How Malema dumped Mugabe when the tide turned

by Gareth van Onselen

Julius Malema’s support for suffering Zimbabweans betrays his duplicity after marching with Mugabe and Chavez, writes Gareth van Onselen

Zimbabwe's President Robert Mugabe shakes hands with EFF leader Julius Malema.
Zimbabwe’s President Robert Mugabe shakes hands with EFF leader Julius Malema.

The ease with which Julius Malema changes colours really is something to behold. There are political chameleons and there are political chameleons but he has all the colours of the rainbow and, at one time or another, they have all been on display.

This week it was Zimbabwe’s turn. “We are on the side of the people of Zimbabwe,” he tweeted to his fanatical fan base. And they responded in turn. His sentiment was retweeted about 1,400 times and liked around a thousand.

Zimbabwe is in something of a crisis. That, however, is a fairly meaningless statement because, in truth, is has been in crisis for well over a decade. The country is like a storming sea. Tidal wave after wave beats away at its democratic and economic integrity and have been doing so for an age. Commanding the water is the country’s own God, President Robert Mugabe, and he has pretty much destroyed everything in sight; if not comprehensively then to the verge of collapse.

Here’s another quote from Malema on Zimbabwe, from exactly a year ago, July 2015: “President Mugabe is the only leader who knows for the real change to come, Africans will have to go through the necessary pain, exactly what Zimbabweans are going through now.”

It’s difficult to understand why that sentiment on longer holds true for Malema. There is much pain to be sure. Oh no, wait, it isn’t. It’s because Malema’s principled framework does not have human rights or best democratic practice at its heart, only power. And he can smell something is in the air. Best he positions himself on the right side of it. That is the way of the demagogue. Here is a delightful video clip of Malema praising Mugabe as a “the only leader who can stand up to the West”. So much for being governed by fear.

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EFF voters are a curious bunch. Why it is they cannot see Zuma in Malema is a mystery. Malema feigns hatred for Zuma but the reality is, he has modeled himself on the man. He is just angrier. He has no consistency other than inconsistency itself. He will show you whatever face it is you wish to see; always with a smile, menacing in its apparent conviction.

 

This is an edited extract of Gareth van Onselen’s full column. Read it here on BDlive