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Deputies and their bosses


[FILES] Cyril Ramaphosa takes the oath of office at his inauguration as South African President, at Loftus Versfeld stadium in Pretoria, on May 25, 2019. SIPHIWE SIBEKO / POOL / AFP

During these last two weeks or so, the leader of the British Labour Party rescued his deputy from being thrown out of his position by making his position nonexistent in the party organogram or Organisation chart. This particular deputy is one of the greatest critics of the leader of the party. The deputy should naturally and normally be expected to support the leader or else step aside. So, why did the party leader rescue the position thereby rescuing him?

Let’s look at the choosing of deputies. Thabo Mbeki chose Jacob Zuma, the rumour goes because he declared that he was not interested in becoming president of the ANC and of the country. And, anyway, Zuma was not really capable enough to run the country. This is an example where the boss misunderstands the coming deputy.

Students of the Soviet revolution will always wonder how Lenin chose Stalin instead of Trotsky as his deputy and successor. Even before Lenin died he had seen the beginning of Stalin’s ruthlessness.


How did Chief Obafemi Awolowo of Nigeria choose his deputy Chief SLA Akintola? Chief Akintola spoke impeccable Yoruba and was full of humour. Did these attributes persuade Awolowo? Because Chief Akintola rebelled against Chief Awolowo and took over the Action Group, the party in power in the Western Region of Nigeria. The resulting dispute bloomed into arguments among the other parties in Nigeria.

Riots began to occur through the region soon to be labelled Wild West. Setting people on fires, including obas with their crowns, became a common sight throughout the region. The federal government of Sir Tafawa Balewa supported Chief Akintola against the wishes of the majority of the people of the Western Region.

The rioting became unacceptable given that Lagos, the political as well as the economic centre of the country, was located in the Western Region. It was the situation in the Western Region and the federal government’s treatment of Chief Obafemi Awolowo that made the army staged the coup d’etat of January 15, 1966.

Are there deputies who never being in the boss’s position?

Of what use are deputies? It is generally stated that the deputy has nothing to do except what the boss gives him to do. And if the boss decides not to give the deputy something to do, then the deputy can accept jobs from the devil!

The political party is the instrument of the power of the leader. It is the power of the politicians in parliament and in the provinces and districts. The deputy begins to do mamago-munifiki all over the place while the boss is bossing it around the world, walking red carpets and receiving multiple kisses on his rough cheeks.


In no time, resentment gathers around the boss. He is selfish. He alone knows how to eat. He is arrogant and lacks humility. Africans love the humility in their leaders, someone who, in spite of his kingly high position respects the ordinary person. Not someone who is riding on a horse and envies the man who walks bare feet; someone who feasts on seafood for supper who envies the woman who has only vegetables for her family dinner. How can such a person continue to lead us?

Look at his deputy! See how humble he is. A man of the people. You know he studied in England and speaks English pass the owner of the language, he still speaks to me in our dialect. His boss has an interpreter to speak to us. Let’s send him the calabash.

Sending the calabash was the traditional way of getting rid of a King or chief whose time is over. He is supposed to send his head back to the people in the calabash. In the modern period, his resignation or stepping aside would be enough for the moment.

What is the future of the deputy? Is it wrong to aspire to the higher position than his in the future? Let’s look at a difficult deputy situation in South Africa. The deputy got his position as part of the deals that got Jacob Zuma out of the presidency and brought Cyril Ramaphosa to the presidency. His deputy was on the other side of the contestation for succession to Jacob Zuma. At the last minute, he deserted his former friends and joined the new winning side. His reward was the deputyship of the party and country.

Yet, he is not without blemish. He was the premier of Mpumalanga where he is rumoured to have created an environment of fear. And that he has to answer some assassination attempts on some people and must explain his own sudden illness that took him from the United States of America to Russia.


Jacob Zuma would later follow the same route in his poisoning sickness that was occasioned by his fourth wife poisoning him.

The deeper plan is that the deputy will cooperate with his former colleagues and depose Ramaphosa and install him as the boss. This is the only manner that the mighty betrayal of Nasrec makes sense.

Malema, the military leader of the Economic Freedom Fighters, asked a pertinent question about Ramaphosa which nobody has bothered to answer. Remember that it is believed that Nelson Mandela preferred Cyril Ramaphosa to Thabo Mbeki as his deputy in 1994. The ANC elders especially prevailed on Mandela to choose Thabo Mbeki. Cyril Ramaphosa went into business and became a billionaire breeding bull on his farm. But he never lost his link with the ruling party. When Zuma needed a face to shine over the rot that he had created, he invited Cyril Ramaphosa to be his deputy and pave his way to the presidency which he had always wanted. Cyril Ramaphosa accepted and did not speak against Jacob Zuma until it was saved so to do.

Malema wanted to know what Madiba saw in Cyril Ramaphosa to prefer him to Thabo Mbeki as his deputy. Here is a partial answer.

At that point, Cyril Ramaphosa, the constitutionalist and former leader of the largest trade union in the country was the man in whose hands the country would have continued its progress by following the Freedom Charter. Thabo Mbeki already had his intellectuals ready to take over and ignore the trade union. But the intellectuals were few and bound to make costly mistakes. We remember the HIV/Aids deadly argument. It took the intervention of elders like Archbishop Desmond Tutu and Nelson Mandela to overturn Mbeki’s mistake. And Jacob Zuma found that an early low lying fruit to pluck to impress the people.


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