Home Africa Former South African President Jacob Zuma Faces Growing Dissent in Party As...

Former South African President Jacob Zuma Faces Growing Dissent in Party As Election Nears

Jacob Zuma

Former South African President Jacob Zuma is fighting a bid to oust him from his new party. This comes just three weeks before the country goes to the polls, reported state broadcaster SABC. The former South African politician was president from 2019-2018 when he was forced to resign due to a number of corruption scandals in his administration.

Formerly belonging to the governing African National Congress (ANC) Zuma grew disenchanted with his party, and currently, he is the lead candidate and front for the uMkhonto we Sizwe (MK). He had earlier been banned from contesting elections due to the corruption charges, but in a major relief for the former South African president, a South African court has allowed him to run in the country’s elections scheduled for May 29. Zuma had earlier been banned from contesting by South Africa’s electoral commission, who had ruled that anyone convicted of an offence could not contest.

The ANC has tried to quash Zuma’s candidacy and deregister his party with no success so far. Zuma still holds high popularity amongst a section of South Africans. A freedom fighter, he was imprisoned for 10 years in the battle against apartheid from 1963-73. Local reports say he holds special sway in the KwaZulu-Natal region which is expected to be a key battleground in the election.

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The ANC is facing its sternest political test. From the party, President Cyril Ramaphosa is the most likely to be the party’s candidate as he seeks another term. Ramaphosa faces an uphill task as power blackouts, troubled economy, and graft allegations have hurt the party’s image. If the party gets below 50% of the vote and gets 40% as is currently being predicted, it will have to form a coalition government for the first time in its history.

In South Africa’s electoral system, voters vote for a party, not the president, and follows the model of proportional representation. Having secured the votes, the winning party then decides which candidates it wants to send to the legislature. Once this is done, all the lawmakers of the Lower House must then decide who will be the next president. The president can only serve two five-year terms.