Mmusi Maimane

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IT is like the excitement of a child on Christmas morning. No, it’s similar to what that Idabala track did to people over the festive season. Actually, it’s a combination of the aforementioned plus the eagerness of an avid drinker at the site of an open bar. That’s what an election year does to politicians- it brings out their silly side.

We’ve only 10 days in the year but we’ve already seen and heard some ridiculous things spewing from candidates’ mouths. This article is not about the sound decisions you should make when you get to the ballot box come vote day. No. It’s to help you see through the bullshit that will be dished out, in the lead up to the country’s sixth democratic elections. The IEC hasn’t announced the date for this year’s voting, but it’s expected to be in May.

BELOW ARE FIVE RIDICULOUS THINGS YOU’LL SEE POLITICIANS DO TO GET YOUR VOTE:

THE EMERGENCE OF NEW POLITICAL PARTIES

Hludi Motsoeneng has big dreams of becoming president of this country one day. The discredited former SABC boss launched his party, the African Content Movement party last month. “The new animal, ACM, is [an] African first. Anything that we produce in South Africa will be 90% South African because it is very important to empower people of South Africa. We need to start here at home,” said Motsoeneng at the launch of ACM.
He has an interesting affinity with 90%. This is the same percentage he insisted on a couple of years ago while at the SABC, when he pushed for a quota for state radio stations to play substantial local music. There’s a common thread between these newly found political homes, besides the fact that they die out a year or so after an election, their party names usually sound like incomplete slogans or sentences.
Gupta-associate Mzwandile Manyi hinted at launching a political party too this year. But yesterday he announced that he’ll be joining the ATM-African Transformation Movement, a party formed by displeased Jacob Zuma supporters.

Mamphela Ramphele campaigning in Tembisa for her party AGANG. Photo by Alon Skuy;TimesLive

THE SHOW OF SUPERFICIAL AFFECTION TO THE PEOPLE

Yes, it’s that season where the lips of presidential candidates get busier than that of teen girls pouting for selfies. The kissing of babies while on a campaign trail is a US tradition which political contenders from around the world have adopted. Here in South Africa kissing babies isn’t the only way to show warmth and kindness to hopeful voters.
Smooching senior citizens and going to the homes of the impoverished is also a card that politicians play. As a way of being ‘in touch with the people’ some politicians will actually go out of their way and butcher people’s languages while addressing them. You should hear a Mmusi Maimane promising a better life for rural people in the KwaZulu-Natal, in the most uncomfortable isiZulu you’ll hear.

Jacob Zuma Kissing an old lady during ANC’s door-to-door campaign. Photo by Oupa Mokoena, IOL.

STUPENDOUS HAND OUTS OF POLITICAL REGALIA
Maybe it’s that track by Luther Vandross and Janet Jackson, or that line from Kanye’s Good Life… but whatever it is, people sure do believe that the best things in life are free. Politicians take advantage of people because of that very fact. Citizens are always ready to get on a free bus ride to a stadium, where they’ll be handed free T-shirts just so the arena looks like it’s filled up by active members of that party. Caps and lanyards are also handed out at these mass gatherings.

PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATES ANNOYINGLY TRYING TO BE COOL

I cringed at the site of seeing former President Zuma rocking a straight cap dabbing with fellow comrades his age at a rally, campaigning for the 2016 Municipal elections all in a bid to lure young voters. Another trick they’ll pull, is of a celebrity’s endorsement. Photos of EFF Chief Julius Malema and rapper AKA at an event circulated social over the festive season. That was no coincidence.
The likes of AKA, Kwesta and Nasty C have millions of followers who some will be voting for the first or at least second time this year and politicians are very much aware of that. Just like any brand, political parties will lure artists with big cheques so that they encourage their fans to vote for a particular organization.

ANC leaders dabbing at a rally in 2016. Twitter

THE BIG PROMISES THEY MAKE AT MANIFESTOS

You know that friend who’ll randomly call you and suggest y’all go out. You get there and after the bill arrives, that person decides to tell you that they actually don’t have the money to pay because of personal issue. That’s how these political fellas will make you feel post-election.
It’s sad, the promises they make to desperate, destitute and gullible civilians who’ve religiously given their vote to them but have received nothing significant in return for their trust. It’s the major reason for young people’s disenchantment with the elections because history has taught them to never trust politicians’ hogwash.


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I can’t help but wonder if South African politics are a continuous trial and error loop. No political party seems to be clear on who they are or what they are doing. They resemble a nursery school playground, the ANC is the kid swinging from the brunches unaware of the danger below, the DA is the kid digging his nose and wiping it on his clothes while the EFF is that confused child who came in screaming but now lies silently in the corner. Where is the adult here?

With everything that had been happening in the last decade the DA has always seen itself as the sound alternative to the ANC. But the DA has very noisy racial quotas, noisy water rationing measures and very noisy mayors, small wonder Cyril Ramaphosa told them to shut up. A pacifier would do.

The ‘leader’ of the DA, Mmusi Maimane has been eerily quiet in the face of a DA going through a shakeup, I imagined he would be in the front line quelling fears by kissing babies, handing out free t-shirts and learning how to do the Vosho; instead he has been limited to his seat in parliament asking cyclical questions to the ANC. Come on Mmusi.

The ANC too is forever going through something, having ridded itself off ‘Zumalitis’ at face value, the phenomenon from Nkandla is reincarnating himself at every corner of the country. Zuma is like the fictional character Ra’s al Ghul in the Batman Trilogy directed by Christopher Nolan.

But there is some progress, although with many fatalities there are small wins. Supra Mahumapelo has left his North West post, it only took riots, burnt buildings and mass looting to get him out of office.

The EFF seems to have fizzled out, with no one to shout at in parliament, the party has had to do some soul searching, but with the elections coming up, I wonder if they are waiting to deliver a devastating blow, waiting for a struggle stalwart to die or the party has reached its peak unable to grow beyond the Zuma days. Only time will tell.

One thing is for sure though, we can expect much to unravel in the next coming months. Many promises will be made, many enemies will be created, many forced marriages will happen and many more children will be on the playground digging their nose.

@JustLebo



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