Eusebius McKaiser: An open letter to ANC MPs

"Do what is in the interest of the ANC, in the interest of society and most consistent with your accountability duty as outlined in the Constitution"

"Do what is in the interest of the ANC, in the interest of society and most consistent with your accountability duty as outlined in the Constitution"

Let me unkindly assume for a minute that you do not give a flying expletive about what is in the best interest of the country. Let me insult you further, for another minute, by also assuming you do not give a flying expletive about your constitutional duty to hold the head of government accountable. I will instead, for now, assume you care solely about reproducing the political hegemony of the ANC, motivated by blind party loyalty and, perhaps, a fear of losing your job if the ANC is dislodged from power.

If this applies to you, to the letter, how then should you vote in the motion of no confidence vote? Simple: You ought then to vote against President Jacob Zuma.
Why? If you don’t, and you show you support him even and especially with the safety of a secret ballot, then you are telling society that you do not care that this political predator is ripping the state and society to shreds, helped along by his friends in Saxonwold, his friends within the state, and even his friends within corporate South Africa who are willing to enter into corrupt relationships with him and his Saxonwold crew.

If you send this message to voters, the ANC will need a miracle to get anything more than 55% of the vote in 2019 and, unless you are favoured by the winning faction in December at the elective conference of the ANC, you will be without a job in Parliament, and without the alternative jobs inside the state or the possibility of a cushy ambassadorial posting. Simply put: not voting Zuma out is a good way to reduce the chances of the ANC staying in power, and therefore a good way of reducing your job security.

“I know that Eusebius but I fear interim chaos the morning after voting him out!” you might say. Don’t be silly. Zuma is so bad that the feared “interim chaos” is irrational. At this stage of the state capture project, even “interim acting president Mbete” is better for ensuring the ANC you are so addicted to loses as few votes as possible. You do not have the luxury of time on your side.

Every part of the state, from the finance ministry, to Sars, to social development, and the presidency itself, is being preyed on ferociously. If you think you will have a unified ANC in December after Cyril Ramaphosa possibly wins, with maybe someone like Lindiwe Sisulu as his deputy or someone else insisted on by the SACP, the (ironic) chief backers of Ramaphosa, and if you reason that Zuma could thereafter be recalled without any “chaos” politically or constitutionally, then you are an irresponsible gambler. Every day of the state capture project costs us all. Do you want to risk recalling Zuma in early 2018 when the state is so ravaged that you have near zero possibility of doing anything within a 12 to 15 month period before the 2019 general election is upon us?

The more rational risk to take is to cliff Zuma now, manage the interim period as best you can, fight hard to contain Zuma’s campaign for his friend Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma leading up to December, and get on immediately with showing voters you can yet be trusted to renew yourself.

Some voters will not buy this. For many, you are now beyond the pale. But every vote you can salvage, matters. You will save more votes if you get rid of Zuma now than if you only do so early next year. [I assume you are not imprudent enough to even think of the worst case scenario for yourself which is to retain him as president of the country until 2019. Do that and you can guarantee the next president will come from the DA or the EFF.]

So if you are utterly selfish, then you should vote Zuma out now.

Only two other issues are necessary to address. Because patriarchy is so strong – just ask eyewitnesses at Cubana in nothern Johannesburg when a deputy minister’s toxic masculinity resulted in criminality he cannot even properly take responsibility for – some of you are tempted to not vote Zuma out just because the motion is proposed by the opposition. The SACP in particular is obsessed with this origin of the motion.

Don’t be silly. I ask you this, “Which is more important: Getting rid of Zuma and saving the ANC from guaranteed loss of massive electoral support or not wanting to see smiles on the faces of opposition MPs?” Put your fragile egos in your pocket, and think in utilitarian terms about your own future. There is no need to feel emasculated by the origins of this motion. That is simply absurd because it is woefully short-sighted when you should be playing a long-term game.

Last, I apologise for assuming you do not give a flying expletive about the interests of the country and about constitutional democracy. Of course you do in which case take the constitutional duty to hold the president accountable for his ruinous leadership, seriously.

Jackson Mthembu, the ANC chief whip, is lying when he says that it is anti-democratic to vote Zuma out. Once the party has sent you to parliament, and once you have sworn allegiance to the Constitution, you immediately stop being answerable wholly to Luthuli House. Politically, you serve at their behest but in law you have committed to put the country first by providing oversight over government. Yes, that means resisting the temptation to please Luthuli House and being guarded by the Constitution, chiefly.

I then ask you, “How can you genuinely be committed to the constitutional duty to hold Zuma accountable and yet vote for him to remain as president despite the fact that he, Zuma, has presided over the most callous and criminal level of post-apartheid looting that not even the weak presidential candidates who want to succeed him could easily replicate?’

Do what is in the interest of the ANC, in the interest of society and most consistent with your accountability duty as outlined in the Constitution: Vote in favour of the motion of no confidence in President Zuma.

Both the bad and the good reasons justify this.

You’re welcome
Citizen Eusebius McKaiser

PS My vote for 2019 is up for grabs. Impress me and it might be yours.

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