HomeNewsJacob Zuma Stages Thrilling Comeback: Is the Final Chuckle Over Ramaphosa In His Sights?

Jacob Zuma Stages Thrilling Comeback: Is the Final Chuckle Over Ramaphosa In His Sights?

As one of the most surprising turnarounds in recent South African political history, Jacob Zuma, the incumbent President, has staged a sensational comeback in the country’s elections. Once considered a fallen icon, seized by scandal and dismissed by many of his peers, Zuma has once again proven his durability and remarkable tenacity amidst trying circumstances.

Zuma’s comeback is rooted in a variety of factors, chief among them the deep-rooted dissatisfaction with his predecessor’s administration. Cyril Ramaphosa, despite his popular mandate when taking office, has faced increasingly fierce criticism for his perceived lack of delivery on campaign promises, particularly on job creation and poverty alleviation. The economic fallout caused by the Covid-19 pandemic further aggravated these sentiments, leading to a voter backlash that Zuma successfully capitalized on.

Zuma’s charismatic personality and his ability to connect with the poverty-stricken masses in an almost populist manner played crucial roles in his dramatic comeback. His strong bonds with grassroots organizations and active engagement with people at a ground level reinforced the perception of him as the ‘people’s president’. His lively rallies and crowd-pulling speeches helped resurface the fond memories of his tenure, overshadowing the numerous controversies he encountered during his time in office.

The stratagems implemented by Zuma’s campaign was another key element of his comeback. He subtly turned Ramaphosa’s strengths into weaknesses by vocalizing the president’s failure to bring about the much-awaited ‘new dawn’. Moreover, he cleverly used his previous role as the head of the state to pass judgements on Ramaphosa’s administrative abilities and leadership skills.

However, Zuma’s return to power will not be without difficulties. Despite his dramatic comeback, a large section of the population remains skeptical, remembering the scandals and missteps that marked his previous term. Combatting corruption and rejuvenating the economy are challenges that lie ahead for Zuma.

Critically, Ramaphosa and his allies in the ANC are not likely to accept this defeat lightly. The tensions between Zuma and Ramaphosa described as a battle for the soul of the ANC have reached an unprecedented high, and it is expected that Ramaphosa and his faction will continue to fight for their vision of South Africa. Ramaphosa’s high credentials within international circles and impressive reformist image will continue to give him a considerable power base.

Zuma’s last laugh over Ramaphosa would be to ensure his cycles of rule are different from the past, with a strong commitment towards eradicating corruption, reducing poverty, and improving living standards for ordinary South Africans. The question remains; will he rise to the occasion or will history repeat itself?

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