Zuma Advocates Government Reform and Criticizes Power Grabs in MK Party

Zuma Advocates Government Reform and Criticizes Power Grabs in MK Party

Former President Jacob Zuma, whose uMkhonto Wesizwe (MK) party aims to unseat the ANC, has criticized party leaders seeking positions in Parliament. Zuma addressed thousands of supporters on Saturday afternoon at Orlando Stadium in Soweto. The MK party held its final rally ahead of the general elections on 29 May. Supporters, many from Zuma’s home province of KwaZulu-Natal, arrived early, dressed in MK party attire and singing struggle songs.

Zuma, as usual, arrived three hours late, surrounded by party members in the original uMkhonto we Sizwe military uniform. His daughter, Duduzile, set to lead the party after the elections, was also present. Before Zuma’s arrival, well-known artists such as Big Zulu and Mthandeni entertained the crowd.

The veteran politician was greeted with loud cheers from the nearly 37,000 capacity crowd. Speakers preceding Zuma were often drowned out by the eager supporters.
Zuma’s Speech

Zuma opened his speech with his popular rendition of the ‘Mshini wam’ song, then reminisced about the country’s history, including apartheid. He emphasized the importance of traditional leaders, saying they had been stripped of their powers by colonialists and that the MK party would restore their authority and dignity.

He argued that traditional leaders should be lawmakers in Parliament and that judges’ roles should be limited to allow traditional leaders to hold tribal courts.

MK Party’s Strategic Choices

Despite the MK party’s strong base in KwaZulu-Natal, they held their final rally in Gauteng. This choice was symbolic, as Orlando is historically significant for being the founding place of the original uMkhonto we Sizwe by Nelson Mandela following the Sharpeville massacre.
Criticism of the Judiciary

Zuma accused judges of using their positions to settle personal scores. He has had conflicts with some judiciary members, including Chief Justice Raymond Zondo, who was pivotal in Zuma’s conviction and imprisonment for refusing to testify at the state capture commission. Zuma was sentenced to 15 months for contempt by the Constitutional Court.

The state capture inquiry, chaired by Zondo, found widespread corruption and financial ruin in almost every arm of the state during Zuma’s presidency.

Free Education and Criticism of New Parties

Zuma pledged that the MK party would ensure free education for children from impoverished backgrounds. He stated that parents who failed to send their children to school would face imprisonment.

“Those who are determined to have this realised must vote for the MK party,”

he said in isiZulu.

He also criticized new political parties, accusing them of seeking parliamentary positions rather than fighting for the poor.

“We have too many political parties who are taking money from white people. Going to parliament is now a means to an end. We are too old to be fighting thieves, I should be enjoying my retirement with my grandchildren,”

he remarked.

Internal Party Dynamics

Zuma addressed internal conflicts within the MK party, stating that those on the national executive committee (NEC) would not become government ministers.

“We can’t all go to parliament. You can’t just assume because you are in the NEC you will go to parliament. There are many responsibilities that await us, not just parliament,”

he said.

“We are not here for positions, we are here to change the lives of black people. We have interim structures, structures that are temporal and yet there are people who think this is a step up for them. There are people who think they are here for positions.

“We have noticed these tendencies, they will never get it,”

he added, mentioning that some party members carried guns.

“You can’t be an NEC member and a minister. One has to drive an organisation and one has other responsibilities.”

Zuma assured that the organisation would compensate NEC members well to prevent them from seeking ministries.

“The organisation will build factories to employ many people and those in the NEC will be charged with those factories. They will get the same salary as ministers. If you want to be in the NEC, you can’t be a minister. We are working for the people in the true sense of the word,”

he said.

“We want to end corruption which is caused by people who hold many positions in government and in the party. We don’t want thieves in the MK party. We are trying to fix the country. We want peace and an end to poverty. Those who have sold the country, we will take them out one by one.”

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