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06 May 2009 15:03
The election of Jacob Zuma as president of the country was challenged on Wednesday by the nomination of the presidential candidate of the Congress of the People (Cope), Mvume Dandala, by his party.
After Zuma was nominated and seconded, Chief Justice Pius Langa, who was presiding over the proceedings in the National Assembly, asked if there were further nominations.
To general astonishment the tall, slightly threatening figure of Mbhazima Shilowa, the first deputy president of Cope, rose to make what was in effect his maiden speech in the house.
He said, to boos and hisses that echoed all round the African National Congress (ANC) benches, that his party considered that a president should support the rule of law, the principle of equality before the law, should defend democracy and “deal effectively with corruption”.
He was therefore nominating Dandala. Lynda Odendaal, second deputy president of Cope, then also rose to make her maiden speech, and seconded the proposal.
Before the names of MPs were called to vote in a secret ballot for their choice, the chief whip of the Democratic Alliance, Ian Davidson, got to his feet to announce that his party would abstain.
This too was cheered by the government benches, who occupied themselves while the voting booths were erected by singing struggle-songs including Umshini Wami, Zuma’s own signature “Bring me my machine gun”.
Proposing the name of Zuma earlier, fell to Winnie Madikizela-Mandela who told the house that she was nominating “a fellow South African of whom in the historical and contemporary conflicts between the worst and best of what humanity has to offer, has distinguished himself as a capable leader of our people’s determination to prevail over whatever obstacles that there may be”.
She asked “What’s in a name? That which we call a rose, by any other name would smell as sweet, and our people have democratically concurred.”
She was cheered for that.
She then said she was nominating Zuma for the vacancy of president (though of course there is no such vacancy) She described him as: “He who brings out the meat and the sour milk.” (Abaphuma bephethe inyama na masi)—I-Net Bridge
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