South Africa: Former Pres. Jacob Zuma Barred From Election

South Africa: Former Pres. Jacob Zuma Barred From Election
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The Facts

  • South Africa's constitutional court on Monday barred former president Jacob Zuma from standing in the upcoming general election on May 29 due to his conviction for an offense that led to 12 months or more of imprisonment.

  • Zuma was sentenced to 15 months in 2021 for contempt of court, which, per the constitution, renders him not eligible to stand in the election or serve in the National Assembly for five years after the end of the sentence, the court ruled.

The Spin

Pro-establishment narrative

Jacob Zuma is a dangerous demagogue, with his supporters threatening violence if he were to be removed from the ballot. His imprisonment led to rioting that claimed the lives of hundreds — which he has still refused to condemn. The court did the right thing to uphold the constitution, especially in the face of a corrupt strongman who thinks he's above the law.

Establishment-critical narrative

The former president is the true standard-bearer of the ANC's mission of liberation, which has been corrupted by Ramaphosa and his inner circle. Zuma attracts his support from those disgruntled with the monarchical ANC, which is failing South Africa on every front. The ruling does little to blunt his appeal to a broad cross-section of society that is desperate for change.

Metaculus Prediction

Establishment split



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