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Zuma’s escapades

By | March 1st 2009

Not every politician is felled so easily. Some, like the persona in the Bob Dylan poem "rage and rage ... against the dying of the light." South African politician Jacob Zuma is just one such man – the proverbial feline with a nine lives.

The axe strokes of scandals that have been dealt Jacob Zuma, by all logic, should long have felled any mortal politician ... but not Zuma, the man who at just 21, was jailed alongside the iconic Nelson Mandela, and did a decade of hard labour on Robben Island.

Upon release, Zuma exiled himself to Swaziland’s capital. I can tell you, Mbabane, with the reed dances, chances are this is where Jacob Zuma as a ‘jail starved’ young man in his thirties developed his weakness for the women.

In 1997, he divorced his first wife Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, who later served as Foreign Affairs Minister and was a source of his ‘grand corruption’ allegations, and later trials. His other wife, Kate, killed herself in 2000, leaving him with just one wife. Two years ago, Zuma made news across the planet when, in a rape case, he said he had sex with a HIV positive woman without protection, "because a Zulu man cannot leave a woman sexually excited."

He did, however, shower afterwards! After his acquittal on the rape charges (the sex was consensual, the court ruled), Zuma’s political star defied gravity. Instead of being diminished, he defeated then South Africa President Thabo Mbeki soundly at the polls. This year, in January, he married his fourth wife, a much younger woman. Then, last week, the legendary icon Nelson ‘Madiba’ Mandela endorsed Zuma for president of South Africa in April.

When Jacob Zuma wins, not if, he will be president two decades after Dr Josephat Karanja was obliterated as a political force. The difference is that while Karanja got into politics naively unarmed, Zuma has a machine gun that never seems to run out of anti-scandal ammunition.

Mortuary of lies

But if, for Zuma, the political jungle is little more than a banana plantation full of rich pluckings, for Caanan Banana, the first president of Zimbambwe, life would work out in reverse – he would begin in the promised land of Caanan ... only to end up in exile in Egypt.

At the start of 1980 after Zimbabwe (South Rhodesia) gained her Independence, Comrade Bob Mugabe became Prime Minister, while Canaan Sodindo Banana became president. Banana was said to be gay, but dismissed the allegations against him as a ‘mortuary of lies,’ but after he died in 2003 of suspected Aids.

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