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
14 January 2009

Where to now for Mr Zuma, legally speaking?

Here is my take, published on News24, trying to answer this question. Money qoute:

If Mr Zuma therefore has a strong case to answer (as he clearly has – even Bulelani Ngcuka said so when he declined to prosecute Mr Zuma), it would be irrelevant if that case was only brought to court for political reasons. Mr Zuma’s best bet now is to argue that the case has dragged on so long and the reporting in the media has so tainted the minds of every judge in South Africa that it would be impossible for any judge to hear such a case with an open mind and afford Mr Zuma a fair trial.

That is an extremely high hurdle to overcome and few judges would grant such an application. But Mr Zuma does have another ace up his sleeve. If Parliament confirms the firing of the NDPP, Mr Vusi Pikoli, and if President Motlanthe then appoints, shall we say, a more disciplined member of the ANC as head of the NPA, the “political solution” to his legal troubles might yet be found.

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