When Trump was elected, I said that you had put an African “big man” in power. That wasn’t a joke, but the absolute truth.
The clearest and most obvious indicator of that is in how big men respond when they’re caught committing grand crimes. They ignore it. They don’t care. And neither do their supporters.
Jacob Zuma is still a popular leader in South Africa. He is still to actually stand trial for fraud even after losing presidential immunity. It is likely he will never stand trial.
The problem for anyone hoping for change is compounded by the destruction of opposition politics, because opposition is held to a dramatically different standard to that of the big men.
The Democratic Alliance, long the hoped-for counterweight to the ANC, has imploded over the last week. It was inevitable.
When the representatives of the party in power can commit any abuse, disenfranchise opposition voters at will, belittle and target minorities, ignore any ethical or social and economic problems, and be celebrated at every turn for their genius and custodianship, then it drives opposition parties to destruction.
Not only are their members routinely held to standards ignored by the party in power, not only are their leaders and most talented rising-stars expected to resign over any moral or verbal lapse, no matter how slight, but their own supporters start to demand an ever-increasing burden of policies. It isn’t sufficient merely to win and return to ethical, responsive government. No, they have to be absolutely ideologically pure as well, with that ideology exploring ever-more theoretical and complex topics.
As these demands compete and contradict, the opposition begins to fragment into new special-interest parties, each drawing on the same pool of voters and compounding disenfranchisement with atomisation.
And this is how the same corrupt violent psychopaths have brutalised and despoiled the nations of Africa over generations and generations.
Trump will win re-election, and he will remake America in South Africa’s image. I hope you like power failures.