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.
Could it be that the president’s supporters do not want the courts to review and possibly set aside the decision of former director of public prosecutions Mokotedi Mpshe not to proceed with the prosecution of Zuma on charges of corruption? That appears not to be the kind of power they think courts should possess. Of course, they are free to criticise judgments they consider to be wrong, but that is a different matter to curtailing constitutional democracy, which rests on a principle of constitutional review. If that is not the reason for the recent moves, it is high time the country was told specifically what has motivated this call for a review. Without a clear explanation, the inference drawn in this column sadly becomes irresistible. Is it too much then to ask that the present chief justice enter the arena and defend the Constitution as it currently stands? –Serjeant at the Bar in the Mail & GuardianBACK TO TOP