After a keenly contested election yesterday, Africa National Congress(ANC), the largest and leading political party In South Africa, announced Cyril Ramaphosa as the new leader of the party as well as possible Presidential hopeful in 2019. Is there any semblance between ANC and People Democratic Party (PDP) of Nigeria? There may be a lot as they both recently held their national elective conventions and many more. Unfortunately while one allowed the voice of reasons to prevail, the other might have dug its own grave.
It is important to state the writer is not a politician by calling. So this is not to drum support for any party.That said, a vital point to note point is the two parties involved here had been bedevilled with many crises. Each had been plagued with corruption allegations and internal rivalry. In an attempt to reposition the parties, each struggled to make room for an open election where the door was not closed for any contender. None of the parties had less than 5 contestants for the post of the party leader but eventually there were spotlights on two frontline candidates for each of them.
For ANC, it was a battle between deputy President, Cyril Ramaphosa and former South African Minister and Chairman of African Union, Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma. For PDP the race became a real fight between Prince Uche Secondus, and former minister, Prof Adeniran. In term of pedigree, Cyril Ramaphosa is a lawyer, unionist, turned businessman and in fact seen as one of the richest persons in South Africa. He is also a politician with relatively great record of integrity and who had been involved in South African freedom from inception.
Dlamini-Zuma on the other hand is an accomplished woman with good educational background and lots of experience in and out of politics. Only that she had a burden of support from her ex – husband and present President of South Africa, Jacob Zuma, who many see as an embodiment of corruption. For PDP, Prince Uche secondus is touted to be a businessman with heavy burden of alleged corruption-related offences while Prof Adeniran is an accomplished academic without strong political grassroot lineage.
On issues that shaped the emerged winners In both parties. Cyril Ramaphosa campaign hinged his agenda on returning normalcy to the party through fighting corruption and restoring South African economy. Ramaphosa’s victory was a product of hard fight and heavy work done by the grassroot instead of the usual Provincial powers determining who should emerge . Ramaphosa ‘ s campaign team was made up of people who had issues with present corruption – ridden regime(like fired finance minister Pravin Gordhan, former police commissioner Bheki Cele, Thabo Mbeki’s policy guru Joel Netshitenzhe, Jackson Mthembu, fired tourism minister Derek Hanekom etc) and who paid attention to the heart beats of average South African who will determine the future relevance of the party if the vote went the other way. They understood Dlamini-Zuma’s profile is great but her association with power that be will eventually spell doom for the party if elected. Dlamini-Zuma’s funders and tactics became one of her political costs and undoing. One of Dlamini-Zuma’s funders, Adriano Mazzotti a tobacco dealer with couple of alleged criminal offences and tax evasion rhetoric spelt doom for her.
South Africa Youth project, a youth movement, instead of allowing money and job promises to blindfold them, rigorously worked for Ramaphosa ‘ s success. While it must be said both ANC’S frontline candidates are choices of the people, Dlamini-Zuma had the women on her side while Ramaphosa became a better choice because of his long standing struggle for the people and his non association with corruption or corruptible elements. Yes, Ramaphosa ‘ s victory was not an easy route, as his victory prediction of 59% before the convention began nose-dived to 52% eventually but what was certain was the fact that majority of the ANC members/delegates were committed to reconstructing a fragile political system to a national rally point again.
Now let us compare the above scenario to Nigeria’s PDP. Was the profile, background and financial impropriety level of the winner considered? Is he the choice of the people at the grassroot or the choice of regional cabals and money bags? The votes of the youth and the members, were they bought? Did the party members and regional commanders, sponsors consider the overall implication the outcome will have on the image of the party? Did anyone look at the association of the winner’s funders in shaping the outcome?
Yes in the post election outcomes, both the PDP and ANC seemed to be polarised and a unity committee is needed, which of the committees will have hard time in bringing together the members? What about post election litigation? Which of the outcomes will make the necessary attempt to reunite and reform the parties’ easier? Which party’s elective convention outcome showed a shift in pattern of money – driven as well as regional commander’s favoured votes by the delegates?
Yes, in ANC unlike PDP,the party leader is the same and automatic party Presidential candidate but the signal sent is clear it will no longer be business as usual. ANC is working hard to right the wrong. Can we say the same for PDP? We do know die – hard members of PDP will say yes but we can only wait and see. Long live PDP, long live ANC. Though we are awaiting autopsy report of the miscalculations of one in the no long distance.