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Ruling party suspends ex-South African president Zuma for starting new party

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Ruling party suspends ex-South African president Zuma for starting new party

Former South African President Jacob Zuma has been suspended from the party he once headed after he refused to support it and launched a rival organisation.

The ruling African National Congress (ANC) made the announcement on Monday, stating that those who act against the party’s values and principles, including Zuma, would be excluded from the party.

Zuma’s nine-year presidency, from 2009, was marked with scandal, with an official inquiry finding that he prioritised the interests of corrupt associates over those of his country, a practice known as “state capture.”

After leaving office, he was jailed in 2021 for failing to testify at the inquiry and faces corruption charges related to a 1999 arms deal.

READ ALSO: PDP suspends ex-Senate President, others for anti-party activities

Although the ANC had previously tolerated Zuma’s actions, his establishment of a new party that potentially posed a threat was considered a step too far.

The new party, uMkhonto we Sizwe (MK), meaning “spear of the nation,” shares its name with the ANC’s former armed wing that Zuma had served in.

A scathing letter from Zuma’s former ANC colleagues accused him of diminishing the heroic history of the armed struggle against apartheid through the “opportunistic use of military symbolism”, further declaring that MK was established to undermine the ANC’s support base.

South Africa’s current President, Cyril Ramaphosa, who took over from Zuma in 2018, pledged to clean up the government and now leads a beleaguered ANC into this year’s general election.

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