Quote of the week

[Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro] possesses, however, few of his predecessor’s resources, lacking not just oil revenue but Chávez’s surplus of charisma, humour and political skill. Maduro, unable to end the crisis, has increasingly sided with the privileged classes against the masses; his security forces are regularly dispatched into barrios to repress militants under the guise of fighting crime. Having lost its majority in Congress, the government, fearing it can’t win at the polls the way Chávez did, cancelled gubernatorial elections that had been set for December last year (though they now appear to be on again). Maduro has convened an assembly to write a new constitution, supposedly with the objective of institutionalising the power of social movements, though it is unlikely to lessen the country’s polarisation.

Greg Grandin
London Review of Books
28 May 2008

Scorpions bombshell coming?

The Citizen reports this morning that Parliament has done an about-turn and launched a “desperate” last-minute bid against a Johannesburg businessman’s urgent High Court interdict application against disbanding the Scorpions.

Speaker of Parliament Baleka Mbete and National Council of Provinces chairman Johannes Mahlangu filed affidavits with the Pretoria High Court on Monday, asking to present their case if Glenister intends to interdict Parliament.

From what I hear from lawyers and going on what was said in the media, it might well be that Mbete has gotten wind that the Court will rule against the government and the ANC leadership in Parliament is now trying to stop this from happening.

If the court rules in favour of the Johanneburg businesman it would be truly a legal bombshell. The judge will become the hero of the chattering classes and the villian of the new ANC eladership. Thing is, it is the same judge who acquitted Jacob Zuma on rape charges so vilifying him might be awkward.

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