South African President Zuma is in serious trouble

South African President Jacob Zuma seems in deep trouble as parliament will start a vote of no confidence on 22 February. President Zuma mired in corruption charges throughout his presidency. He has survived 8 no- confidence votes in the Parliament. But this time it seems that he has lost the trust of some colleagues in the ruling ANC. He has a choice whether to resign or face the vote of no-confidence. It seems that his days at presidency are numbered.

President Zuma likely to lose the internal party struggle and will be forced out of the presidency. Zuma was widely popular when he took over the ruling ANC and presidency nearly a decade ago. He was respected as a veteran fighter who fought against apartheid regime under the leadership of Nelson Mandela. He considered Mandela as his mentor. The economic situation made him unpopular and corruption charges and allegations tarnished his image. The corruption has become a big issue in South Africa as ruling class has been enriching itself at the expense of masses.

In 2009, just two weeks before Zuma led the African National Congress to victory at the polls, the National Prosecuting Authority dropped an eight-year-old corruption case against him. Politically, however, that case never went away: The opposition vowed not to let the matter drop, and has since used it to illustrate its lack of faith in the president through eight (8) no-confidence votes in relation to his alleged corrupt acts before and during his presidency.

The ANC's parliamentary majority has allowed him to survive each of those votes, but the latest one, in August, gave him a lean margin of 198 to 177. Since Zuma was replaced as head of the ruling party in December, the ANC has turned against him, and a looming no-confidence vote scheduled for February 22 may succeed — if the ANC leadership doesn't convince him to step down first.

Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa, who took over as party leader when Zuma’s term expired, this week met privately with Zuma after a series of high-level party meetings that did not produce Zuma's resignation. Whenever he does leave office, the outgoing president is unlikely to enjoy a quiet retirement.

In recent months, the charges that were dropped nine years ago have threatened to resurface. Last year, the nation's Supreme Court upheld a High Court decision to reinstate the charges, which include 783 counts of corruption over a $2 billion arms deal in the late 1990s.

The future for President Zuma is indeed going to be rocky. It's highly unlikely that he'll be able to strike any sort of deal which will prevent the legal process from attacking him. ... This is going to be an expensive business for Jacob Zuma and, of course, the investigations going forward in the courts could potentially uncover even more wrongdoings, or alleged wrongdoings from the president."

But that, Zuma's detractors say, is not the only reason to remove him. South Africa faces general elections in 2019, when Zuma’s second term is scheduled to end. In recent municipal and national elections, the ruling party has steadily lost ground as Zuma's popularity has fallen.

In 2016 municipal polls, the party lost control of three major metropolitan areas. With just over a year before the national elections, ANC leaders are aware they need to act fast to keep voters backing the party that has, for so long, dominated national politics.

                                                         N&A news analysis

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