Once upon a time, in a not too distant past, a man announced to a shocked world: “We will kill for Zuma.” He crossed the breadth of the country with that message. He was on a mission to remove then president Thabo Mbeki and supplant him with Jacob Zuma. That name of that man was Julius Malema.
He went at Zuma all guns blazing last Friday night in Thohoyandou. He was mad. Stark raving mad. He was breathing fire and brimstone. With every word that came out of his mouth, he struck Zuma with words so piercing that even Zuma’s enemies must have winced a little. There was no holding back.
It was like watching a World Wrestling Entertainment no-holds-barred fight. The gloves were off. It was ugly. It was raw.
All the anger Malema had been keeping inside the past few months came out. There was no tact. If there was any doubt that his love affair with Zuma was over … well, no need to wonder any more. This is what happens when you take a dangerous animal out of the circus.
There is a line that the ANC loves to use for people who have been discarded by the party: “It’s very cold outside the ANC.”
Malema seemed to be having fun. If anything, he seemed to be warming up. He seemed far from cold. Perhaps the bitterness is what is keeping him warm.
Malema may be proving my suspicions correct – that when the ANC decided to expel him he would be more dangerous for Zuma outside than inside.
Once he’s out, he is allowed to say whatever he has been dying to say in whatever shape he wants.
He started his speech by shouting “long live to the spirit” of ANC presidents Oliver Tambo, Nelson Mandela and Mbeki. He skipped Zuma and then said: “Long live the spirit of Kgalema Motlanthe, long live!” It was clear that he no longer recognised Zuma as his president. He also made it clear who he wanted as the next president.
We are in for a joyride over the next few months, because there really is no show better than that which Malema presents.
He asked the youths gathered to hear him speak: “Are the people leading you today your role models? You are inspired by the corrupt individuals, who don’t have respect for women? You are inspired by people, who love positions and power at all costs?”
Then he asked: “Are those your role models?”
He also turned his guns on the ANC. “They do not know what are the interests of the people. Because if they knew what is the interest of the people, they were not going to march for a spear. How do you march for a spear? Since when is the spear of somebody a priority for everybody?”
He complained about the ANC not having marched against corruption and for jobs.
He summed up his stance when he said: “We regret having campaigned for President Zuma, both in the ANC and the country.”
There is no one who can sting you more harshly than someone who knows you well. And Malema did it.
“The man for himself. The man for his family. The man who has no interest for his people. The man for his tribe.
“Promotion of one tribe against so many tribes in South Africa. The man who we said was a unifier – the ANC today is more divided.”
Malema is difficult to take seriously, even if people agree with him. One day, Mbeki is the devil with horns and needs to be removed from power by any means. The next day, he is a saint.
Then one day, Zuma is a saint and the next he is the devil.