Mzansi Afrika

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Wednesday, June 22, 2005

Who's it going to be?

Sometime today, President Mbeki is expected to announce the new deputy president as well as changes to his Cabinet, after a meeting with all the Cabinet ministers.

I may as well stick my head on the line and make a prediction on the deputy president, although my crystal ball is looking very cloudy and difficult to read. However, my top 4 in no particular order:

Charles Nqakula, currently Minister of safety and Safety and Security. Although his name has not been punted by the analysts, he is high up in the SACP, and someone not likely to be a threat to Mbeki in terms of power and huge popularity. He would be an expedient choice in terms of his support with the left of the alliance, and might help to bridge the divide in the ruling party.

Mosiuoa Lekota, currently Minister of Defense, he’s the number one name being bandied around by the analysts as current national chairman of the ANC. He is also popular on the left, but he’s a strong character and is said to command a fair amount of power and we all know how Mbeki feels about potential powerful rivals, they all somehow end up being relegated to the political wilderness.

Nkosana Dlamini-Zuma, currently Minister of Foreign Affiars. We all know the reasons she has been punted – as a woman she’d further Mbeki’s gender agenda, she’s a close confidant of the President and shares his Nepad driven African Rennaissance vision. If she ever became President, Mbeki could continue to influence from behind the scenes after he has stepped down. My gut feel is that it won’t be her.

I also think that Finance Minister Trevor Manuel is probably unlikely, but he remains on my list as a definite possibility – how’s that for hedging my bets? I think he’s too valuable where he is, and he is said to want a future with the World Bank. However power is a funny thing, so if he’s asked he may not turn the deputy presidency down. He is unpopular with the left of the alliance, so for this reason he may not be a diplomatic choice in terms of ANC politicking. Then again, the mere fact of Zuma’s dismissal shows that Mbeki is prepared to go up against the left.

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