected Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan and his deputy, Mcebisi Jonas, along with other long-time stalwarts of the ruling African National Congress (ANC). Gordhan and Jonas had long opposed pet projects of the president, and Gordhan has become the symbol of reform and good governance even as the reputation of the governing ANC under Zuma’s leadership has declined into a miasma of charges of corruption and “state capture” by the president’s cronies. Many South Africans (including those within the ANC) will see Gordhan’s departure as a major setback for “reform” and the struggle against corruption. International investors already are not happy. The Rand fell dramatically yet again against the U.S. dollar. There is now a greater likelihood that the international credit rating agencies will downgrade South Africa’s sovereign debt to junk status. Read more »

An Independent Judiciary and the Rule of Law in Africa

by John Campbell
Kenya's President Uhuru Kenyatta (C) is escorted upon arrival for a special Parliamentary session at Parliament Building in the capital Nairobi, October 6, 2014. (Reuters/PSCU)

Geoff Hill writes in a credible Daily Maverick (South Africa) op-ed that people across Africa want the rule of law, and they are demanding it more and more, often from their local judiciaries. But Africans at the same time remain critical, for good reason, of the behavior of judges. Read more »

South African High Court Blocks Pretoria’s Departure from the ICC

by John Campbell
Judge Willem van der Merwe delivers his verdict in the rape trial of sacked former South African Deputy President Jacob Zuma in the Johannesburg, High Court May 8, 2006. (Reuters/John Hrusa/Pool)

Nelson Mandela’s South Africa was one of the founders of the International Criminal Court (ICC). As an early signer of the Treaty of Rome the widespread view within the ruling African National Congress (ANC) was that the ICC was a means of holding accountable dictators and other heads of state for criminal behavior. The ANC government even incorporated the Treaty of Rome into South African law. Hence, violation of the Treaty of Rome is also a violation of South African law. Read more »

South Africa, Refugees, and Populism

by John Campbell
Foreign men from Malawi queue to board buses from a camp for those affected by anti-immigrant violence in Chatsworth north of Durban, April 18, 2015. (Reuters/Rogan Ward)

Rosettenville, a suburb of Johannesburg, was the site of the February 11-12 burning of buildings alleged to have been used by “prostitutes and drug dealers.” These “prostitutes and drug dealers” have been  popularly identified as “Nigerians.” In the aftermath of the fires, the mayor of Johannesburg, Herman Mashaba, bitterly criticized the South African government for failing to secure South Africa’s borders. (Mashaba is a prominent leader of the Democratic Alliance, the official opposition to the African National Congress government of Jacob Zuma.) Read more »