Thursday, 7 August 2008

The Zumamnesty debate. How to relate?

I first came across this puzzling concept on Thoughtleader, specifically on  Michael Trapido's blog, where he has frequently advocated an amnesty for Zuma, and more recently for Mbeki too if it is required. His basic argument is that if Zuma is tried, much violence will ensue, time and money will be wasted, we have a crisis of leadership in SA, and we need to move on from this corruption case and move forward into focussing on South Africa's problems.

When I first read his arguments, I was stunned. It seems wrong in so many ways. My gut instinct and morality say no way without even needing reasons. If Zuma is accused of a crime, he must be tried like anyone else; no-one is above the law, what kind of a precedent would that set in a country already full of corrupt politicians? Do what you like, and then get amnesty?

Recently other Thoughtleader contributers have entered into this debate, which leads me to believe that it is worthy of more serious thought than I first expected. Michael Francis andSentletse Diakanyo both argue against a Zuma amnesty, using similar arguments to the ones I have listed. It is just common sense in the end, right?

Now I am starting to have second thoughts myself. It looks to me like it is about 90% certain that Zuma is going to be SA's next president, no matter what. If he is not given amnesty, his legal team and his cronies are going to do whatever it takes to keep him out of jail and into power. This may end up including using tricks and schemes that challenge our constitution and our legal system, and end up making a mockery of or destroying them. The Zunami is here. Our fragile democracy (if it is indeed still one) will be rocked by violence and by weakening of the constitution.

An alternative to this is to give the man amnesty. If he admits to his guilt, (if he is guilty; I am not saying he is, this is all hypothetical), give him amnesty, he has a legal route out of this mess, we save time, money, lives and can proceed with what ever the hell comes next when the man is in power.

If he is going to be our leader either way, perhaps we should be looking to protect the dignity of our constitution at least.

To me neither of these options are optimal for SA as a country, if Zuma is guilty. If he is, then he belongs in jail, and we would surely want someone else to lead us? Well, it seems loads of people want him no matter what. Beggars can't be choosers, hey?

To me the ideal situation is the 10% chance that someone else becomes our president, if  Zuma is indeed guilty. But this is sadly unlikely to happen.

Our country's people want the Zunami, criminal or not. There is only one word. 


(I am aware that since I am currently residing in the UK  many people will say that my opinion counts for shit. This may be true, but I love my country for some irrational reason, and I plan to come home some day. I WANT to come home some day. I care about the place, and I don't want to see the people there suffer any more madness. Apartheid went on too long, I want things to come right.  If Zuma is the man to make it right, then so be it. For some reason I am having a hard time being convinced of that, but if someone has an argument to convince me, then I want to hear it.)

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