Jacob Zuma prayer becomes anti-CR slugfest.
THE JACOB Zuma solidarity prayer in Nkandla on Thursday was inadvertently turned into a platform to bash the faction of ANC president Cyril Ramaphosa, and some of his perceived supporters, before their elective conference in December.
Attended by about 5,000 supporters, who were mainly in ANC and religious regalia, the prayer was held in a big white marquee pitched outside Zuma’s rural home.
The event started late after some members were blocked when protesters from the Nzuza clan of Eshowe shut down the R66, blocking supporters coming from areas like Durban, Mandeni and Gingindlovu from reaching Nkandla.
However, the supporters persevered until the road was cleared by the police and emergency services.
Arriving in groups in Nkandla, the supporters from ANC regions Musa Nxumalo, General Gizenga, Musa Dladla, Moses Mabhida and eThekwini, chanted political slogans about the current political climate in the country and internal fights within the ANC.
Among the slogans were derogatory references to Ramaphosa’s facial appearance and his nose.
Ramaphosa also later became a target when a group started repeatedly chanting “Akabuyi, akabuyi” – “He is not coming back”.
In return, one of the staunch supporters of Zuma and Zandile Gumede, Lindani Sicwala, who was on the large stage pitched in front of the marquee, loudly echoed them via a microphone and said “he is not coming back”.
The slogan has in the past few months become a war cry for those who are opposed to Ramaphosa getting a second term as the leader of the governing ANC.
The slogan has also been used against ANC leaders who are perceived to be in support of Ramaphosa’s re-election bid like Oscar Mabuyane, the chair of the Eastern Cape ANC and Sihle Zikalala, who chairs the ANC in Zuma’s backyard of KwaZulu-Natal.
Zikalala would later become a victim when the supporters repeatedly said “akabuyi” while pointing at him while he was seated in the front row of the massive marquee.
During one of the breaks, Zikalala left the marquee with bodyguards and occasionally posed for pictures with some supporters. Some at that time were heard saying “akabuyi” while showing a thumbs down sign.
It was not clear where Zikalala went to. But later while addressing the prayer, Musa Cebekhulu, the newly elected chairperson of the ANC in the Musa Dladla region, Zuma’s own region which includes Nkandla, said he went inside the home to meet Zuma.
“Let me greet Khuzeni (Zikalala), our provincial chairperson in absentia. He has gone inside to meet with Msholozi to discuss some issues. Greeting to you, Khuzeni,” Cebekhulu said.
It appeared that the supporters, most of whom had gathered to show solidarity outside Zuma’s home before he surrendered to serve his jail term in July last year, have not forgiven Chief Justice Raymond Zondo and Police Minister Bheki Cele for the arrest that sparked the July riots and looting that left more than 350 people dead.
They sang a song asking what Zuma had done to be treated the way he is being treated – they believe he is been unfairly targeted by the judiciary and his political detractors.
“Zondo ka Mthiyane – what has Zuma done … Cele what has Zuma done?” the supporters, who were in ANC regalia and in high spirits, sang.
During his address, Cebekhulu said they believe that Zuma is being treated unfairly and that the law is being applied selectively against him.
“We think Zuma is treated unfairly, it seems as if there are laws that are created solely for him … We want justice for Msholozi (Zuma) because we believe the way he is treated is not fair at all,” Cebekhulu said.
The turning of the prayer into a political platform to fight ANC battles irked one of the organisers of the prayer, Bishop Vusi Dube of the eThekwini Community Church.
Dube pleaded with those in attendance to behave. “Let us respect the home of President Zuma, let us conduct the prayer in an orderly manner,” he said.
Among the prominent people that attended the prayer was Zikalala who led a delegation of the provincial executive committee, which included Super Zuma and Nomagugu Simelane.
Also in attendance were former MEC and the speaker of the eThekwini Municipality, Weziwe Thusi and Ntando Khuzwayo, the spokesperson of Zandile Gumede supporters and an ANC councillor in the eThekwini Municipality.