South Africa: Zuma’s party MK asks court to stop parliament meeting

Image source, Getty Images

Comment on the photo, Jacob Zuma is the leader of uMkhonto weSizwe – which means spear of the nation

  • author, Barbara Plate Asher and Natasha Booty
  • Role, BBC News

The party led by former South African President Jacob Zuma has asked the country’s highest court to prevent the newly elected National Assembly from meeting for the first time on Friday.

It is an important date because members of Parliament are scheduled to vote to choose the country’s president.

But Zuma’s Umkhonto Wesizwe party is boycotting the session, claiming there were irregularities in last month’s general election – although it has not provided evidence to support this.

Zuma, the former leader of the African National Congress, is an ally-turned-enemy of President Cyril Ramaphosa, who is seeking a second term.

Ramaphosa is the leader of the African National Congress, which lost its parliamentary majority for the first time since taking power at the end of apartheid in 1994.

The African National Congress party received 40% of the votes, which is not enough to govern alone.

It is now participating in talks with other parties and is striving to form a national unity government.

Zuma blames Ramaphosa for his ouster as president in 2018, when the party sacked him partly over corruption allegations.

Last December, Zuma announced that he would campaign for election to the Knesset.

The party’s unexpected strength reduced the ANC’s share of the vote and was a factor behind the ruling party’s poor results.

The MK also emerged as the big winner in Zuma’s home province of KwaZulu-Natal, but failed to secure an outright majority to take control of government there.

It is the only party that called for Ramaphosa to step down.

The main opposition party, the Democratic Alliance, has not confirmed its plans to vote to re-elect Ramaphosa. But the party also did not announce that it would not support him.

He added, “The focus of the negotiations now is on finding solutions to the process of forming governments.” [at national and provincial level]Democratic Alliance spokesman Solly Malatsi told the BBC.

“Ramaphosa is the president of the ANC and this is the knowledge that we are all negotiating with him,” he added.

In legal papers submitted to the Constitutional Court, the MK alleged that the South African Electoral Commission erred in describing the results of May’s general elections as free and fair.

It also says holding the parliamentary session on Friday would be unconstitutional, saying there will not be enough members present.

The party calls on the president to call for another election within 90 days.

It is unclear whether this legal step will have any effect.

Parliamentary officials had previously rejected the MK’s objections, saying his interpretation of the constitution was incorrect, and the chief justice went ahead with announcing the date of the first session.

More on the election results in South Africa:

Image source, Getty Images/BBC

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