Tuesday, May 09, 2006
Zuma Acquittal: What Does This Mean for South Africa?
Even if Zuma's allegations were true, that these charges are part of a political conspiracy to discredit him and keep him from the presidency, it is hard to imagine how a man, now smeared by rape and corruption charges could make it to the highest office. But, you never know. In the U.S. political prognostication has become a near impossible endeavor.
However, this trial, as painful as it has been, has brought much needed attention to the issues of women's rights and AIDS. And this may be part of the silver lining in this unseemly episode. If the national dialogue on these issues has been catalyzed by this trial, and if (big if) positive developments proceed in terms of ensuring women's rights and fighting AIDS perhaps in the long run this tawdry affair may be seen in a positive light.
Zuma is not fit to lead a country where women's rights are high on the agenda, where the fight against Aids is, or should be, an urgent national priority and where the protection of the weak and vulnerable is the duty of the powerful. South Africa deserves a president who can lead by example. Jacob Zuma has shown that he cannot do that.
Several South African papers argue Jacob Zuma is unfit to be a future president of the country despite being found not guilty in a high-profile rape trial.
One daily says his acquittal is a "setback for women's rights and political stability" and that his expected candidacy should be "blocked firmly and permanently".