I hope our friends in the revolutionary ANC party and government do not get angry with me for my choice of entry point for this week’s instalment. Of course I wish to refer to South Africa’s enfant terrible — one Julius Malema — who in the past week was again all over the news for all the wrong reasons.
Now, Julius is a pleasant youth, who at 33 years should know how to respect his elders politically and otherwise.
He chooses not to be, and this is the same reason why he was kicked out of the ANC Youth League a couple of years ago where he was leader.
He insulted the person of the President of ANC and South Africa, Jacob Zuma, and threatened to undo him the same way he thought he had made him at the Polokwane indaba.
He also called for regime change in neighbouring Botswana where he accused the incumbent Ian Khama Seretse Khama of working with imperialists.
Calling for regime change in a neighbour and brother’s house is not something we tolerate.
The ANC did well to discipline him — by giving him the boot.
He should have come back begging for forgiveness. He didn’t.
Instead, he went on to form his own party, the Economic Freedom Fighters that today has a significant number of seats in parliament, and significant to make some uncomfortable, say impudent, noises.
He is acting impudent, too, judging by the way he dressed himself and his band to Parliament on the opening session and as he delivered his maiden speech last week in response to President Zuma’s State of the Nation Address.
It is now in the public domain how Malema got himself kicked out of that august house on account of his refusal to withdraw a statement accusing the ANC government of killing miners at Marikana.
In fact the speaker, or as she is called here, National Council of Provinces chairperson,Thandi Modise, should have made Malema withdraw 90 percent of his impudent speech.
The speech included this notorious statement, that, “You, Mr President, are extremely afraid of white people . . .”
He had of course said President Zuma was, “A man of tradition, a tradition of lying . . .”
Ouch! Such unparliamentariness!
But then I will not go on and on with the now well documented barbs that the disrespectful Malema delivered on that day, out of respect for our South African friends.
However, it must be pointed out that for all the disrespect that Malema is showing, has been proving, to be just the elixir that South African politics needed.
By the way he is also challenging some traditions and practices that descend from the apartheid era in terms of dress and membership to a select medical aid scheme.
He is also challenging apartheid paraphernalia and memorabilia at the house of parliament in the very “mother city” of Cape Town.
Such boldness goes beyond mere rascality or gamesmanship on the part of Malema.
Where everywhere you look you do not see any leadership material in the younger people, particularly the “born-frees” you cannot help but notice, whether you like it or not, that today’s future lies with the Malemas of this world.
Let us test this a little.
Whatever happened to the ANCYL when Malema and his other impudent cohorts like Floyd Shivambu were booted out?
Where is the combativeness and assertiveness in the younger body?
Last year, the remaining ANCYL members tried to outdo Malema and his group and of particular contention was the theme of “Economic Freedom in Our Lifetime”.
Malema and Shivambu in their day at the ANCYL had come up with the theme, couched in the radical interpretation of the Freedom Charter.
The ownership of the message is no longer in dispute; in fact it is on the strength of it that Malema won more than a million votes in the last elections which occurred when his movement was just six months old!
He can only win more in years to come in spite, or rather because of, his antics that we have seen lately.
That tells us something about youths growing up to become leaders.
In Zimbabwe, we are so concerned about morals and respect — and wouldn’t allow youngsters to insult elders and leaders — there are even laws to take care of it.
However, where are our own young people — cultured and respectful of course — who we can trust with our future?
We can’t have one Julius Malema of South Africa, sounding more President Robert Mugabe, than any of our future leaders (if any)?
Where is the Malema of Zimbabwe’s politics who speaks to the founding values of the revolution and promises to bring the revolution to finality?
Who is the leader of the Zanu-PF Youth League, by the way?
Correct me if I am wrong but the last time I checked he was not within the party’s constitutionally set bracket.
I hope that I am wrong.
Somebody please correct me, now!
Happily, I hear that elections for the youth body are due soon.
I would have happily welcomed the said elections were I certain as to who is who in the youth lobby in Zanu-PF.
Honestly, I don’t.
I have not heard about any youth coming out strongly about the revolution and the national question.
There is no one out there among the Zanu-PF youths that has come up and spoke about the condition of young people and prospects of the revolution going forward.
By all means, the youths in any organisation are the vanguard of the party.
They hold true the values of the party and speak to the future, often holding the elders to account.
Some leaders do not think of tomorrow. The youths must be impatient and demanding as they demand accountability from the elders.
The vacuum is so yawning in Zimbabwe at the moment.
Rather unfortunately, it has been the Western-sponsored student lobby that has been promising.
In fact, some of this lobby has given us Western-sponsored leaders that are in the opposition today.
These are the guys, some of whom are in the Diaspora, that are also being targeted by the imperialists to reverse the gains of the revolution.
Some of them, admittedly, are more vocal that any that have shown themselves in the revolutionary party.
God knows where the revolutionary party will go without anyone to carry the torch.
That is why we need our own Malema — a refined one.
The ANC in its honest moments know that Malema is theirs and is simply speaking to that which will ultimately elongate the oldest revolutionary party in Africa. Little wonder then that President Zuma in his State of the Nation Address said he would be pursuing radical changes in the economy.
He probably knows, in his heart of hearts, that Malema is his very soul.
Ndatenda, ndini Muchembere wenyu Amai Jukwa