If Jacob Zuma avoids becoming a caricature of African leadership, he could change the whole continent for the better:
WITHIN weeks, Jacob Zuma is set to become the most powerful man in Africa, a continent of a billion souls that is still the poorest and, despite recent improvements, the worst governed on the planet. South Africa provides more than a third of the 48 sub-Saharan economies’ total GDP. It is Africa’s sole member of the G20 group of influential countries and packs a punch in global diplomacy. Its emergence from the gruesome era of apartheid is a miracle of reconciliation. Africans across the continent and oppressed peoples elsewhere still look to South Africa’s leader as a beacon of hope.
Mr Zuma could yet prove to be the right sort of Big Man: big enough to hold his party back from creating something akin to a one-party state, big enough to accept that no one, himself included, is above the law. If that is how he chooses to spend his five years in power, South Africa would indeed serve as a model for the whole continent. But will he?