ANC’s former youth leader Julius Malema is a magnific example of the guy who fell from the grace disgracefully and quickly altogether. During his heyday, the name Malema sufficed to remove or put you behind the bar. As a youth wing leader, Malema was president in his own light. He had the ear and the mind of the president. Therefore, he was able to access preferential financial goodies simply because he was the cadre of ANC, South Africa’s ruling and bullying party so to speak.
Those who remember how instrumental Machiavellian Malema was in bringing down former President Thabo Mbeki are still baffled to see the mess Malema is currently in. Again, Malema created his downfall after thinking that he’d use Zuma, who used him to attain more power. For Malema it was simple. If unschooled Zuma would topple a literati like Mbeki, why not him (Malema) who is more educated than Zuma? Malema’s predicaments show how dirty African politics are especially when those behind it are ultra-opportunists and gullible. Who would expect Jacob Zuma to boot Malema out mercilessly and quickly like that? Media has it that Malema’s quickly and dubiously attained wealth is now quickly up for the grab after he’s implicated in tax evasion and presenting false documents to acquire loans from public financial institutions.
The secret is now open that Malema amassed wealth illegally thanks to being in the upper echelons of power. It came to light that Malema is now facing bankruptcy after evading tax at the tune of millions of Rand.
Like Cyrus Jirongo and William Ruto (Kenya), Charles Ble Goude (Ivory Coast who is now behind the bar), Emanuel Nchimbi (Tanzania current powerful minister who is oft-accused of acquiring fake degrees, but authorities never dealt with these allegations) and other youth leaders in the continent, Malema washed his hands and dined and wined with kings. Once this happens, someone becomes infallible and all his sins are shelved, till when he tries to be smart by stabbing or betraying his master.
All those mentioned former youth leaders are either influential in the politics in their countries, or have influential positions in the governments, or are richer than they were supposed to be, if not disgraced for those who happen to try to become free.
Being a youth leader, Malema a school dropout, became a force to be reckoned with due to the fact that he was the head of youths who make up a big chunk of the population in almost all African countries. Normally, shrewd African rulers use youths and women as their vehicles to get to power. They wisely know how these two groups are comprised of the majority of voters they need badly when the time comes. This is what happened when Jacob Zuma wanted to ousted Mbeki. By then Malema was among the high and mighty that no law could touch or handle adversely, until the time he fell out with Zuma.
Experience has shown that many shrewd politicians who aim at becoming president prefer to use illiterate, Machiavellian or semi-illiterate youth leaders to make it to the top as it was in the case of Malema. Now that Malema is in hot soup as he cascades down to political oblivion, he is left alone facing all types of problems real and manmade.
Sometimes youth leaders, as stooges of those who use them to do their dirty laundry, became aware of the dirty role they play so as to rebel. When this happens chances are that they end up being pulled down so as to disappear in oblivion as it happened in the case of Malema. Hadn’t Malema turned against his masters, all these woes Malema is in now would not have seen the light of the day. When they turned against their masters they had either to sink or float all depending on the results of this fallout. Ruto for example, was able to use former president Daniel arap Moi to reach where he now, while Malema was used by Zuma to end up in troubles just like Ble Goude who went under with his boss Laurent Gbgbo.
In a nutshell, Malema’s plight-cum-flight to the apogee and bottom of power in South Africa should act as an eye opener for African youths, especially the way they are used by corrupt and shrewd politicians and opportunists to achieve their goals, while they just exploit and dump youth just like eggshells.
Nkwazi 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.
This is a great article. I can understand your argument. In living in Cape Town, as a foreigner, I only see a small glimpse of this problem. In this regard, you are not only bringing this to light in South Africa, but for many people who are unaware of the issues. As you stated, the media plays a huge role on what we see in our society.