In the wake of President Jacob Zuma saying over the weekend that he was not afraid of going back to jail, the hashtag #PrisonerInWaiting did not trend despite Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) leader Julius Malema pinning the following tweet to his timeline.
He was not talking to us,he was having deep conversations with himself in preparation of unavoidable long time in prison. #PrisonerInWaiting
— Julius Sello Malema (@Julius_S_Malema) November 6, 2016
Most of the other tweets trying to popularise the hashtag were from other top members of the party, such as Floyd Shivambu, though there were a few from lesser-known Twitter users.
FACT: The Lawyer's employed as a legal advisor not Mouth of the #PrisonerInWaiting. Zuma was given a chance but chose to cough & sneeze.
— Floyd Shivambu (@FloydShivambu) November 6, 2016
— Jama ka Sjado (@banisa) November 7, 2016
I think the statement made by the president meant the other way round. He is actually scared of it #prisonerinwaiting
— Mabobo_ZA (@Doyi_ZA) November 6, 2016
— Independence child (@UkambaCha) November 7, 2016
— Fanyana Mofokeng (@FanyanaMofokeng) November 6, 2016
This user, like others, was simply confused by it:
#PrisonerInWaiting who is this Prisoner in waiting?
— ntombothando (@ntombothando) November 7, 2016
Speaking to thousands of supporters at the ANC’s celebration rally in Dumbe, KwaZulu-Natal, Zuma lamented the country’s opposition parties and civil society organisations for mounting court battles against him, saying they were using a tactic employed by the former apartheid government.
“People think democracy is done at courts. They never mention the will of the majority‚ they always talk about courts. They never even speak to us about democratic debates because they know we are good at debates.
“They think by going to courts they are intimidating the ANC. We are not going to be intimidated; even if it means I get arrested today‚ I am used to it.
“I have spent a lot of time in jail‚ you cannot threaten me with jail time. I am not scared of jail; I have been there‚” Zuma said to loud cheers from the gathered crowd.