THE POLITICAL MIRROR: Kamurinde on the fading Democracy in South Africa

John Kamurinde is the author of the slavery in modern education (PHOTO /Courtesy)

“……As an African I do not have the luxury not to comment about the on going events in South Africa”

Following the arrest of President Jacob Zuma on 7th July 2021, riots have been the order of the day in the rainbow nation. Some 200 malls and shopping centers country wide have been affected by the violence and forced to close.

At least 72 people have died in six consecutive days of violent clashes with police and protesters and in stampede by looting mobs. More than 1200 people have been arrested See: Aljazeera 14th July 2021
Since then, scholars have come out to analyze the events in South Africa and I will quote some of them hereunder:

-What is going on is sedition. It is a direct attack on the authority of the state. It is fueled by the powerful people within ANC who are about to be sidelined. See: Commentaries of Mary de Itaa, a violence researcher at the University of KwaZulu-Natal’s Law School. “They are using the language of incitement to get people to loot business” she said.

“We are facing the consequence of 15 years of decline in state capacity, efficacy and efficiency” said Claude Baissac. The head of Euno Mix Business and Economics Ltd. A think tank that advises on political risk “this is tinder social explosion”. See: Bloomberg 13th July, 2021 by Antony Squazzin.

Having given the above background, I will proceed to give my honest opinion on the on going social-political language in South Africa today. To begin with I must say that what is happening in south Africa are signs of the fading democracy. The fading attraction of democracy to the 2nd generation.

Democracy is the government of the people, by the people and for the people. This phrase was pronounced by President Abraham Lincoln in his 1863 Gettysburg Address.

However, we must note that democracy has got origins in the desire of humanity for good governance and better welfare, the social contract between the people and the state. Thus, thus democracy is supported by progress. Democracy cannot move in isolation.

My analysis on the happenings in south Africa is premised on the following:

1. The ongoing primitive capitalism.
I will agree with other political analysts who have submitted that the arrest of Zuma has been used by the disgruntled in society to illuminate the economic and social rot in south Africa. The ongoing looting should be studied in its development. A political protest has slowly transformed into a leaderless economic revolution.

The hypocrisy of the political and economic class in south Africa behind the veil of democracy are the authors of the unfolding economic protest. The rising cynicism in democracy. One of the rising threats to democracy is rigid capitalism. The capitalism that has lost a human trajectory.

It seems that the markets hijacked democracy, the markets dictate the course of democracy to day and the population is continuously betrayed by this noble principle. Of course, any reasonable man should not underestimate the relationship between democracy and the markets as the relationship between the two is reciprocal.

However, the dilemma here is that the markets have failed to reflect the interests of the masses and this is what has created the tension between democracy and the people. When majority of the people are poor, when the wealth gap between the rich and the poor sky rockets. Democracy slowly looses relevancy; it is dissected by class ideologies thus it becomes vulnerable.

2. Leadership

The major crisis in the world to day is failure of leadership. This has been created by a lot of factors such as;

-social economics among others.

The mistake modern politicians think is that leadership means becoming a slave of the people. Let’s face it, leadership must be a journey to self-liberation and society.

If leadership does not venture in self-liberation of both the leader and the led then it becomes the 2nd phase of mental and human slavery. I can’t lead the people and then become a slave to them…the tension we see in political economies today is caused by failure to draw a lining between democracy and leadership. Where democracy loses a sense of leadership, then it becomes dictatorship democracy. A democracy must liberate the leader; it must not enslave the leader. A democracy must reflect principles of reasonableness and natural justice.

Violence in South Africa

More than 45 people were killed as crowds clashed with police and ransacked, burned shopping malls in South Africa on Tuesday as grievances unleashed by the jailing of former president Jacob Zuma boiled over into the worst violence in years (PHOTO /Montage)

This bottle neck in democracy is what has facilitated the growth of populism. Leaders have become hostages of mass lumpens and the markets. People fear to face their population and guide them on principle because they fear to lose their political lining and relevancy. Thus, this is what differentiates Nelson Mandela from modern leaders, a leader must stand firm on principle he/she must be that one able to tell people that they are taking a wrong direction because at times people can become slaves of situations. A democracy must define what is dictatorship. We have seen leaders stumble in the face of inherent human principles and the masses, we have seen others stumble in the face of market and human principles.

Markets must have a line to stop…where markets cease to protect people then they become torture chambers. The continuous displacement of human principles by the markets is what has made some to replace man with the robots in the work force. Man is slowly losing grip on the markets as markets entrench their grip on man.

This is not to say that man should not welcome advancement however man should not be lost in advancement. Other wise we are headed to self-destruction. Thus, the problem in south Africa is that both leaders at different fronts are captives. Some are locked in protecting markets as majority of the people languish in hunger and others have become slaves of their own people, they can’t guide them.

It follows that all these have roots in the economic reality in south Africa and the on going miseducation in the world. Thus, to solve this we have to address the economic reality in south Africa and re-define what is leadership.

Leadership is not synonymous with power. In leadership the ultimate is liberation of the self and the masses. The liberation must stretch beyond the political and economic realm. The liberation in leadership must penetrate the interior of man to address questions of ultimate meaning and originality.

It must go beyond the power terrain otherwise the liberator becomes a slave of power. This explains why people fight for power, the world missed a point on elementary education in leadership.

A baby was thrown to safety from a building looters had set on fire (PHOTO /Screengrab)

It’s all rooted in miseducation. For example the fighting in ANC is not rooted on principle but struggle for power. It’s a myopic adventure, for example what power are they fighting for when principles of rule of law are being undermined?

What power are they fighting for when their cause is authored by tribalism? What power are they fighting for when the majority of their people are languishing in poverty? What power are they fighting for when principles of accountability and transparency are being undermined?
In conclusion, the problem in south Africa is beyond the arrest of Jacob Zuma.

It has exposed the long-term silence on economic in equality, it has exposed the weaknesses of democracy. That a democracy that does not put food on the table is lacking, it has taught us that there is another pertinent issue that south Africa must address and that is the raking poverty in the country

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