Tuesday, May 06, 2014

The ANC needs to lose

The ANC is poised to win another national election in South Africa, just as it has in every election since apartheid ended. Each time its margin of victory shrinks, so the results might still be reported as a "loss" or "rebuke" of Mandela's party, but it still is going to get over 60 percent of the vote, which would be considered a blow-out victory anywhere else.

And that, in a nutshell, is the ANC's biggest problem. It's also South Africa's problem. Any party that has a lock on victory like that over a long period of time because of its historical success (and not its performance in the present) is going to become increasingly cronyfied and corrupt. In other words, the ANC is becoming the Congress Party of India.

The only way to save the ANC is for it to lose. Really lose, not just win less definitively than it has before. Another party needs to take power and represent serious competition for the ANC for several election cycles (not just a single "protest vote" election).