The media reports that indicated some former members of Congress of The People (COPE) have defected to the African National Congress (ANC) are not so much a shock. In fact, their defection is so immature and stupid, at its best, I think.
John Ngcebetsha, Onkgopotse JJ Tabane, Hlomla Dandala, Zwai Bala and Lunga Kepe went crawling back to the ANC this week after things did not go their way in COPE. Not surprisingly, the ANC welcomed back the group with open arms and with the party’sGautengsecretary David Makhura saying they “expect more former leaders and members of COPE to come back to their organisation in the run-up to the local government elections and the ANC centenary”. Both Makhura and the party’s provincial chairman Paul Mashatile said they were holding defection talks with more politicians who have since lost confidence in COPE and wanted to rejoin the ruling party.
Ngcebetsha is quoted as saying that his “colleagues [in politics]” decided to jump the ship from COPE to ANC after the former, plagued by leadership battles and factionalism, failed in its mandate to be an alternative opposition party. He said “Congress of the People was founded on the clear principles of the Freedom Charter and on a clear mandate to become a worthy alternative to the ruling party. That project has failed”, according to The Times report.
This group of five “disgruntled political colleagues” is like a man who divorces his wife for, say, infidelity which often leads to an “irretrievable breakdown of trust” between a married couple, for another relationship and when that new relationship does not work out – he then returns to the same ex-wife he left previously and who he has accused of many things.
And in a situation like this, whatever the motives, I personally do not think that that is the best way to solve problems. This is because in marriage, as in political relationships, when there are problems the two parties have to sit down like mature and responsible people and sort their problems out. And it can only be when the two can no longer and are not able to compromise that separation – or divorce in a case of marriage – would be the only way out.
But in the case of these “disgruntled political colleagues” it is not clear and neither have they made it known as to whether they have tried at first to sort out issues with ANC or whatever political party they were affiliated to before they went and joined COPE. Had this been done, then I think that would have been better, sort of. But as we now know and have known, this is not the case.
Further, we do not know why they left the COPE to rejoin ANC and it is not clear as to whether the same pair tried to raise issues they may have had difficulty in understanding while they were still members of COPE. Again, had this been done, it would have been better.
Frankly, whether they tried to sort their issues with their parties before they left or defected to another or not, will remain unknown. However, it is important to ask: what do these defections from one party to another make of this group of “disgruntled political colleagues”.
Is the group just a bunch of followers and not leaders? What contributions do they make to their party and do they make any contribution at all if they keep politic-hopping like this? For how long with they keep “jumping ship”?
And for Ngcebetsha to say “a vote for COPE under the current scenario unfolding in that party is a vote for the DA” is quite a disgrace and disturbing especially for someone like him who has been politic-hobbing like a lost “political sheep”. He continued to claim that a “back-room pact with the DA has been brewing for a long time and it appears to be foisted on the ordinary member of COPE and unsuspecting potential voter”.
One just wonders if this group – and many others, including COPE’s former Northern Cape leader, Neville Mompati, who was announced by ANC general Secretary to have defected to ANC, and who have been gone away for a long time and have even at some point thought the ANC to be their “home” as ANC Western Cape chairperson Mcebisi Skwatsha once said – has not left the ruling party to join COPE because they “stopped liking it” but that they were “fooled into joining COPE” as one Nomawethu Biko once said.
Biko, another disgruntled ANC member who left the party for COPE and then later went back to the ruling party, said she “didn’t leave the ANC because I stopped liking it, but I was fooled into joining COPE. No one asked me to come back, I just did it out of my own free will and I feel very happy to be back at home were I belong.” And maybe, just maybe, these “disgruntled political colleagues” are as much “happy to be back at home [in the ANC]” where they “belong”. Really?
This, I think, is kak politics.
So this group of “disgruntled political colleagues” and many others who have left before them should have stayed with COPE and fixed it to make it what they believed and thought it would become and was meant to me: an alternative opposition party.