Notes from underground

يارب يسوع المسيح ابن اللّه الحيّ إرحمني أنا الخاطئ

Mamphela Ramphele lets her supporters down again

A few months ago I noted that Mamphela Ramphele had let down her supporters by seeking an alliance with the DA.

Now she’s done it again. Ramphele to ‘take a break from politics’ | Politics | BDlive:

In a letter published on Agang’s website, Dr Ramphele, who founded Agang in 2013, said she would be handing over the Parliamentary reins to the party’s national youth forum co-ordinator Nyameka Mguzulo and chairman Mike Tshishonga.

I suspect that many of those who voted for Agang in the general election last week did so because they wanted Mamphela Ramphele’s voice to be heard in parliament, and would not have been too disappointed that Agang won only two seats, in parliament, provided that one of them would be occupied by the party leader.

Mamphela Ramphele, founder and leader of Agang

Mamphela Ramphele, founder and leader of Agang

Agang was too new for many people to vote for the party on it’s policies or its record. Few people knew anything about it apart from the public utterances of its leader. If Mamphela Ramphele had gone to parliament and played a useful role there, perhaps Agang might gain more support at the next election, but without Ramphele in parliament it will probably disappear more quickly than Cope.

South Africa (and probably many other countries) has had no shortage of leaders, like Jacob Zuma and P.W. Botha, who are adept at political wheeling and dealing, but have no vision of where they want the country to go. It seems that Mamphela Ramphele is at the opposite extreme — plenty of vision, and seeing what is wrong, but totally lacking in the kind of common sense needed in practical politics. Somewhere there must be a golden mean between the wheeler dealers and the impractical idealists, but Mamphela Ramphele evidently isn’t it.

It’s a pity, really.

When she was Principal of the University of Cape town she had some pretty good things to say about education policy. Saying them in parliament, not just in debates, but in committees etc, could have had a beneficial influence 9n education in the country.

I also suspect that, in addition to those who thought she said things that needed to be heard by those in government, she may also have drawn some of the residual Black Consciousness votes that might otherwise have gone to Azapo. Historians may argue about the role that Black Consciousness played in our history, but there can be no doubt that it did play a role, and perhaps its voice still needs to be heard, and Mamphela Ramphele could perhaps have been that voice too, but no, she’s pulling out.

Two very serious tactical errors in less than six months — I think her “break from politics” will be permanent.

The short-lived romance with the DA was disastrous, because I suspect that many people who were thinking of voting for Agang were thinking of doing so precisely because they did not want to vote for the DA (at that stage I was one of them).  They had second thoughts then, and Agang no longer seemed like a possibility even after the romance was broken off. I suspect that many of them voted for the EFF instead.

And now this.



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