THE Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) has rejected former President Jacob Zuma’s bid to run for office again in the highly contested 2024 National General Elections because of his criminal conviction and sentence.
Zuma was convicted and sentenced to 15 months imprisonment after he was found guilty of defying a summons to appear before the State Capture Commission in 2021.
The electoral body cited Section 47(e) of the country’s Constitution, which bars anyone who was convicted and sentenced to more than 12 months imprisonment, without an option of a fine, from holding public office.
“Therefore, this provision renders Former President JG Zuma disqualified to be on the list of any party contesting an election or to contest as an independent in the upcoming 2024 elections,” said the IEC in a statement on Tuesday.
The section further stated that the disqualification under this paragraph ends five years after the sentence has been completed, which still bars Zuma since he has not finished five years out of jail, but allows for the possible running in the 2029 general elections.
The statement from the IEC comes after Zuma’s address at the Nazareth Baptist Church’s annual pilgrimage over the weekend at the Canaan Holy Mountain in Ndwedwe north of Durban, where he told the congregation that he was removed while he was still fighting for black people, therefore, he wanted to go back to fix things that had not been fixed.
Zuma has been criss-crossing the country campaigning for the uMkhonto we Sizwe Party after he publicly endorsed it on 16 December last year, when he acknowledged that the party was formed with his knowledge and his blessings.
The party, which is a month-old on Tuesday, was expected to formally announce Zuma as its presidential candidate at the end of the month.
In an interview on Monday, the party’s national spokesperson Nhlamulo Ndlela said its presidential candidate would be announced at the end of the month, but office-bearers would be elected after the general elections, expected to take place in May.
“We have not yet decided on who will be the face of our elections campaign, but let me respond by telling you this. There is no president who has done well like Zuma. No president has ended load shedding, but we will announce our candidate next month. The party is busy consulting with other stakeholders about who should be on the provincial legislatures and Parliament lists,” Ndlela said.
When asked how Zuma was to become the candidate, given the Section 47 requirement, he did not respond.
Rumours have arisen that the party was said to have opted for Zuma after running out of options since former Chief Justice Mogoeng Mogoeng was said to have turned down the offer.
However political analysts have indicated that Zuma did not have to be president of the country again to implement the objectives of the MK Party, because the president of the governing party does not necessarily have to be the president of the country to implement party agenda.
As long as the party deployees implement their conferences’ resolutions, which become government policies, Zuma could run the country from outside Parliament, with some analysts saying that it would be good that the president would have to account to the party leadership, which was not happening in a current form where the state president was also the party president.