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ANC , a compromised brand in need of rebranding

09 Aug 2016 at 20:17hrs | Views
It is indeed an epic moment in the political history of South Africa for the nation has broken the post- colonial narrative. The ruling party ANC suffered a serious setback in the just ended municipal elections. Yes, the ANC won but its support base has dwindled, it is on a downward trajectory. The ANC failed to retain several Metros hitherto under its hegemony.

The ANC is now caught between a rock and  a hard surface. They have to swallow their pride and extend an olive branch to its nemesis in the name of EFF but from the look of things it is DA and EFF that are likely to come up with a local coalition to govern the metros of Tshwane and Johannesburg.

The electoral results have since opened a Pandoras' box within the movement with  members divided over a local level coalition with the EFF to win back the Metros ie Tshwane, Johanesburg and Nelson Mandela bay.

The just ended elections in South Africa are significant in the sense that they have heralded a new political culture of coalitions at local level to govern the metros. They also ushered in a vibrant multi-party system that is health in good governance, to bring the the ruling party to account and maintain a system of checks and balances. The biggest opposition party the Democratic Alliance and the ruling African National Congress are scrambling for a coalition with the Economic Freedom Fighters. That's the case notwithstanding the ideological disparity between the two opposition political parties.

This serves to show the fluidity of politics of the day. The former leader of the Democratic Alliance Hellen Zille at one time categorically stated that DA will never enter into a coalition with EFF come what may. The language of ''Never'' is anathema in the field of politics. It's all about ''change and continuity.'' Politics is not a place  of big egos because here and there you will be compelled by circumstances to swallow your pride and compromise.

The EFF is now a king maker now, it is likely to partner with the DA in governing the Metros. This is a likely scenario considering the fact that ANC didn't treat EFF on several occasions and this is pay back time. Zanu pf party in Zimbabwe must take a leaf from the political proceedings in South africa.

Most pundits are always at pains trying to identify the differences between ANC and EFF. Some argue that EFF represent the future whilst ANC is stark in the past. This writer is of the opinion that the differences are just personal and not ideological. Its a matter of acrimonious relations between EFF leader Julius Malema and ANC leader Jacob Zuma.

This writer therefore makes a political prophecy of commencement cordial relations between ANC and EFF after the departure of Jacob Zuma from the political scene. The cordial relations will culminate in a political coalition in future even at local level, as DA leader rightly noted a political coalition is not a merger.

However, people still wonder why ANC support base has decreased. Is it mere voter apathy. You can not rule out simmerimg anger on ANC supporters. The Fees Must Fall protests indicated the issues to be attended to. There is growing disenchantment especially among the black youths as a result of high cost of living and staggering levels of unemployment. They attribute it to economic mismanagement by the ANC which they assume can only be awaken from the slumber through the ballot.

When the DA elected a black leader Mmusi Maimane, ANC was left without enough ammunition against the DA. Previously the ANC would bombard the masses with propaganda labelling DA as a political party of the whites. Thus the decision to have a black leader was a masterstroke to woo the black voters.

Having stayed in South Africa for a while this writer realised that the electorate felt indebted to Nelson Mandela and therefore voted for ANC in honour of the sacrifices made by Nelson Mandela. Now that Nelson Mandela is gone the ANC has been left vulnerable. The glue that held supporters with the ANC is gone and indeed the electoral loss of ANC in Nelson Mendela Bay is symbolic.

It is Nelson Mandela  who told the people not to hesitate to do what they did to apartheid government if  ANC  fails in its responsibilities.

Well, it should be noted that there is a growing number of youths who voted, first time voters or the virgin voters, who are not psychologically tied to the apartheid era. They feel less indebted to ANC or Mandela.They are futureristic and  not amused by historical glories and sacrifices of the ANC. They need tangible deliverables.

The voting pattern in Tswane can  even be attributed to cronyism and cadre deployment machinations by the ANC when they wanted to impose Didiza as the Mayor. The electorate detest cadre deployment. It is probable that the electorate punished ANC for this political misdemeanor by abstaining from elections or voting for the opposition parties.

The masses are not  stakeholders  but stockholders who deserve respect and honour.They can devise ways of hitting back and express dissatisfaction if they are not treated well.

Interestingly, there is also a possibility that those who voted for the opposition  parties especially black voters are not necessarily anti ANC but rather Anti-Zuma. This theory gives credence to the fact that Zuma is now a liability within the revolutionary movement. For Zuma has been embroiled in endless scandals which possibly costed the ANC at large. Rape case, Nkandlagate, Guptagate etc. It is these scandals that might have besmirched the image of the party and pushed away the voters especially swing voters. Swing voters do not have permanent allegiance to a political party, they change depending on the policies of the political parties of the day. The electorate consists of fence sitters also who should be enticed by any means. These ones are politically alianated. They feel that politics doesn't affect them in any way. Such fence sitters can also be pushed away by simple things.

This writers also observed that in the context of Zimbabwe there are a number of  fence sitters. The undecided and non aligned electorate. These include young ladies and members of the christian community who believe that leaders are ordained by God.

The ANC  succumbed to the pre-emptive strikes from the oppostion parties. They were kept in a defensive mood which is costly in politics. The Nkandlagate might have increased the political milieage of the opposition parties. The Constitutional Court verdict  diffused the verdict of the court of public opinion and this might have influenced the voting pattern. Zuma was potrayed as corrupt, profligate and as a purveyor of self aggrandisement agenda in a country which tops on the index of inequalities in the world. The verdict was a blow below the belt considering the impending elections. ANC was psychologically defeated and the opposition political parties DA and EFF were donated with not only ammunition but also a morale booster as the elections approached.

The ANC stalwarts need to reconfigure their modus operandi and gird their loins. The ANC brand is now compromised, its now dented and needs rebranding. How is the rebranding going to  take place? One wonders. Possibly in form of a leadership renewal. ANC  has been shown the yellow card, they are still leading in the game but have been cautioned. As it stands, any surreptitious manoeuvres for a third term of Office by President Zuma will hit a brick wall.

A typical non-starter.

Wilton Nyasha Machimbira,a Political Analyst. Wilton Nyasha Machimbira <wiltonnyash@gmail.com


Source - Wilton Nyasha Machimbira
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