SA and Zambia results: Is the revolution still safe?

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ON the eve of recently held elections in South Africa and Zambia, the expected outcome of the polls would have meant the entrenchment of the revolution by both the African National Congress (ANC) and the Patriotic Front (PF), but results in the two countries have shown that the opposition is making serious inroads which could derail the revolution.
Several times the red flag, signalling that the enemy is now going for broke, has been raised with the latest warning coming from ANC secretary-general Gwede Mantashe in Victoria Falls in April this year.
The results in Zambia and South Africa have shown that beyond the ballot box, serious threats to liberation movements continue to emerge from other angels.
FRELIMO is under siege from RENAMO in Mozambique, while ZANU PF’s existence is being tested by the MDC.
If the ANC’s indifferent outing in the municipal polls held on August 3 was the clearest warning yet that revolutionary parties and those that represent the revolution were under siege, then the elections in Zambia are an indicator that the struggle is far from over.
In South Africa, the election was widely seen as a turning point in popular support for the dominant ANC, with support falling below 60 percent for the first time since 1994.
PF’s Edgar Chagwa Lungu just about scraped a victory by the slimmest of margins, notching 50,35 percent to his closest rival Hakainde Hichilema’s 47,63 percent.
Lungu’s party, while not necessarily an offspring of the liberation struggle, has resolutely represented the ideas, ideals and values of the struggle through its pro-poor policies.
The PF has made strides to empower women and promote their participation in decision-making positions.
For the first time in the country’s history, Zambia has a woman vice-president and many women have received appointments to senior positions, including to the bench of the High and Supreme Courts, the Inspector General of Police and many other senior state portfolios.
It was a clash of contrasting ideologies between Lungu and Hichilema.
Lungu on the one hand, represented the poor and downtrodden, while Hichilema, widely believed to be fronting for whites, on the other, offered his services for that country’s top job presenting an elitist programme.
Lungu took office in 2015 after the death of former leader Micheal Sata.
Lungu vowed to ‘banish poverty in our midst’ in the copper-rich country.
Hichilema promised to diversify the economy and alleviate reliance on copper.
It was a similar story in South Africa where the brazenly pro-whites opposition, the Democratic Alliance (DA), caused an upset.
According to a report by the Daily Maverick, focus during campaigns was solely on the alleged failures of the ANC.
“The top three issues of the election were the constantly high unemployment rate, corruption and poor service delivery by government,” reads The Daily Maverick report in part.
“A major campaign issue during the election was corruption within the ANC, in particular President Jacob Zuma’s relationship with the Gupta family and funding for the construction of his homestead at Nkandla.
“The ANC was accused by commentators and the DA of trying to make racism a key electoral issue by racialising the election.”
Ousted ANC Youth League leader Julius Malema’s Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) had a constituency that wanted to hear something much more than history.
Here was a constituency that cared more about what Malema had to say.
For Malema himself, unlike the DA, the burden of service delivery failures was not an issue for the firebrand leader.
And it worked to his advantage as his impressive eight percent is now the most sought after commodity by South African political parties which want a coalition with his fledgling party.
The EFF simply picked on the failures of both the ANC and the DA; stoking up the anger of the poor.
The rich and the political elite, Malema noted, have had it too good for too long.
The poor must have land and access to the economy.
At a rally in Polokwane, Malema was consistent with the message that said: Stop accepting handouts, take what should belong to you – land.
“Leave food parcels, which you only receive around election time, you will only get them again after five years,” Malema said.
“Stop loving T-shirts more than your own future, your children’s future and the country’s future.
“They have been giving you T-shirts from 1994 until now.
“You have T-shirts including those of former President Nelson Mandela and now you are sitting at home with a Jacob Zuma T-shirt.
“You cannot eat, live or get work from a T-shirt.
“You are prepared to vote for corruption in exchange for a T-shirt!”
Malema shrugged it out like Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta, who despite twice being thrown out by KANU, a party his father founded, still maintained the message of the liberation struggle.
Kenyatta and Lungu have stuck to issues that resonate with what the masses want to hear.
For instance, they have refused to recognise gay rights in their countries while propping up steady economic growths.
And as fate would have it, the ANC found itself on the back foot.
It needs to pick itself from this disappointing outing.
What Africa needs is to protect the revolution from being devoured by the ever prowling enemy.
For now, the question is: How safe and protected is the revolution?

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