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Jacob Zuma Barred From Running In The Upcoming Elections

Former President Jacob Zuma has been disqualified from participating in South Africa’s upcoming general election in May, as confirmed by the country’s electoral commission (IEC). While the IEC did not provide a specific reason, it is widely understood that Zuma’s conviction and subsequent imprisonment for contempt of court in 2021 render him ineligible for candidacy.

Zuma’s allegiance to the new uMkhonto we Sizwe (MK) party poses a potential challenge to the ruling African National Congress (ANC), which has previously suspended him. The 81-year-old, who held the presidency from 2009 to 2018 amid corruption allegations, perceives himself as the legitimate successor to the ANC’s revolutionary heritage.

The ANC’s request to deregister the MK party was dismissed by the electoral commission, allowing Zuma to lead the party’s campaign. However, objections were raised against his potential candidacy for the National Assembly, prompting the electoral commission to uphold the objection.

“In the case of former President Zuma, yes, we did receive an objection, which has been upheld,” stated electoral commission head Mosotho Moepya.

Zuma now has until April 2nd to appeal the decision. MK party spokesperson Nhlamulo Ndlhela indicated the party’s intention to challenge the objection, stating, “We are looking at the merit of that objection, but we will, of course, appeal it.”

Zuma’s disqualification stems not only from his contempt of court conviction but also from facing corruption charges related to a significant arms deal from the 1990s. South Africa’s constitution prohibits individuals with prison sentences exceeding 12 months from contesting elections.

Despite Zuma’s setback, the MK party remains eligible to participate in the May 29th election, according to reports from News24. With several opinion polls suggesting a potential decline in the ANC’s vote share, particularly in Zuma’s stronghold of KwaZulu-Natal, the political landscape of South Africa appears poised for a significant shift in the upcoming election.

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