Where did Cope lose its way?

Why did the Congress of the People fare so badly? This was the central question which emerged from South Africa’s fourth democratic election.

While the breakaway party should have done much better, considering the excitement it generated after its formation, it still managed to become the official opposition in a handful of provinces.

The party, formed when the ANC split earlier this year, squandered their momentum. It was also riven with internal leadership squabbles, which did nothing for its cause.

It also appeared to have run out of money, and apart from some large advertisements wrapped around buildings, they were not visible enough.

Then again, no party was going to be able to compete with the ruling party, who seemed to throw everything into preparations for this poll.

Cope’s appearance however did galvanise the country and certainly contributed to the number of voters who said they were undecided ahead of the polls. In the event, many of those seemed to have voted for the ruling party in the privacy of the polling booth.

We, the people
You came, you waited, you chose. You braved cold weather and long queues to make your mark in this most important act of citizenship.
Jesse Duarte
The ANC spokesperson lost her cool this week while speaking to the BBC. It’s been a long campaign, but her outburst does the party and the country no favours.

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April 15 to 23 2009

1. What the ANC’s victory means
The ANC is poised to win a convincing majority in national polls on Wednesday on the back of an effective electoral machinery and a resurgence in the populous province of KwaZulu-Natal.

2. ANC on way to clinch two-thirds majority
The African National Congress (ANC) has slightly increased its lead over opposition parties in the national election and currently stands on 63,2% with three million votes counted.

3. Kenya Muslims fume at move to convert Obama grandma
A Protestant church in Kenya is trying to convert United States President Barack Obama’s step-grandmother to Christianity against her will, a Muslim group said on Monday, condemning the move as provocation.

4. Election results show ANC in early lead
With more than 300 000 votes counted in this year’s general election, the 60% mark continued to elude the ruling African National Congress (ANC).

5. Mandela steals Zuma’s coronation
Nelson Mandela on Sunday proved he is still the giant of African politics when he made a surprise appearance at the African National Congress’s final campaign rally before Wednesday’s elections.

6. IEC polling stations close despite ANC push for extension
The Democratic Alliance (DA) took an early lead in this year’s general election with the publication of the first results just before 11pm on Wednesday at the national results centre in Pretoria.

7. Guardian to pay Zuma ‘modest sum’ over ‘subbing error’
The Guardian was negotiating a settlement with ANC president Jacob Zuma’s lawyers over a comment it says it published by mistake, a spokesperson said on Monday.

8. Trengove: Zuma decision ‘tipping point’
The National Prosecuting Authority’s (NPA) decision to drop charges against African National Congress (ANC) president Jacob Zuma was a tipping point that could lead to the erosion of the rule of law, a senior advocate has warned.

9. A majority is good enough
Many ANC activists argue for a 67% or 70% majority in the 2009 general election. Most of my comrades who argue for this overwhelming majority say that it is necessary to ensure that social transformation is completed. Under present circumstances this argument is legally, socially and morally flawed and untenable.

10. Where are human rights in Zuma’s plan?
Nelson Mandela’s clear vision for South Africa has grown cloudy, as Jacob Zuma shifts the focus away from human rights.

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