A few days ago the Mail and Guardian shared an article written by Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu which was originally published by Prospect magazine. In the article, Tutu expresses his disappointment with the current political situation in South Africa. He also accounts for why he will not be voting for the ANC as it is today.
Archbishop Emeritus Tutu starts the article by encouraging South Africans to make peace with the fact that former President Nelson Mandela has had a long and eventful life. The iconic leader is 94 years old and Tutu believes that the nation should brace itself “for the time when the inevitable happens”.
In the article, Tutu implies that when Mandela is gone, people’s loyalty to the ANC may be given a violent stir. He says: “People who might otherwise vote for different parties are constrained by the sense that it would be a slap in the face to Mandela.” With Mandela out of the picture, voters will no longer feel obligated by history to vote for the ANC.
Tutu encourages the country to shape up its democracy in order to build a meaningful “memorial” to Madiba. He wrote: “The best memorial to Nelson Mandela would be a democracy that was really up and running…”
Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu is not convinced that the ANC has done well to adapt from a “freedom-fighting unit” to a “political party” that is capable of effectively running the country.
He goes on to point out a “weakness in our Constitution”. The flaw, according to Tutu, is that with the present system, voters choose a political party which in turn elects its leader to take over the most executive seat in the country. As such, the chosen leader and other members of parliament are “accountable to their party first rather than the electorate”.
Tutu concludes his piece by urging South Africans to make an ‘emotional turnaround’ and be aware that voting for a particular political party means accepting and condoning its policies. He notes that voters will benefit greatly by removing emotional attachment and loyalty when deciding which political party to give their stamp of approval.