Duduzane Zuma divides MK party as it searches for lead candidate

Leadership squabbles and skirmishes have emerged at the ANC breakaway grouping, the UMkhonto we Sizwe (MK) party. The party’s key strategist and face of the campaign is former head of state, Jacob Zuma.

Who Zuma should support to lead the party after this year’s elections is at the centre of the brewing tensions. This according to party insiders, who are the main force behind the formation.

“Judging by the overwhelming numbers of supporters we’re receiving, there’s a real chance we will be part of the government, especially in KwaZulu-Natal and Gauteng. The mistake we made was to put all our hopes on one individual, uNxamalala (Zuma), to lead us.

“We have not even won elections, but we are already fighting over who should take the party forward. This was never about positions, but it was about getting Ramaphosa out of power,” explained one insider. The insider was prominent in the ANC faction known as radical economic transformation.

Sunday World understands that Zuma’s son Duduzane was among the candidates Zuma senior preferred to lead the party. This, according to sources, was canvassed in several meetings held in a house in Westville, a suburb of Durban. Jabulani Khumalo, the party’s founder, objected to the party president’s title. Others were present at the meeting did the same.

Zuma suggested his son as leader

“These are strategic political meetings where we discuss critical. These include mobilising support ahead of the elections and being visible on the ground. We were shocked when a question was raised about who would be the leader after the elections. The old man (Zuma) wanted his son to take over,” he explained.

Another insider said that while others laughed off the suggestion due to political immaturity on the part of Duduzane, others felt that the party should leverage his popularity among the younger generation to garner votes.

“Another proposal was that he couldn’t lead us. Instead, we agreed that he could be deployed to parliament or any legislature,” he said.

Duduzane has not kept it a secret that one day he wants to be the country’s president. Besides Zuma’s old age, the IEC, the elections body, also dealt him a heavy blow. This when it announced that he could not be a candidate because of a criminal record hanging above his head. The law bars anyone convicted for 12 months without the option of a fine from being a candidate or participating in elections.

Complicated association with the ANC

The political developments are occurring as the party’s convenors for the provinces are rejected. The other fear among party members is its inability to completely disown the ANC. Zuma insist that he has not left the party. This while the MK party’s ambition was to save the ANC from Ramaphosa.

“The other concern is that rogue elements and power-seeking people who have collapsed their parties are now joining MK. They are joining solely to secure positions for themselves. They are now bringing their tendencies to MK,” another insider explained.

Former ANC secretary Ace Magashule, who now leads the African Congress for Transformation (Act), also announced he was forging links with MK. Black First Land First’s controversial leader, Andile Mgxitama, has also joined the party. So is Ziba Jiyane, the former national chairperson of the IFP. Jiyane has been switching from one political party to another for many years.

MK spin doctor denies all

MK Party spokesperson Nhlamulo Ndlela refuted claims that there were leadership divisions in the party. “There are no divisions at MK. People want to create the impression that there is disarray and instability,” he said.

Ndlela also explained that it was a fallacy that Zuma’s conviction prevented him from being a party candidate or being deployed to parliament.

“Zuma was charged with contempt, which is not a criminal case but a civil one. No provision in the IEC speaks to that,” he said.

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