“No life should be lost in my name and also the ANC should never be divided in my name. I have therefore come to the decision to resign as president of South Africa with immediate effect,” the words of Jacob Zuma, the embattled leader of South Africa since 2009.
Zuma was on the brink of being kicked out of office via a vote of no confidence scheduled for Thursday as the ruling African National Congress (ANC) and opposition lawmakers rallied against his continued stay in office.
The ANC recalled Zuma as president to pave way for his deputy Cyril Ramaphosa to assume the post ahead of elections due for 2019. Zuma on Wednesday responded to the recall by saying he needed to be given explanations on why he was being recalled. He also accused the party of forcing him to resign despite being a law-abiding member.
BREAKING: Jacob Zuma resigns …— Nii Akrofi (@niismart) February 14, 2018
“No life should be lost in my name and also the ANC should never be divided in my name. I have therefore come to the decision to resign as president of the South Africa with immediate effect” – #Zuma #ZumaExit
Zuma took over from Thabo Mbeki in 2009 and appointed the third president Kgalema Mothlanthe as his deputy in his first term (2009 – 2014) before he picked Cyril Ramaphosa – the new ANC leader as deputy for his second term.
Ramaphosa won the ANC presidency race in December 2017 beating former African Union Chairperson Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma in a close contest. Zuma backed Dlamini-Zuma, his ex-wife to succeed him but Ramaphosa won the bid.
Zuma has been South Africa’s most embattled leader having been severally accused of corruption by opponents and the courts. Several court decisions have slammed him for misappropriation of public funds.
Anti-Zuma protests have become very rampant in the last few years whiles party elders have also impressed on Zuma to resign. He survived no less than eight vote of no confidence votes in a bid to have him impeached.
Young Zuma as a freedom fighter
Born on 12 April 1942 in Nkandla, Kwa-Zulu Natal, Zuma joined the African National Congress (ANC) at the age of 17, becoming an active member of its military wing, Umkhonto We Sizwe, in 1962.
Convicted of conspiring to overthrow the apartheid government, Zuma was imprisoned for 10 years on the notorious Robben Island, alongside Nelson Mandela.
When he was freed from prison, Zuma left South Africa for Mozambique, then Zambia and rose through the ANC ranks to become a member of the executive committee.
He returned home in 1990 and was one of the ANC leaders negotiating with the white-minority government when the ban on ANC was removed.
His Zulu roots and charming personality are credit for having endeared him to South Africans throughout his long political career.