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.
A fascinating article in the Business Day today analyses some of the policy proposals for reorganising the ANC. It argues that these proposals are not aimed at “clipping Mbeki’s wings” as the Sunday Times has reported but rather to do the opposite:
Instead, it seems to imply that the ANC must make it possible for Mbeki’s inner circle in the state presidency to continue to rule SA after 2009. If this interpretation is correct, the document signals one of the most audacious factional drives for power in the history of the modern ANC.
The genius of the paper is that it endorses familiar leftist criticisms of Mbeki’s first decade in power. Too much power has been vested in one man. The movement’s presidency has usurped powers rightfully belonging to its secretary-general. Government ministers have become distant from the people. The ANC has lost the capacity to make policy and to monitor its implementation.
The remedy for a decade of centralisation in President Thabo Mbeki’s conjoined state and ANC presidencies, the document suggests, is the creation of two centres of power. Rather than being subordinated to the state, the ANC must become more than its match. Indeed, the “integration” between state and party “should be based on the principle that the ANC is the ultimate strategic centre of power”.
The article concludes that the notion that Mbeki should remain ANC president, more or less in perpetuity, seems to be gaining ground. So too does the idea that the control by his inner circle of government policy and appointments must be sustained after 2009. It would be fascinating to hear what Mbeki’s people say about this article. Be sure that Vavi and company is circulating it to all as I write.BACK TO TOP