Unpacking Maimane’s monkey tricks

Nobleman Runyanga Correspondent
Last week the South African opposition Democratic Alliance (DA) leader, Mmusi Maimane, handed a letter to the Zimbabwean embassy in that country requesting to meet President Emmerson Mnangagwa over the latter’s fuel price increase announcement of January 12 which some local opposition parties, labour bodies and civil society organisations exploited to unleash violent and destructive mayhem in the country.

The latest stunt followed threats to send President Mnangagwa to the International Criminal Court (ICC) over what he termed human rights abuses. South Africans, Zimbabweans and the whole world were surprised by Maimane’s threats which ran against even the most basic tenets of international relations, foreign policy and diplomacy. This left many people wondering what Maimane was basing his rants and stunts on. Some even thought that the young opposition politician had lost his marbles.

Maimane’s attention-seeking behaviour

Let us dig a bit into Maimane’s background and some of his non-DA activities to get an appreciation of his latest shenanigans, which are merely symptomatic of the deep-seated insatiable thirst for belonging, recognition and an incurable weakness which cannot withstand the lure of Western lucre.

In South Africa he is known for his poor attempts to sound and look like former South African president, the late Nelson Mandela, and former American pesident Barack Obama.

Here is a man who cannot stand for himself and for fellow Africans in a country where, despite 24 years of independence, whites continue to dominate due to their economic power. It is, therefore, not surprising that when the white-dominated DA realised that it risked extinction and faced the spectre of being reduced to an exclusive whites only club in May 2015 it decided to appoint a black leader to attract more blacks, and Maimane readily offered himself.

Life as the leader of the DA did not turn to be rosy and facilitative of his desire to be the Obama of South Africa as he had dreamt.

It turned out that, despite being the party president, power was vested in the original members of the white community.

Nowhere did this play out more clearly than when in 2017, the party’s immediate past leader and Eastern Cape Premier, Helen Zille, tweeted that some aspects of apartheid continued to benefit the country, to the chagrin of most South Africans. South Africans, especially black ones, expected Maimane to discipline Zille but this proved to be a tall order.

Maimane attempted to get Zille to step down from her premier’s position but he failed. The latter dug in her heels and remains in her position to this very day after apologising.

It painfully became clear to Maimane that his selection as the leader of the DA was window-dressing and strategic to the owners of the party who wished to ensure the survival of the political entity in the face of the powerful ruling party, the African National Congress (ANC).

Regional and Continental attempts

No leader wants to be a mere figurehead who has no power to exercise authority over his subjects. It seems that Maimane had already realised that he was a marionette in the hands of the whites in the party way before the Zille incident. He was restless and itching for something that would allow him to exercise power and be in front of media cameras.

He obviously stayed at the DA for the rich pickings that came with the window-dressing position.

An opportunity availed itself in October 2016 when the Forum for Public Dialogue (FPD), a think tank which is led by businessman Moeletsi Mbeki and African Democratic Institute (ADI), which is led by George Sibotshiwe, convened a two-day conference in Kempton Park in South Africa at the end of October 2016.

At the end of the meeting, one of the resolutions was to come up with the Southern African Partnership for Democratic Change (SAPDC), whose aim was to promote democracy and support opposition parties in the region. Maimane was elected chair of the new body. Maimane told the Mail and Guardian newspaper in May 2017 that the opposition grouping appreciated liberation movements’ role but it was time to move over the movements.

“Our mantra is that we acknowledge what liberation movements have done for the entrenchment of democracy, but you must move to a post-liberation movement era. Liberation movements often see the losing of elections as a regression, but we say it’s a progression, it’s what you fought for,” he said.

One- man band

Since the founding of SAPDC, the body has not done anything to justify its existence and Maimane has been itching for some action. In May 2017 he was deported by the Zambian authorities when he tried to forcibly attend opposition leader Hakainde Hichilema’s treason trial.

A year earlier he had again attempted to visit him in prison but was barred after the Zambian authorities picked up intelligence that he intended to influence some Zambian people into protesting against Government over Hichilema’s arrest.

Since the formation of the SAPDC, the ambitious Maimane hasset up the United African Partnership for Democratic Change (UAPDC) to spread his influence on the continent. Other founding members of the purportedly continental opposition body included Raila Odinga of Kenya, Winnie Kiiza of Uganda, Ziito Kabwe of Tanzania, Hichilema of Zambia, Dumi Boko of Botswana, Abel Chivukuvuku of Angola, Mario Masuku of Eswatini and Tendai Biti of Zimbabwe. Interestingly, Maimane chairs the UAPDC.

Despite the increasing footprint of the Maimane’s anti-liberation movement initiative, he remains its only face. His one-man fight against President Mnangagwa is, therefore, not surprising. Maimane earns his “Mymoney” from his unAfrican activities which seem not to enjoy the support of members of either the SAPDC or the UAPDC. No political party worth its salt would wish to undermine the people of its country in the name of advancing narrow opposition objectives.

This is because at the end of the day the party will require the people’s support. Maimane, however, has nothing to lose since the DA has no chance whatsoever of landing power in South Africa, so he may as well make the money.

Maimane’s unprovoked fight with President Mnangagwa’s democratically elected Government over the prevailing economic challenges should be seen for what it is — an opportunity to create news around himself and to earn his next dirty dollar from his Western handlers. His expected deportation from Zimbabwe if he tries to force his way is all grist to his money making mill.

The SADC region now knows his machinations and has ceased to take him seriously. Similarly, as he tries to make another attempt at Zimbabwe, the region and the world will continue to move on unperturbed. This is because they now know that he is the West’s running dog in its bid to dislodge liberation movements across Africa from power.

Source : The Herald

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