Jacob Zuma inhabits a parallel universe where he believes he is the law unto himself, writes award-winning columnist, Bhekisisa Mncube
Mr President, His Excellency Cyril Matamela Ramaphosa, let me help the SA political establishment by unmasking uBaba and presenting to you the original, unfiltered version of Jacob Gedleyihlekisa Mhlanganyelwa Zuma.
For the longest time, the talking heads on the telly known as the commentariat have professed nothing but half-baked, hate-filled and pseudo-political-legal analysis of uBaba. In the process, the commentariat has misdiagnosed uBaba’s seemingly chronic political condition of power-mongering and money-grubbing.
I put it to you, Mr President, that we have been sold a dummy that uBaba exists in our world. The reality is that the head of the world’s most expensive presidential compound, a man from the dusty rural village of KwaNxamalala in Nkandla, is not a recalcitrant lawbreaker as described by my miseducated friend Advocate Tembeka Ngcukaitobi SC.
Neither is uBaba stoking fires of a tribal revolution against the democratic state. Nor does he exhibit all the characteristics of a mythical emperor without any clothes.
In truth, Zuma inhabits a parallel universe where he is not just the commander-in-thief but occupies a position higher than that of a Son of Man in biblical mythology.
In Zuma’s unique world, the metaphorical Holy Trinity signify the Father, Zuma and Money. He worships money and power, not the false gods who demand unholy sacrifices but do little to pay the bribes, oops, I mean the bills. He didn’t enter into the proverbial Faustian pact but invented the damn thing.
In this universe, uBaba obeys all the laws that manifest because he is the law. He is not bound by any party political affiliation but by self-absorption only. This explains perfectly what people have noticed online, that uBaba’s legal team is headed by Advocate Dali Mpofu SC of the Economic Freedom Fighters. His chief spokesperson, Mzwanele not-Jimmy Manyi, is a policy head of the African Transformation Movement (ATM).
As we know, the ATM is a political offshoot allegedly formed at the behest of suspended ANC secretary-general Ace Magashule. In the world of mere mortals, these Zuma’s acolytes would be classified as political “enemies”, but to uBaba, they form a nucleus of his power base to further egoism.
Zuma’s abiding ideology is Zumanomics, a politico-economic doctrine that places eating what doesn’t belong to you at the centre of one’s table/wallet.
His holy mantra is to use once and discard. Fast. That’s why he never has enough money, nor friends, because like the mediaeval Roman rulers, he “eats to vomit and vomits to eat”. The myth of the vomitorium captures the decadence, wild rioting and debauchery of Zuma, such as the R246-million spent for him to be secure in comfort.
What appears as hubris to the counter-revolutionary eye is actually the core of uBaba’s being. He is the narcissist in-chief. This means his sense of self is inflated, as exemplified by this line: “I have done nothing wrong.”
He also needs excessive attention and admiration, to say nothing about his many wives, girlfriends and concubines. Politically, we saw the “masses of our people” gather during the “siege of iNkandla” ostensibly to defend him against state capturers.
Yet before the rooster crowed twice, uBaba had denied them on live telly three times. For uBaba, popularity is, as the French would have it, the small change of glory.
And of course, he has a myriad of troubled relationships, mainly because of his well-known lack of empathy for others. If he is estranged from one woman, he is estranged from a metaphorical one hundred.
In recent memory, Zuma has been estranged from his wives Nompumelelo Ntuli-Zuma and Tobeka Madiba-Zuma. Not to mention Kate Zuma, who died in 2000, describing in her suicide note her marriage to Zuma as “24 years of hell”.
In the beginning, there was Schabir Shaik. Shaik was just a financial adviser, neither a friend nor a comrade.
Towards the end of times, there were the metaphorical three wise men from the East, the Gupta brothers — Ajay, Atul and Rajesh. The Gupta brothers are nothing but good friends. The disciples had greasy hands that dipped into the fiscus in the name of uBaba, the Führer of iNkandla.
It always ends in tears. Shaik is a convicted felon and the Guptas are on the run. Carl Niehaus’s future in the ANC is hanging by a thread. uBaba is genuinely the last man standing, or not?
Till next week my man. “Send me”.
This Letter to Mahlamba Ndlopfu is written by Bhekisisa Mncube, a former senior Witness political journalist, the 2020 regional winner in the Opinion category of the Vodacom Journalist of the Year Award, and author of The Love Diary of a Zulu Boy, a memoir.
This opinion piece was first published by the Witness/News24.