It is generally understood that for a decision to count, its maker(s) must be of sound mind. Without knocking the millions who have gone through a perfectly human battle with mental illness, I submit that our National Assembly is arguably not of sound mind. There is proof of this in every front page news headline from last Friday morning.
Someone might say that Parliament has not announced Zuma’s resignation. But that doesn’t meant they haven’t accepted it. The drama we witnessed was a result of their denial that he has resigned. They accepted his resignation and it sent them into a mental breakdown. The Sunday Times reported that Jacob Zuma had demanded that ANC MPs use their numbers to “crush opposition” and its combined challenge to ANC authority. Helen Zille commented that this proved him unfit to lead a democracy. In this and many other ways, Jacob Zuma de-facto resigned from his position as President of the Republic of South Africa insofar as that presidency is defined by the Constitution. The seat that the majority of the National Assembly bent back over backwards to protect is unoccupied. The extent to which they went to protect him is proof that the Constitution by itself is no longer sufficient to defend his presidency. Brute force was needed – and it was used – because Jacob Zuma is no longer President, Parliament knows it, and the ANC side of it went nuts trying to deny it.
Jacob Zuma also has resigned in the minds of many South Africans through the hashtags #FormerPresidentJacobZuma and #ZumasResigned. “Has it been confirmed? It would be all over the news’ headlines!” But Jacob Zuma’s resignation hinges not on what he (for he does not make sound choices for the country) nor Parliament (Parliament cannot make sound choices at all right now) nor the ANC (the ANC only makes choices for the ANC) chooses. It depends on our decision on the matter. The media won’t confirm Zuma’s resignation; rather, it is we who have to tell the media that #ZumasResigned.
We, who have accepted his resignation, have rubber-stamped, approved and filed Zuma’s resignation away safely in our minds. We are as satisfied as the incestuously conceived intra-party, inter-ministerial task teams, ad-hoc committees, tribunals and other multiplying yes-men and light-bulb changers are of Jacob Zuma’s newborn-baby innocence over Nkandlagate, that this resignation is legitimate. We will not dignify that nightmarish figment of our collective imagination, that charade, which was Zuma’s term in office, with even a half-forged resignation letter any more than we accept that the Olympic-sized dam in his Nkandla yard is a “fire pool”. We thusly authenticate Zuma’s resignation with a proof whose dignity and legitimacy are proportional to the dignity and legitimacy he brought to his term in office. To ask for more would be unreasonable.
“This doesn’t create real change”, they say. “Our just saying he has resigned doesn’t mean he’s really resigned.” What would constitute a “real” resignation on Jacob Zuma’s part? Last week, we saw National Assembly and its processes dissolve to chaos. What is “serious” about the lies told to protect him? The National Assembly has as much combined solemnity and dignity as the people project on it. And in view of last Thursday’s debacle, that’s saying more about the people’s resolute imaginations than about the thing they apply their collective imaginations to. I am not arguing that South Africans stop taking Parliament seriously: I am pointing out that deliberately or not, Parliament has already beaten the people to that.
Former President Zuma swore to uphold the Constitution of South Africa. What do his oath and his signature count for if he could break a promise of that magnitude? “Zuma must go,” they say. But Zuma is gone. “Zuma must step down,” they say. He has taken the Office as low as it could be taken. There is nowhere lower for him to step down to.
Tweeting #ZumasResigned makes it more solemnly binding and true with every retweet. Because, when just about every political system, process and institution is based on a lie, your hashtag is king.
Be gentle yet firm in correcting those who don’t “get it” as yet; feel free to send them the link to this article whether they are newspaper editors, your friends on Facebook or your next door neighbor. Tell it to those who still have a picture of Former President Jacob Zuma hanging on their office wall to take it down and wait for the next president to be sworn in.
Because Zuma is no longer the President of South Africa. People are starting to get this. They’ve seen the truth and have made the brave decision to stick to it regardless of cost or consequence. #ZumasResigned. About time, too.
Edited 18/11/2014 16:42