A test for democracy
Even though South Africa’s parliament is dominated by the African National Congress lawmakers (230 out of 400), the maturity exercised by the lawmakers during a session to pick the next leader of the country was widely commended. According to an analyst who declined being mentioned, South Africa again proved to Africa and the world at large, that it has attained a defining level of political democracy, where politicians put the interest of the people first before their personal or political ambitions. He quoted ‘’ The ordeals suffered by South Africans during the apartheid period, strengthened and instilled the spirit of unity among South Africans, it was a tough journey to the promised land, and nothing can be done to jeopardize or undermine the struggle. Even Mandela’s spirit will rejoice over the maturity shown by the lawmakers.’’ South Africa is always commendable in terms of political democracy.
Reaction from the Opposition
Unlike in other African nations where the opposition always contests and sometimes result in violence when the ruling party retains power, the case is very different from South Africa. The two main political figures who contested the May 8 national elections in South Africa, threw their weight behind incoming president Cyril Ramaphosa. Julius Malema of the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) party and Mmusi Maimane of the Democratic Alliance (DA) party, urged Ramaphosa to put the people of South Africa first. Maimane quoted “Therefore, I want to urge the people of this House that we have been entrusted with the privilege which is to serve the people of this country… our objective here is to serve the people of the country and we better never fail them during such a moment as this one. He added, “I would also like to say to Ramaphosa that this election takes place when 10 million of our people are unemployed. It takes place at a time when our citizens are feeling unsafe, it takes place at a time when our young people need to be in school. You, sir, have been entrusted with a great privilege of leading our nation.” For his part, Malema who was once a strong leader of the youth league of the ANC, before splitting to form his EFF party congratulated Ramaphosa saying “We hope that you will be a president of a corruption-free government and you will not subject yourself to views of factionalism.” He challenged Ramaphosa to shun politicians who ‘’sing praises’ to him and fervently work with young honest and determined lawmakers with new ideas in order to move the nation forward.
Addressing the parliament after his reelection, president Ramaphosa thanked the lawmakers for trusting him with the task to ‘’serve the people of our country and indeed our country as the president of the Republic of South Africa’’. He said ‘’ it is a responsibility that I am going to discharge, with the greatest of care, but also to the best of my ability. ‘’It is a responsibility that I undertake mindful of the needs, aspirations, the hopes and the expectations of the people of South Africa.’’ Among other things, Ramaphosa vowed to provide jobs and work for the interests of all citizens, not just cadres of the ruling African National Congress (ANC).
Who is Cyril Ramaphosa?
Matamela Cyril Ramaphosa is a SA citizen, born on 17 November 1952 in Soweto, Transvaal Province. The 66-year-old businessman turned politician is of the Ruling African National Congress party, and one of the trade unionists who championed the fight against white minority rule. Under President Zuma, Ramaphosa served as deputy president from 2014 -18. As deputy leader, he oversaw the peacebuilding efforts in South Sudan among other things. However, on February 15, 2018, Ramaphosa then assumed the presidency of South Africa, following the resignation of his predecessor Jacob Zuma. He is expected to discharge his first full five years as head of state, after gaining the confidence of the 400 member parliament. Ramaphosa will be at the helm of the African Union in 2020, after Egyptian President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi. In the meantime, a Law Lecturer at Nazerene University, Dr Duncan Ojwang has challenged South Africa to use its position (when the times comes) to change how the African Union relates with the rest of the world with the aim of making it more assertive.
As the president of South Africa, Ramaphosa is widely expected to tackle the following;
- Unemployment especially among the younger generation
- Relax visa policies which are unfriendly to the majority of African nations
- Totally contain xenophobia, which has rocked the country in recent times
- Bring in good investment policies that would boost investor confidence and row the country’s economy.
Article from AFRIC Editorial
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