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.
Xolela Mangcu has written a scathing column in today’s Business Day asking: how did a once proud freedom movement become a party of death? Who, Mangcu wants to know, are those “dark forces” or the “third force” or the “anti-revolutionaries” that will have to be killed. Then he continues:
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Let us then move on to consider the method of death. Will Vavi, Malema and their gang of warriors shoot the enemies in the head even as they plead for their lives? Or will they dismember them in full view of the world to teach others a lesson? Will they set them ablaze in the manner of Ernesto Nhamuave?
And will they laugh around the burning bodies while singing revolutionary songs? Or will they simply do what many leaders did during the 1980s, which was simply to issue orders to the foot soldiers. In those days the leaders could still go around sipping champagne at society gatherings, knowing full well that the killing machines were in full swing in the townships.
Like Liberia’s Charles Taylor, the leaders can now still go about their business knowing full well of the death and destruction. Occasionally the cellphone will ring and they will politely ask to be excused from the dinner table so they can get progress reports from the killing fields.