Columns 12.9.2018 08:15 am

Voters allow crooked politicians to flourish

Former president Jacob Zuma walks out of the Randburg Magistrate’s court alongside his son Duduzane Zuma following the postponement of the younger Zuma’s court case, 23 August 2018. Picture: Refilwe Modise

Former president Jacob Zuma walks out of the Randburg Magistrate’s court alongside his son Duduzane Zuma following the postponement of the younger Zuma’s court case, 23 August 2018. Picture: Refilwe Modise

Look how long we’ve put up with Jacob Zuma, for which we are now reaping a recession.

Why do politicians the world over act the way they do? We’ve come to know those entering the world of politics are a specific breed. They start out with great enthusiasm. Then the realities of life kick in, their keenness wanes and is replaced by self-interest, and in too many cases it’s associated with corruption.

Rubbing shoulders with crooks must take its toll. Ducking and diving between the law and the media are burdensome, placing strain on their lives, both mentally and physically.

This explains why politicians act funny and come up with ludicrous policy utterances of no real value, making them fodder for decadent cartoonists. I reckon it’s a questionable lifestyle affecting their thought processes.

I happened to come across a piece in a highly-rated UK magazine about research carried out by a columnist who found that of the 600-odd British MPs elected between 2010 and 2015, 12% got divorced while serving in parliament. Of the 307 Conservatives, 32 saw their marriages end, as did 10% of Labour MPs. For the Lib Dems, it was 12%, and of the six SNP MPs elected in 2010, four split up with their spouses.

The SNP’s marital troubles were particularly complicated by the fact that two of its MPs had been having affairs with the same female journalist, though not at the same time. Mental disorders and alcoholism also featured.

And hey, the US has Donald Trump, a crazed tweeter, often making disastrous decisions.

You’d probably say our parliamentarians don’t feature as their personal lives appear exemplary. True, our baddies only dabble in corruption. No matter, they’re all dysfunctional characters of little use to the nations they represent.

In fact, politicians co-exist in seriously afflicted political systems. And what’s more, we, the voters, allow them to flourish. Look how long we’ve put up with Zuma, for which we are now reaping a recession. And he’s still beating the drum at secret meetings to nail president Cyril Ramaphosa.

How will we react to this news? Probably remain mum and hope it goes away. As usual.

Groucho Marx got it right: “Politics is the art of looking for trouble, finding it everywhere, diagnosing it incorrectly, and applying the wrong remedies.”

Cliff Buchler.

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