Dear Dr. Ramphele

What the hell is your problem?

You could at least have had the manners to say, “I have requested to leave person ___ as presidential candidate in my place” and then withdrawn from the DA.

I’ve scoured the internet for your reasons for what you’ve done. I am not impressed.

“It was a rushed decision.”

Of course it was. So? Have you never saved a life by making a split-second choice?

“I believed that we had the opportunity to transcend party politics and engage South Africans in a conversation about the future. The last week has demonstrated that, for some, this new way of thinking about the future will be hard to achieve right now…we see people trapped in old-style race-based politics.”

As always, your diagnosis is 100% correct, Doctor. But weren’t you supposed to be the cure?

To sit down at a table and hammer solutions out with “the other”, there need not be warm fuzzy feelings, merely mutual interest. Checks and balances could have been engineered in to ensure that whatever mistrust was there could be mitigated.

You owe the public an expansion on your statement. Who wasn’t ready to think in new ways? Please inform us. The DA is a big preacher of transparency, so I’m sure they won’t mind if you disclose what they’re really like behind closed doors. Even then, there are many ways to politically challenge an aspect of a party’s policies, if you find they’re unfair.

Unless it was Agang that wasn’t “ready to think in new ways”. Well, why listen to people who aren’t “ready to think in new ways” in the first place? Who is at fault?

Some have said that the merger was disingenuous on the DA’s part.

What is unreal about creating a strong Opposition in a country that needs one? “She was merely the black face,” they said. Two responses to that: you could have done more to change the DA from the inside than from the outside, thus influencing the Opposition to more reflect what you believe it should stand for. You’re strong enough to make your own mark anywhere.

Even so, what’s wrong with being the face of something better than the ANC, if your sentiments are anything to go by? You’ve always shown preference to the DA over the ANC. You, and no one else, had the opportunity to serve that which was going to act as counter-weight to that which you had less preference for. Dr. Ramphele, you and the DA were supposed to resolve racial fears, not give into them.

You shouldn’t have crossed over in the first place. Like Chess, politics is touch-move. Let your Yes be a Yes and your No be a No. I could have voted for Agang. Now I know better. You’re indecisive and maybe unreliable.

Of course some people were unhappy with the merger. You should have had the resolve to sit still and assertively explain the decision. There was women’s empowerment waiting to happen through you. The Bill Of Rights could have achieved another level of realization, had you either stuck with Agang in the first place, or stuck with the DA. Backing out hurt both parties.

Not only did you lack the foresight to see that you would back out, you also lacked the resolve to stay in and the assertive imagination to make it work.

You say it’s too soon for this discussion you were having regarding race by joining the DA.

I don’t know if you’ve noticed, Doc, but it’s been too soon for 20 years, already. Mandela shared the presidential platform with De Klerk not because they had Jungle Fever but because they understood that there is only one intelligent way forward: universal accountability in cooperation.

You could have made this work in South Africa’s favour. That link has a dare to the DA to prove its true colours to South Africans. You could have also challenged and exposed whatever didn’t work in the DA, as I did in my small way as a blogger.

You should have known going in that you can’t straddle two parties the way you wanted to so please don’t use that as an excuse anymore.

I am not a big fan of the DA as such, but they are the Opposition and I value their indispensable role, just as I respect the ANC’s crucial role as the ruling party. Understanding healthy political tension is not brain surgery, Doc.

By so thoughtlessly defacing the Opposition, you have spat in the face of democracy. By ditching the Opposition this quickly, you have tacitly said that there is something intrinsically, unchangeably wrong with them, that they’d never have heard your point of view (is it because they’re sexist, racist or evil? What is your reason for leaving?), and that they cannot reason, compromise or empathize.

You have muddied and made impotent the role of Opposition parties. You have not told South Africans what it is about them that has left a bad taste in your mouth; now the DA looks stupid. As do you.

Here emerge two wounded political parties that leave any hope for a strong Opposition anaemic and skeletal.

For God’s sake, you weren’t helping them take over the country, just provide much-needed opposition leverage.

You probably know by now that your ego has a reputation. You should have just stayed in Agang and made that work. How, I don’t know. But I guess miracles happen.

As a doctor, all it takes is one act of negligence to ruin an otherwise flawless track record. I believed in you. Your decision has let Democracy continue dying its slow death.

You’ve just become another one of “them” – a failed politician. We have more than enough of those and we are sick of them.

Tell us the truth. Did someone threaten you? Blackmail you? What is the skeleton in the DA’s closet? Why did you vacillate?

This. Was. Not. The. Time. For. What. You. Did.

If you can’t give a sensible answer, the only kind of political help South Africa needs from you is that you leave politics.

Twitter handle: @SKhumalo1987

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One thought on “Dear Dr. Ramphele

  1. shows me Agang is a young adult, unable to stand up to her kids who demand this and that… her party will fail because kids cannot rule..

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