| It doesn't stop|
at the water's edge
Jacob Zuma (1942–) was the fourth post-apartheid President of South Africa. He was an important member of the African National Congress during the fight against apartheid. Unfortunately, his administration has been... sub-optimal. Zuma was a member of the South African Communist Party from 1963-1990.
Zuma denies the link between AIDS and HIV. This is a serious problem in a country where nearly 1 in 8 people are HIV positive. Zuma and the second president, Thabo Mbeki, insisted that AIDS was caused by malnutrition and poverty, not HIV. This allowed the new government to pin the blame for the epidemic on years of neglect from the apartheid regime and argue that the crisis would be resolved as South Africa improved its racially-based economic inequality, rather than the government having to divert funds towards HIV prevention and information campaigns. In 2000, Zuma claimed that the people criticizing the AIDS "skeptics" were akin to the people who had criticized Galileo.
In 2005, Zuma was accused of the rape of an HIV activist, the daughter of a deceased friend, but was later acquitted. He did not use a condom during the encounter despite knowing that she was HIV-positive, but don't worry about his health: He took a shower afterward to protect himself from HIV.
Luckily, or not depending on how you look at it, the issue has become far too big to ignore and Zuma pretended to change his stance on HIV and AIDS.
This doesn't get into his notorious corruption scandals.
One day there will be a Second Coming of Mandela. Neither Mbeki or Zuma is it.
JZ was caught using taxpayer money to upgrade his family's private palace. He even declared a swimming pool to be a fire safety measure; fortunately, the Public Protector called him out on his bullshit, but it took the Constitutional Court to get him to part with the reparations.
(actually by no means 'finally') he has a worryingly close relationship with an uber rich clan known as the Guptas. If you're American, think Koch brothers or George Soros, but stripped of any ideology except 'Zuptaism'.
He also practices polygamy, having 4 wives and at least 20 children (some of them by other women). It's good to be the king, ain't it? This has led to complaints from the rest of South Africa, even from his own party, about the amount that they have to spend yearly on his family in a country awash with poverty, around £1.2m per annum. At the same time, he opposes the right for gay people to marry the ones they love because it's "a disgrace to ... God."
Quite decidedly a large number of South Africans' least favourite president since 1994. And that's arguably saying something because Mbeki made AIDS denialism official policy and was forced to resign before the end of his second term after his party gave him a resounding thumbs down.
- "In Debate on AIDS, South Africa's Leaders Defend Mavericks," New York Times, April 21, 2000
- "SA's Zuma 'showered to avoid HIV'", BBC, April 5, 2006
- Damning Nkandla report finds Zuma must pay for upgrades. enca.com, 19 March 2014.