MK Party heads to polls without legally recognised presidential candidate as it sticks with barred Zuma

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MK Party heads to polls without legally recognised presidential candidate as it sticks with barred Zuma
MK Party heads to polls without legally recognised presidential candidate as it sticks with barred Zuma

Africa-Press – South-Africa. When the MK Party contests elections for the first time on Wednesday, it will do so without having a legally recognised presidential candidate, after its leader, Jacob Zuma, was ruled ineligible to stand in the polls by the Constitutional Court.

Last week, the apex court ruled Zuma could not stand for election because he was sentenced in 2021 to a 15-month jail term without the option of a fine for being in contempt of court.

The party has not announced a candidate to replace Zuma as its presidential candidate or fill his first spot on the party’s parliamentary candidate list.

Zuma has vowed to challenge the ConCourt’s judgment, which prevents him from vying for the presidency again.

“I am going to fight for my right until this country agrees freedom must be a complete freedom, and not [freedom] for some and oppression for others. A decision has been taken that I should not lead my party and I should not go to parliament,” he said.

Speaking to TimesLIVE, Unisa political analyst Prof Dirk Kotzé said it was a strategic move by the MK Party for it not to replace Zuma as its presidential candidate.

“He sparks confidence in MK. If they replace him with someone else, it is going to be problematic for them. His presence in the MK Party is the [thing] that attracts a lot of people. Sticking with him is for election purposes, because taking someone else will undermine their decision to put him [forward] as a leader,” Kotzé said.

The party was not under pressure to choose a presidential candidate before the election, he said.

“The election of a president will happen in parliament after the elections. The chances of MK getting its candidate nominated as president are close to zero.”

Kotzé said no new members would fill the leadership vacuum, as the party’s founder, Jabulani Khumalo, who occupied the second spot, had been expelled from the party. However, those already on the party list would move into higher positions on it.

Bishop-turned-politician Sophonia Tsekedi, leader of the All African Alliance Movement, which endorses the MK Party, held onto the third spot on the MK Party’s parliamentary candidate list, and now heads it.

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