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Democracy in South Africa
South African Opposition Elects “Obama of Soweto” As Leader

Since the end of apartheid, one party, the African National Congress, has won every national election in South Africa. This makes sense—who doesn’t love a liberator?—and yet, observers both in and out of sub-Saharan Africa’s regional powerhouse, have worried that this dynamic encourages corruption and stultifies the democratic process. Two of the three Presidents since Mandela have faced credible allegations of corruption, in one case serious enough to bring about resignation, and accusations of incompetence have also been rife.

Part of the challenge is that the opposition has been fragmented, and the largest opposition party, the Democratic Alliance, has long been seen as a “white people’s party”, despite a history of opposing apartheid. (The DA was the respectable face of largely non-Boer, white South African opposition to the regime; however, because blacks were banned from voting, it was perforce white.) That may be changing. In recent elections the DA has grown from 12.4 to 22.2%. Now it has elected its first black leader—and he’s a bit of a rock star, to boot. As Voice of America reports:

Mmusi Maimane takes over from Helen Zille, who has been at the helm of the party for eight years.

At 34 years of age, the charismatic politician known for his sharp oratory skills and slick campaigns is often dubbed the “Obama of Soweto.” […]

Before getting into politics, the gangly, eloquent leader – included in GQ magazine’s 2014 list of best-dressed men – lectured at a business school in Johannesburg.  A devout Christian, he is a preacher at the charismatic Discovery Church in Randburg.

Maimane broke into international news when he accused President Zuma of being a “thief” in a Parliamentary debate in March. (The charge is not without foundation.) The BBC adds that Maimane kept the spotlight on corruption during his victory speech, declaring, “Make no mistake Mr President, you will have your day in court.”

The development of a true two-party system in South Africa would be one of the strongest, positive, long-term signs for South Africa. And as that nation is already the most stable, democratic, and economically developed major power on the continent, it’s an vital regional consideration that South Africa continues to grow. As an expert quoted by VOA put it, the election of Maimane is a “necessary but not sufficient condition” for the DA to take that leap. Sufficient or not, it’s big news—and should make politics in the rainbow nation more fun to watch for the foreseeable future.

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  • FriendlyGoat

    Maimane reportedly does not care for being compared to Obama as a politician, but I’m glad TAI —–with this—–is sort of likening Obama to a Christian preacher. That’s refreshing, considering so much negative noise we have heard in the last eight years about Obama.

    • Corlyss

      “Maimane reportedly does not care for being compared to Obama”

      Who would?

      • FriendlyGoat

        Negative noise. Obama was the best we had to elect in 2008 and 2012. That’s why we elected him twice instead of someone else.

        • Josephbleau

          If what you say is true, we are in sad shape, the us is in the dumpster.

          • FriendlyGoat

            The U.S. was in bad shape in 2008. It’s in somewhat better shape today, except for the permanent damage inflicted on lower classes as a result of the continuance of high-end tax cuts enacted earlier.

          • Dale Fayda

            As I mentioned a few times before, FG stays awake at night worrying that someone, somewhere is getting a keep $1.00 more from the Feds than he thinks they should.

          • FriendlyGoat

            Actually I don’t get concerned until we are talking at least $1,000,000 in taxes we once would have collected from any particular taxpayer—-but no longer do, due to cuts and breaks,

        • Dale Fayda

          Obama was elected for being black and sounding “white”. Nothing more.

          If he were white and his name was something like “John Smith”, he would have been laughed off the stage in the Democratic primaries.

          • FriendlyGoat

            If he had been white, conservative and named John McCain or Mitt Romney, he would have run well in many states, but NOT elected overall. Obama offered a thoughtful alternative to all that. It’s true that some racial minorities (who didn’t want their new president “sounding white”) helped elect Obama, but they were also helped by a gender majority (women). None of that worked for Herman Cain, just because he was black but also sounded white. Same will be the case with Ben Carson.

          • Dale Fayda

            And once again you complete miss (avoid?) my point. The Democrat party would have never nominated Obama (a black man), had he not been higher on the “victimhood scale” than Hillary Clinton (a white woman), who won the popular vote in the primary, but was done in by the “super delegates” at the convention. Furthermore, if Obama sounded like Jesse Jackson, he would have been patted on the head by the Democrat party establishment and thereafter ignored, just like Jackson was when he ran for the presidency.

            Herman Cain did NOT sound white and he was also tripped up by an old sexual mis-deed. Ben Carson is as much an affirmative action hire as Obama. Besides, this “a black man for President” schtick has been played out for the time being. Obungo happened to catch the wave of white guilt at just the right time, which would not have happened if he wasn’t suitable enough, i.e. sounding “white”.

            It didn’t hurt that he was running against McAmnesty either.

          • FriendlyGoat

            Obama was nominated and elected because he went out and worked his butt off to get nominated and elected, “sounding” SENSIBLE and credible every single day—–more so than Hillary then and more so than anyone the GOP put up. As I have told others, with the mild exception of too much golfing in office, there has never been a day I wasn’t proud of both him and Michelle.

          • Dale Fayda

            Of course, you are. It still doesn’t address my point that Obama would not have been nominated, much less elected if he weren’t black and sounded “white”.

            Let’s try my white guy named “John Smith” theory, shall we?

            If I white man named John Smith (or anything similarly Anglo-Saxon) decided to run for the presidency with Obama’s resume – leader of the dope-fiend “Choom Gang”, son of two far-leftist parents, extensive association with leftist terrorists like Bill Ayers, sealed college records, editor of Harvard Law Review who hasn’t penned a single article, IL State Senator who voted “present” 3/4 of the time, a complete non-entity in the US Senate, leaving after a few months to run for the White House, spent 20 years in the congregation of the rabidly racist Jeremiah Wright – would he be taken seriously as a candidate? Ha, ha, ha, ha, ha!!!!!!!!

            Another scenario… A black man with Obama’s resume, but sounding like Jesse Jackson who decides to run for the presidency – a serious contender? Ha, ha, ha, ha, ha…..!!!! See my previous comment.

            You know it had to be “black” and “white sounding” for this scam to work. Why, even Harry Reid went into paroxysms of joy, describing Obama as not “speaking with a Negro dialect”. Remember that gem from Harry Reid? Remember the conversation Bill Clinton had with Harry Reid where he said (I paraphrase) that if: “Obama wasn’t black, he’d be getting us coffee”?

            Of course, you remember? How can you forget?

          • FriendlyGoat

            I will reluctantly agree with you that a black person with an “urban” accent will have a hard time getting elected president in this country. That’s because too many of us will automatically assign a stereotype to the person’s voice, no matter how literally brilliant the person might be. It’s unfortunately a sort of “audio racism” that too many of us may allow to influence us. We can agree Obama was not “held back” by that.

            I won’t agree that a white person with Obama’s resume could not move forward ——if he/she said as many thoughtful things on the trail as Obama did for two years before election. I actually like Obama’s resume better than that of right-wing candidates such as, say, Ted Cruz, who have basically been spewing crap for years and only get away with it on the home turf of their red states or on Fox News.

          • fastrackn1

            Actually he got elected because David Axelrod orchestrated an extremely effective campaign…something the Repubs didn’t do.

          • FriendlyGoat

            Axelrod (and Plough) didn’t hurt. But the salesmen actually had a quality product to sell, in my opinion. I say this in terms of “compared to what” in the 21st-century polarized environment.

          • fastrackn1

            I will give you that that he was a supreme “salesman”, and I should have also mentioned that.

            The ‘sheeple’ just want to be sold something…which is why good salesmen are so effective. The average ‘useless idiot’ really doesn’t have a clue what is going on or even knows the core principles of their party, nor the history of the one they are voting for. So being that that is the case, all any of them (candidates) can do is to dance like a marionette for votes. Perhaps it should even become an Olympic event.

            Except for a few in history, do any of them really have a “quality product”…not in my opinion.
            They are all just out for themselves….

          • FriendlyGoat

            Your second paragraph about the “sheeple” actually describes what I believe is happening to working-class white men. There is a lot of talk from Republicans about “freedom” and too many guys are voting for it WHILE their personal situations are being ever diminished by degree—-year after year after year. I don’t believe they understand how high-end tax cuts DO NOT create jobs for them and how the pro-gun thing in particular is something they “buy” while their candidates do not give a hoot about anything but more high-end tax cuts, more deregulation of any/all business practices and more union-busting. Guys can spend buckets on AR-15’s and “carry” pieces, but they CANNOT point them at people EVER. They are the perfect example of “marks” being “sold” something. The same thing goes on with anti-abortion sold to church people. Drives me nuts.

          • fastrackn1

            FG,
            ‘Sheeple’ has nothing to do with right or left, it is everywhere. Most people would rather spend their free time watching garbage TV like ‘Dancing With The Stars’, or sports, than try to learn what is going on in the world and what the issues are…and then they go and vote.
            Union busting is a great thing. While I firmly believe that the starting of unions was necessary 100+ years ago because of how employees were treated at that time, we now have become sophisticated enough and have enough laws to prevent anything even close to that happening again. While unions started with good intent, they became bloated, corrupt, over-powered, and created a sense of entitlement within their members. The 40 hour work week is a joke, it should be 60. People need to stop whining, put their head down, and get to work. Those who don’t like the way they are treated at work should go and start their own business and see what work really is.
            Union whiners…yikes!

            And the right to bear arms is a great thing. Why should only the criminals have guns? I have plenty (all legal) and can’t imagine a government telling me I can’t have them. The government can’t protect me!

            ‘Cannot point them at people ever’ you say. Let someone try to carjack me, assault me on the street, or come on my property with bad intent………this is Texas….

          • FriendlyGoat

            Be careful with guns. I have a friend who used to work in a prison. There were several stories of guys who got in a lot of trouble doing what they thought was defending themselves and found themselves shooting someone and being convicted of crimes. Seriously, I know a lot of people are into this gun thing bigtime now, and even in red states, it can backfire.

          • fastrackn1

            Thanks for your concern FG.

            I have researched Texas law so I know what is allowed and what is not…responsible Concealed Carry involves more than just target practice. Below is a C & P of Texas law about using Deadly Force.

            SUBCHAPTER C. PROTECTION OF PERSONS

            Sec. 9.31. SELF-DEFENSE. (a) Except as provided in Subsection (b), a person is justified in using force against another when and to the degree the actor reasonably believes the force is immediately necessary to protect the actor against the other’s use or attempted use of unlawful force. The actor’s belief that the force was immediately necessary as described by this subsection is presumed to be reasonable if the actor:

            (1) knew or had reason to believe that the person against whom the force was used:

            (A) unlawfully and with force entered, or was attempting to enter unlawfully and with force, the actor’s occupied habitation, vehicle, or place of business or employment;

            (B) unlawfully and with force removed, or was attempting to remove unlawfully and with force, the actor from the actor’s habitation, vehicle, or place of business or employment; or

            (C) was committing or attempting to commit aggravated kidnapping, murder, sexual assault, aggravated sexual assault, robbery, or aggravated robbery;

            Owning firearms doesn’t mean you can go through life like Clint Eastwood in High Plains Drifter, but it does afford protection….and besides, it is a lot of fun to go to the range and pop off a few hundred rounds…it relieves stress….kinda like watching goats….

          • FriendlyGoat

            The only gun I have is a .22 rifle (in original box) that my now-deceased brother and I bought together decades and decades ago as youngsters. We plinked cans against a hill. You’re right that shooting can be fun. We weren’t hunters and we never dreamed of needing it for defense. But, in league with the right, I would not want anyone coming to me now to tell me I can’t have it, even though it lives in its box. Hopefully, neither of us will try to “do” the movie stuff.

          • fastrackn1

            FG, you have a gun??
            I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but do you know what that means!
            It means you have some conservative blood in you!
            A conservative polluted your family gene pool at some point in history.

            Sorry FG….

          • FriendlyGoat

            It’s okay. I know I have some conservative blood, and a lot of immersion in pre-80’s conservatism (in the age before it went so nuts) from family members to workplace life to several churches. There is that old saying, “If you are not a liberal at 20, you have no heart—-but, if you’re not a conservative by 40, you have no brain”. I’m quirky enough in older age to believe that the saying is backwards——that we should go from being young pragmatists (like Michael J. Fox as young Alex P. Keaton in Family Ties on TV 1982-1989) to being more heart-controlled as we get older. The right-wing church people of modern political conservatism wonder what’s the matter with me, and I wonder what went wrong with them.

          • fastrackn1

            I will give you one thing FG…you got a lot bigger pair than I do, with all the abuse you take on this blog and still keep coming back and swinging away. And you know what is going to happen to you when you make some of your comments here. lol
            Just keep swinging though!

            Anyway, it is good for people to open their eyes and look at both sides of the isle. There has to be (at least) a two party system, and neither is always right of wrong.

            Sad what happened to Michael. He is dealing with it well though. Every time I see him I think back about Family Ties and how he was then.
            It just goes to show what all the money stars have and what it can’t do….

          • FriendlyGoat

            I consider it sort of mental exercise to try to make my own sense (even when others don’t think it is sense.) We have lots of topics to get us going and then we can ramble. Thanks for your tolerance, which, as you know, exceeds that of some of our co-readers.

          • fastrackn1

            “Thanks for your tolerance”

            Why ‘my tolerance’? That is a bit self-deprecating. You have every right to be here like anyone else.
            Besides, it wouldn’t be as much fun here if everyone thought the same.

            And yes, some here go way over the top bashing those who disagree with them. I don’t like it at all.

          • FriendlyGoat

            Well, I’ve been hanging out in some conservative threads. After some time dong this, I’m willing to call those who are no longer pursuing my assassination—-“tolerant”.

          • fastrackn1

            It is like if some here would comment on the Huffington Post, Daily Kos, or Media Matters, and experience the one-sided ideas on EVERY conceivable political issue there, all written by and for the extreme left liberal audience.

            ….hmmmm…you are giving me some ideas…maybe I should go to those blogs and make my comments there about the climate crazys or the animal rights nut cases (who put their time, money, and effort into animals instead of humans who need help…real idiots there). Or I could make my comments about the genetic differences in races is what makes some races better than others, or that repeat offenders should be executed instead of rehabilitated, to cleanse societies of bad genetics. I wonder how that would go over with them?…it would be fun to see the reactions though….

          • FriendlyGoat

            They say there is such a thing as “confirmation bias”, where we seek to hear someone else saying things we already believe.
            Many of the visitors to far-right or far-left places seem to be there for that reason. When we cross over, two things happen.
            First, we are exposed to the professional writers of the opposite side, so we challenge our own beliefs with their thoughts. Secondly, we have to stretch to argue against them, because they are professional writers and we’re not.

            There is also such a thing as “trolls” who go out just to see how much trouble they can cause. I’m not in that camp (really) and I doubt you would be either.

        • fastrackn1

          Best we had to elect in 2008?
          FG, John McCain has more integrity on the bottom of his shoe than Obamaroid could muster during his entire lifetime…and my comment has nothing to do with right or left.
          I am sure you are aware of what John McCain went through during his POW years and how he refused to cooperate with the Vietcong in efforts that would shame the US, even though he had to spend more time and torture for not cooperating. Do you really think Obama would do that??…be honest now.

          Obama would be all out of sorts if his shoe had a scuff….

          • FriendlyGoat

            I do not choose my political candidates on the basis of who might have “more integrity” than someone else. I choose them based on the entire set of policies they are sworn (by their promises to their parties) to pursue. I understand that John McCain has a spectacular history as a POW, bu that does not make me willing to adopt GOP policies in government. My personal opinion is that John has chosen the wrong political side. If he was a strong Democrat, I’d vote for him.

          • fastrackn1

            I totally understand why you vote the way you do, it is the way most people vote (down party lines).
            Unfortunately it is that way….probably always has been.
            For me integrity is the most important thing in life and I only deal with those who hold it high…Obomaroid doesn’t come close. To me he is just a an arrogant, ‘cheap suit’. I also don’t care much for policies because this country and this planet are going in the direction they are going no matter what side is in office.
            I haven’t voted in many years, and never will again. I really don’t care who is in office. What does it matter?…in actuality, it doesn’t…at least not party-wise…it really comes down to integrity….

          • FriendlyGoat

            Like I told you before, I wish you the best building houses, and that may work as well without much regard to who is in high office.

            For me (retired), I pay a lot of attention to policy—-not so much for myself, because most of Washington may not affect me much—–but because I simply do not believe the political line from the right as spun to “average” citizens. I believe it is deceptive and does not work, period. A classic example is all the energy which has been expended telling poor people how badly the Affordable Care Act is “hurting” them. Total bogus.

          • fastrackn1

            Being that I am apolitical, I look at what makes sense and what is BS, no matter what side it is coming from. I used to be a republican long ago but then realized how crippling it is mentally to be tied to only one party. Both sides have good and bad points and policies. Since I didn’t read the 1200 page ACA bill I really don’t know much about it. The only 2 things I can say about it is that I don’t like the government getting involved in healthcare (or much of anything), and I don’t like that it was done without any input from the right side. Any bill of that magnitude should have equal input from both sides. That’s what makes things work out the best.

            I am glad I can look at what both sides have to offer with an open mind….

          • FriendlyGoat

            Going FROM Republican to “apolitical” and speaking of “both sides having good and bad points” sounds good to me. I haven’t met many from the right who do that. Cheers.

  • Corlyss

    Well, if the guy is the Obama of Soweto, expect race relations there to be set back 50-60 years. I worry about Botswana and how long it will be able to maintain its relatively prosperous even keel and competent government. I heard last night that stable Somliland, the former British Somalia, is in the process of upending, probably fall-out from years of being lashed up to the pathetic Somalia, formerly Italian Somali. No place in Africa seems safe or immune from the turmoil.

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