Though he’s under poisonous cloud of suspicion, in South Africa, Jacob Gedleyihlekisa Zuma is unstoppable as far as race to presidency is concerned.

After the court technically quashed charges against Zuma, the way is now clear for him shall voters goof and consent to his machinations.

Like Tanzanian president Jakaya Kikwete (above), for those in the know, Zuma poses a danger as far as delivering is concerned. A populist-cum-womanizer, Zuma has a long history of fighting apartheid. He once served ten years in Robben Island with Mandela before he fled to Swaziland and later Zimbabwe.

Despite all, Zuma has no vision-cum-mission of his own. He is good at being assigned to whatever assignment, but not to assign others that the role of president carries. He proved this when he was appointed deputy president. Instead of helping Mbeki to guide the country, his was money printing through wheel deals. 

Zuma’s anthills started in 2005 when he’s fired as a VP after it came to light that he along with his Indian conspirator, Schabir Sheik, received some kickback thanks to purchasing valour class frigates for the South African navy. Later Sheik was found guilty and convicted to 15 years in prison whilst Zuma’s fate and political future hanged in balance before he ousted Thabo Mbeki (former president) who seemed hell bent to punish him. What’s more, Zuma’s corruption case is not new. Even the way it was politically dealt with isn’t. What’s geared the writer to dwell on Zuma is nothing but what happened in Tanzania the same year Zuma was shown the door.

Kikwete, a populist and charismatic guy like Zuma was ushered in when Ali Hassan Mwinyi wrapped up his constitutional two-term period. But Mwl. Julius Nyerere blocked him saying point blank that Kikwete was politically immature and incompetent. He thus had to wait till Nyerere was no more. He clinched the presidency ten years thereafter.

Like Zuma, Kikwete grew up in the upper echelons of powers save that he did not make any adorable niche save being a populist and easy going. The wand Kikwete used was his flamboyance coupled with being supported by street people… just like Zuma who is fully supported by the Zulus. This makes Zuma more a product and lover of tribalism than Kikwete, a cheap populist.

Despite all, Kikwete and Zuma have something in common. They all grew in party politics serving under different capacities in the rank. While Kikwete is known for his womanizing, he’s never been caught so as to attract public eye, unlike Zuma who recently admitted to having had carnal knowledge with a daughter of a friend, who was HIV positive.

Though the tertium quid are charismatic, they are myopic when it comes to the plans they have in store for their countries. Kikwete is known to be used by friends in the ruining of Tanzania. Through nepotism, Kikwete appointed his corrupt friend-cum-partners, former PM Edward Lowassa, who was later booted out after he was implicated in the Richmond scam through which billions of Shillings were paid to a do-nothing-shell company-Richmond LLC.

Like Kikwete, Zuma appointed Kgalema Mothlante, the current care-taker president, under party auspice to pave his way or warm his chair. Shall Zuma succeed to become President, chances are Mothlante may be appointed Vice President thanks to his role in sabotaging and later ousting Zuma’s arch foe Mbeki. How can an illiterate Zuma ditch Mothlante the intellectual he need most?

Like Kikwete, Zuma uses divisive politics entrenched in tribal ties. His scheme for presidency left ANC divided into two, namely itself and CODE that came to being after Mbeki was showed the door to pave the way for king-in-waiting, Zuma.

Differently from Zuma, Kikwete used party division under what later known as “mitandao” or networks, that have left Tanzania’s ruling Chama Cha Mapinduzi (CCM) weak and corrupt altogether. Like other old African ruling parties, CCM depends on rigging to remain in power.

Some South Africans are wary. One of them is Desmond Tutu, retired archbishop who voiced his angers and dissatisfaction regarding Zuma. On Zuma’s sexual past, Tutu had this to say: “We’re very worried that this leader [Jacob Zuma] had relations with a woman who regarded him as a parent.” On Zuma’s incompetence Tutu warned: “Although he is very likeable, we have to ask ourselves… what is happening in the ANC?”

Tutu uses the same sharp words the founder of Tanzania, Mwl. Nyerere used in 1995 when Kikwete was dubbed to become president after Nyerere. He asked Tanzanians if they’re looking for a bride by considering flamboyance as opposed to Mkapa who seemed competent but ugly and pudgy, though later he turned up to be as rotten as Kikwete. Nonetheless, Tanzanians have learned the hard way. They now know. We need to fear and ask those rushing to state house. Nyerere equated them with plague and leprosy we need to fear. What have they to do for us, not for themselves and cheerleaders?

We witnessed the same in Kenya, Malawi and Zambia, when self seekers were wheeled to powers, they ended up badly abusing. Who thought Mwai Kibaki, Bakili Muluzi and Fredrick Chiluba would become a let down?

Many thinkers are worried. Up to now, nonetheless, Zuma has openly showed how he anxiously wants to become South African President. He’s not laid down his plans for the nation! Unfortunately though, for the blind love, just like Tanzanians, South Africans are not asking him what he plans to do for them. Verily, it was said: “love is blind.” South Africans need to take a leaf from Tanzanians that are currently weeping for being deceived by facial look. 

One Latin maxim has it, radix molurum est cupiditas: “greed is the root of all evil”, can be nicely translated by the eminent work of Professor PG Zambardo (An American renown psychologist), in his “Lucifer effect”, understand how good people turn evil, avers: the outer looking-beauty-can hide uglier inner self of a person.

Zuma is corrupt, though his charges were quashed by court under a technicality. If he were clean, he’d let the court say so after looking into the merit of the case in lieu of technicality.

Professor Zambardo is pretty right. When Richmond scam came to the agora, Kikwete was the first person to tell people that justice will take its course. Tanzanians waited for justice to no avail until the parliamentary select committee weighed in and booted out Lowassa. But again, Kikwete was smiling as usual, assuring wananchi that he did a right thing. Though Zuma is crying he’s innocent whilst all things are in the agora, this must act as an eye opener if South Africa is to avert going to dogs. How can he be innocent without this being reached at by the court of law after delving into the merit of the case?

Like Tanzania, will South Africa go to the dogs? Time will surely and nicely tell as South Africans will be grinding teeth and morn their loss in ushering Zuma in.

Nkawzi Mhango is a Tanzanian living in Canada. He writes regularly for “The African Executive” and also has a blog entitled “Free Thinking Unabii”. He is a regular contributor to AfroSpear.