Friday, December 21, 2007

Cry, my beloved country

Over and over for the past two days, Kenyans were eager to hear what I thought about Zuma, the new leader of the ANC. The man who will most likely become my country's new president. Because in South Africa, you vote for a party, not a candidate. And the leader of the winning party becomes president. So now that Mbeki is no longer leader of the ANC, it's not likely that he'll stay out his term as leader of the country. At least, that's the way I understand it to be.

Anyway, as I was explaining to people that it's a sad day when a man who completely lacks integrity is likely to become your country's president, they chuckle. That's what Kenyans do when they expect a simple, polite answer and you give your real opinion. It's nervous laughter. As in, "What on earth am I supposed to say to this response of yours?"

As I was explaining to some about last year's rape case. (Though Zuma was acquitted and supporters branded the victim as simply wanting to slander the politician's name, it was obvious that it was a case where the victim became the accused.) One man dared to tell me, "Oh, he's just human. You should forgive him for the rape." I don't know the victim. But I am sorry for her. And for my country, because it's likely that this man may soon be our President.

After the case, Zuma resumed responsiblilities as a politician, though no longer as VP. And this week, he took over leadership of the ANC. I was delighted to read today that a new case is being brought against Zuma for corruption charges. According to this article, "Zuma's financial adviser is currently serving a 15-year prison sentence after he was found guilty of soliciting bribes on behalf of Zuma." But the case against the politician himself had been thrown out of court last year for lack of evidence.

Until today. Less than two days after Zuma took over leadership of the ruling party, it was announced that "enough evidence had been gathered to charge him at the end of a marathon corruption investigation."

It is my sincere hope that this case won't be treated like the former one, and that this man can join his financial adviser in prison so that someone more suitable can take over leadership of the country. Someone we can respect.

Who that is, I don't know. I guess I'll have much to learn in the next two weeks at home.

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