South Africa's President Elect Jacob
Zuma is expected to be sworn in tomorrow (Saturday) as president to take over
from caretaker President Kgalema Motlanthe.
The occasion is expected to attract world leaders as well as thousands of Zuma
supporters. But main opposition Democratic Alliance is criticizing the
inauguration as lavish spending. It said the millions of dollars to be spent
could have been used to build low-cost housing or equip the police among
Political analyst Somadoda Fikeni told VOA President Zuma is expected
to name his cabinet on Sunday.
has been elected by the majority in parliament and now what is left is for the
Chief Justice or the head of the Constitutional Court to swear him in and in a
lavish ceremony in which world leaders mainly from the African continent have
been invited," Fikeni said.
said there is need for Zuma to live up to the pledges he made ahead of the April
22 general election.
comes in having promised quite a lot, and he would have to manage the high
expectations, especially among the poor, and that in itself is one of the major
challenges. And also he comes in a divided nation, which was divided among
other things by his court trials. Therefore he would have to do a lot of
healing of the nation a lot of uniting," he said.
said Zuma has promised to work with other South Africans with dissenting views.
"In his acceptance speech
after being elected in parliament seems to have suggested that he will work
with the opposition. He will try to work towards rekindling the dream that
Nelson Mandela had of reuniting the country and of healing the divisions,"
He said there are reasons to
believe the incoming president is capable of healing deep divisions in South
"Yes he still has those
instincts, but we will have to wait and see as to how bruised he is in terms of
the feeling that he was a victim of a political conspiracy. Because he may
yield to those who also feel they were victims who are in the leadership of the
ANC or he may prevail over them and convince them to follow the route of not
exerting vengeance, but rather reconciling looking at the bigger vision," he
Fikeni said expectations are
high in terms of who would be included in Zuma's cabinet.
"His cabinet will include
some of the ministers who were there under Thabo Mbeki, especially those who
remained either neutral or who supported him during the time of his struggle
for succession. And among those you would expect Lindiwe Sisulu, the current
minister for housing, the foreign minister who is also the former wide of Jacob
Zuma. People like Jeff Radebe and others," Fikeni said.
He said leaders of other
parties which contributed to the success of the ANC through the alliance are
also likely to be included in Zuma's cabinet.
"But you will also see the
members of the tripartite alliance drawn from the Trade Union, drawn from the
South African Communist Party leaders like Blade Nzimande are expected in that
cabinet in his attempt to be inclusive, but also acknowledge these alliance
partners played in rekindling his political career," he said.
to the government, Zuma's
inauguration will be attended by 5,000 dignitaries. Twenty-nine
countries will be represented by heads of state, seven by their deputy
presidents and 56 by their foreign ministers. Another 30,000 people ? some
bused in from townships ? are expected to witness the event.
expected presence of the president of neighboring Zimbabwe is generating
controversy as well as protests from AfriForum, a civil
rights initiative. AfriForum's chief executive, Kallie Kriel, said it was
protesting against human rights violations in Zimbabwe. He wished President
Robert Mugabe were struck off the guest list.
Zuma takes over the presidency from Kgalema Motlanthe who served for less
than a year after former president Thabo Mbeki was forced to step down after he
lost the presidency of the ruling African
National Congress (ANC) at the Polokwane conference in 2007.
The ANC president was dogged by corruption and sex scandals and his party split
last year leading to the formation of the breakaway opposition Congress of the
People (COPE). But Zuma and his supporters maintained the eight-year-old graft
charges against him were politically motivated to prevent him from becmoing
South Africa's next president.
accusations against Zuma relate to a multi-billion pound arms deal in the late
1990s and a relationship with his financial adviser, Schabir Shaik, who had
already been convicted, imprisoned, and released on parole for soliciting
Zuma and former South African President Thabo Mbeki struggled for power within
the ANC, the charges against Zuma were dropped on a technicality, and then
re-instated two days after Mbeki was voted out of the party leadership at the
Polokwane conference in 2007.
With the ruling party's overwhliming victory in the Aprill 22 genreal
elections, the party would have 264 seats in parliament although it failed to
acquire a two-thirds majority which would have allowed the ANC to single
handedly amend the constitution without any consultations from the opposition. The official opposition, the Democratic
Alliance (DA), will have 67 seats while COPE is in third place with 30 seats.