Saturday, April 25, 2009

Mandela Votes

South Africa's first post-apartheid president, Nelson Mandela, cast his vote at the Transvaal Automobile Club in Houghton on April 22. Houghton is an upscale neighborhood in Johannesburg where the 90 year old Mandela maintains a residence.

Unlike Desmond Tutu and former president Thabo Mbeki there is no question who Mandela voted for. On Sunday April 19, Mandela, a Nobel Peace Prize Laureate, made a rare public appearance alongside ANC presidential candidate Jacob Zuma in a show of unquestionable support.

Mandela has always been a party/movement man before anything else. I remember reading somewhere that he was not entirely happy with the election of Thabo Mbeki as his successor in 1999 but he set aside his personal misgivings and supported the party's decision.

When Mbeki was kicked out of office in September 2008 Mandela did not comment but chose rather to let the party do the talking.

Now with the votes cast and counted the ANC has been handed a massive majoritarian mandate and they look as strong as ever despite falling narrowly short of a desired two-thirds majority which would have allowed unchallenged constitutional changes.

All that is left now is the inauguration of the controversial Jacob Zuma as South Africa's president for the next five years.

The struggle continues.


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