Zuma makes a final campaign push for MK ahead of the elections
Image by REUTERS

South Africa’s influential former president Jacob Zuma on Saturday threw his weight behind his newly formed uMkhonto Wesizwe (MK) party in a bid to oust his handpicked successor in the country’s upcoming elections.

With his bright smile, rhythmic diction, and jokes eliciting laughter from the crowd, Jacob Zuma joined thousands of his party members for the people’s mandate launch on Saturday, May 19, in Soweto, nine days before the country’s upcoming elections.

Many wore green, the colour of the political party, as they filled every available space at Orlando Stadium to greet and listen to party leaders highlight a 10-point plan to tackle the country’s discontented economic crisis.

Supporters cheered in unison as the party leader emerged into the public area and waved at the crowd before outlining “the people’s mandate” to jubilant supporters.

Speaking to multitudes of staunch party supporters in Zulu at the Orlando, Zuma promised to create jobs, fight corruption, and provide free education for disadvantaged children.

“The people who are leading the country right now have lost direction of where the country is going. They are taking the wrong direction, and they don’t want to hear anything,” he said.

Zuma has remained outwardly optimistic about his party’s prospects in next week’s elections, and the MK’s electric reception in Soweto on Saturday no doubt gave him even more reason for hope. But in other provinces, like the north-west, the MK’s mood remains darkened.

Zuma, who served nine years in office under the ANC banner with Ramaphosa as his vice president, has urged supporters to stay away from the ruling party.

Late last year, Zuma dramatically defected from the African National Congress (ANC) after a bitter fallout with his former deputy Ramaphosa after he took office in 2017.

The 82-year-old’s departure and condemnation of the ruling party have thrown the party into an internal crisis ahead of the much-anticipated general elections.

Vendors were also hard at work selling food and beverages, while supporters were given free t-shirts and caps bearing Zuma’s image at the venue’s entrance.

With the dreadlocked campaign nearing its final days, all political parties have embarked on grueling schedules of rallies and appearances.

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