A few months ago, author William Gumede described Zuma as someone with a narcissistic personality disorder — a set of traits defined by Austrian psychoanalyst Heinz Kohut as “including an exaggerated sense of superiority, a lack of self-awareness about the impact of their behaviour and having a disdain for others, who they devalue to validate their own grandiosity”. These people lack empathy, have a distorted sense of reality and are incapable of seeing anything from anyone else’s perspective. Narcissists like Zuma, Gumede argues, can’t accept responsibility and don’t care if they take down entire countries with them. The events at Nkandla, sadly for Zuma, only reinforced that perspective.
[ANC spokesperson Jackson] Mthembu is upset that the Mail & Guardian has not accepted the official version of events: that the president enjoys full and unequivocal support, that his travel was part of a wider NEC mandate for senior leadership to prepare for the National General Council and that the president’s strike intervention was a logical follow-up to ANC calls for a resolution. What is interesting about his criticism is that he seems upset that the M&G has not simply taken at face value the ANC’s official explanations for these things, but added their own interpretation, analysis and reporting. Is this conscious naiveté, is it just bluster, or does he seriously think that political journalism is about reproducing ANC statements? What is one to make of this sweeping statement: “The ANC NEC, including President Zuma, enjoys the full confidence of the entire members, its branches, its regions and its provinces”? This is a claim so ludicrous, so patently ridiculous, that it stretches Mthembu’s credibility way beyond its limits. Does he expect the media just to repeat that? – Anton HarberBACK TO TOP