The ANC race for high office is long in the making; contenders are criss-crossing the SA plateau to make their respective cases as trusted to lead. I like all others have long nailed my colours to the mast on which I endorsed
for the 13th Presidency of the ANC. That candidate is Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma. Let me then in the beginning re-emphasize, most who reject her candidacy do so less for who she is, what she stands for, or in consideration for her personal in organisation, country and continent roles.
NDZ is conveniently unique human agency.
§ These all rush for who she married and later divorced. It has become too easy for some to engage in this lazy analysis of she is another Zuma. These have made this campaign about surnames in totality of claims of what defines a contender. Her fellow contenders have equally drank from that stream, when they refuse to afford her agency,
in attacking her ex-husband they hope to derail her campaign.
§ The silly arguments advanced are too many, one of such is if she becomes President she will give President Zuma a free pass. There is this sophism of conclusion that a Deputy President Ramaphosa presidency naturally will mean a-go-to-jail sentence for the incumbent. The illogic of this argument assumes that presidents orchestrate prosecutions and charge sheets that will harvest a guilty verdict and findings.
§ This idea is prognosticated in our daily discourse, some contenders are even campaigning on this sophism of absorption and usurping of this as their core arsenal for engaging her in proxy war of dirt.
§ She is therefore conveniently denied her own human agency, in which her undeniable record of selfless serving and corruption free claims stands as a disciplined and loyal ANC member and leader.
§ Therefore we must deduce those (segment of the public and contenders) who in herd mentality adopt this convenient stance on her campaign do so as bordering on a sexist stance.
What makes NDZ the lead contender?
§ NDZ’s campaign easily stands as the only campaign so far that is centred on real ANC policy. The ANC has adopted radical economic transformation as its flagship policy pursuit for which it seeks to realign the current.
§ Dlamini-Zuma does not just echo or re-echo this she has taken time to give it practical content, with her fundamental belief that a skilled person can help themselves, hence the fundamental premise for her is to provide South Africans under her leadership opportunities for being skilled, re-skilled and other skilled, therefore empowered to create their own economic participation opportunities.
§ She has correctly and meaningfully identified the youth and women as her primary constituencies for a plethora of sustainable reasons, one of such is the fact that the youth unemployment at a high 60% is exacerbated due to the fact that thus far very little has been done to hear and accommodate the youth.
What does not work in her campaign?
§ Dlamini–Zuma has no traditional and sexy media supporting her campaign. Those slots have been allocated to Ramaphosa we saw this with Media 24 and its Sunday Times literally acting as the public relations company when the unfortunate news concerning his alleged indiscretions broke.
§ Every campaign needs a media footprint, in South Africa with its public choice preferences media remains largely bias to what can be termed as white interest. White interest has remained predominant. NDZ is on record to have referred to the existence of the construct of white monopoly capital immanent in pale male dominance of the SA
Media therefore will not take kind to candidates that define the challenge of economic disparity in frames of racial frame. We heard how Bell Pottinger is today conveniently accused for being the inventor of this construct as per Ramaphosa (who today claims that) has fuelled racial hatred among South Africans.
§ NDZ’s super-consciousness not to be remotely associated with ANN7 or New Age Media can be respected and understood. Yet ANN7 and The New Age have thus far given her the best coverage, they show up at her events and relay her message. It is here that I wish to advance she warrants reconsidering her conscious averseness to her only true. media friend.
In politics you must consider your constituency, at this stage, NDZ’s constituency are not essentially the chattering class middle class, because for many of them she is not their choice.
§ Her current fuzzy unclear infrastructure for the campaign lends itself to be seen as haphazard and less structured. She warrants to let her administrative experience and giftedness define the team and infrastructure for her campaign.
What is Dlamini- Zuma’s message?
§ An analysis of her core message leads us to see she at all times keep the ANC as central.
§ The ANC as organisation, this message here adopts unity yet that unity is characterized by ANC cadre discipline, which extends to both leadership and membership at all, levels. Her plea is for ANC members to appreciate the importance of a disciplined cadre, as a non-negotiable.
§ Her SA message ensembles a call to focus on working to provide skills and opportunities for the true poor immanent in those who are unemployed and unskilled. It is clear this for her is a flagship focus and perhaps that which will define her leadership both at ANC and SA leadership levels.
§ Her message to business a key stakeholder is let us engage, she essentially believes nothing will happen until the varied sectors of society agree to engage in honesty and trust of one another. She is therefore not hostile to business or any sector but has a track record to encourage engaging to hear one another and thus to let the real
How is she experienced?
§ This question naturally is answered by who listens to her or from what group of our society divide one may come from. Dlamini–Zuma for some is not heard because they have already determined not to hear her less for what she has to say or stands for or advocates.
§ She is by all accounts experienced as guarded, conservative in some ways traditional in her approach.
§ Dlamini Zuma, is given to detail, and tends to be extensive in here interviews; an analysis of her current speeches, interviews, and their respective audiences confirms this claim. At for example the GIBS presentation she spend time on the economic realities and challenges for change. Her key strength is how the gives practical consideration to implement radical economic transformation.
§ At her Lusaka Nyanga community address in the Dullah Omar region, she came to the ground and stressed the focus to be the educating and empowerment of women and youth as epicentre.
§ At an organisational level, Dlamini – Zuma at all times pleads for unity and disciplined cadres.
§ She is not easily intimidated or bullied and knows how to respond to questions, she will not be deceived into crafted questions that seeks to draw her into unnecessary statements.
§ She remains issue centred and focussed therefore seldom loose focus; this is a major plus for her. Dlamini-Zuma does not rely on her female looks but the substance of what she has to offer. She easily is called Mama, because she exudes that caring and mothering ambience, perhaps for the chattering class not what they want, but for the majority of South Africans that really determines who leads SA a key aspect.
§ She does not look awkward among the poor, not out of touch among those for whom radical economic transformation is not just a mere slogan but also the only hope for a future. She therefore identifies with the average South African mother in all aspects and does not appear like a Lady Diana among the crowds.
§ Dlamini- Zuma is not highly charismatic, but is comfortable in her own space to engage one and one in an intellectual discourse. Her non- charisma is not too huge a drawback among a list of fellow contenders and pretenders where charisma is scarce. Her lack of charisma is made up in her passion for her cornerstone subject.
What she must consider?
§ Dlamini- Zuma’s campaign warrants proper structure and infrastructure and warm bodies. On the latter her human capital for a successful campaign warrants beefing up particularly since her contenders have well-oiled and sleek operations of immanent in campaign managers and designated personnel. Unfortunately the absence of a core focus,
and skilled team is not a luxury but a necessity if one is serious to summit the ANC Kilimanjaro. She warrants making known her core team and these must be visible in the nine provinces.
§ The NDZ campaign from where I stand needs resource at many fronts, from an outsider’s perspective, it seems not to be a moneyed campaign. This is a plus and a minus. The positive side of this attests who she has consistently been, one not with a money interest. The drawback is she needs resources to structure her campaign in full footprint.
§ Her campaign appears essentially driven and guarded by the ANCWL, a plus and negative. Whilst we may appreciate the need on the League’s part to guard her, space around her must be created to bring in core skills that will deliver her successful campaign.
§ Her campaign unfortunately has to take cognisance of the harsh reality of our appropriated racial context, meaning whilst the ANC is essentially supported in election sense by what the National Question defines as ‘African’ she is not just campaigning for December 2017 but is really campaigning for 2019.
This reality should assist her develop and defining core messaging for the appropriated unfortunate race groups (Coloured, Indians whites) and those who self define a Khoisan. Her campaign like most of her contenders seems not to care about this reality. She has to be seen to inculcate the full gambit of the South African identity paradigm.
§ She is not particularly focussing on the Tripartite Alliance, who has pronounced if COSATU and SACP statements stand on their preferred candidate. Yet that should not detract her from clawing back support from this conflated reality which often appears more to be a the leaderships of the alliance partners. She needs to find a away to engage the members of the alliance and make in-roads where RET is concerned.
§ She will need to find ways to be seen to open up more to people she may not trust to make her campaign work for both 2017 and 2019. This may also be extended to her presence in the technology and social media spaces.
§ I had hoped that she would challenge her contenders to an open debate on RET policy. These have made state capture their core themes, she has an advantage over them but is not yet making it count because she is not taking it into their spaces, to solicit honest debate.
§ Dlamini Zuma, like most politicians warrants navigating the reality of sticking to a script presentation and finding a balance between reading her audience. It is the refined and gifted communicator that easily makes that switch in and out of their scripts. At her GIBS address she was accused by some in the media for not having stuck to her published address in word and letter, yet what cannot be said is that she failed to address the subject of making plain her core theme of RET.
§ She will have to give due consideration to attempt to synchronise her heart and mind message with her published scripts. Given our dynamic SA political constituencies it is never easy, but she has not been falling far behind.
§ Perhaps she needs to find her own rhythm to capture at specific audiences the logical sequence of her message to resonate with the audience.
§ Her trademark traditional kop-doek, is a plus among the ordinary, yet a draw back among the middle class and those in the urban setting who considers that their history. It will help if she varies that to show she is also considering her audiences as assisting her to communicate with her. Perhaps she must at times let the doek go for the audience she seeks to convince.
§ Dlamini – Zuma warrants penning and sharing her epistemology on some of her ideological and philosophical grasps on the interconnectedness of a South Africa, Africa, and the Global political and economic diaphragms. We know her many official speeches and addresses as AU leader and before that Minister of Foreign Affairs is known, yet it will not harm to target some publications with the fundamental aim to let that key strength count.
In the end I still hold Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma is the best candidate to become the 13th ANC President. She embodies the unity, discipline, and core policy focus of the ANC and runs a principled and clean campaign exactly what is needed as the ANC seeks to rebuild itself in unity from a factional reality.
Unlike some of her key contenders she engages the issues of the day, she is all about policy, programme and action to make RET a reality. She has a fulcrum understanding of where we find ourselves both in ANC and SA intertwined realities.
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