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.
As soon as Zuma began to look good in his job [as Deputy President], mediating the conflict in the Great Lakes and making bold statements on HIV/Aids, Mbeki began to get uncomfortable. This led to the bizarre allegations of a plot to oust Mbeki – Ramaphosa was supposedly one of the conspirators – all of which proved to be nonsense. But Mbeki’s paranoia led to a peculiar media statement from Zuma in 2001 when he denied he had designs on the presidency. Still Mbeki perceived Zuma as a threat, which led to the extraordinary course of events over the next eight years until Mbeki’s recall from office. – Ranjeni Munusamy at Daily MaverickBACK TO TOP