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Judge Presidential Hopeful Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma On Her Work, Not Her Gender

It is no surprise she is being judged solely on her gender and husband over her political accomplishments. Just ask certain Hillary Clinton...

10/01/2017 04:58 SAST | Updated 10/01/2017 04:58 SAST
SIPHIWE SIBEKO / Reuters
Outgoing Chair of the AU Commission Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma welcomes Former U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton during a courtesy visit in Pretoria August 7, 2012.

The campaign to become the African National Congress' next president at the national conference in December is now in full swing following the ANC's 105th-anniversary celebrations this past Sunday.

Cyril Ramaphosa and Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma have emerged as the clear front-runners in what is sure to be a hotly contested presidential race. Ramaphosa has received endorsements from the countries trade union community while Dlamini-Zuma now enjoys the support of the ANC Women's League.

Both will face stiff scrutiny throughout the year with Ramaphosa still having to contend with the events of Marikana and Dlamini-Zuma her inaction regarding the Mbeki aids debacle. However, it has become clear that Dlamini-Zuma still has a major liability hanging over her head in the form of President Jacob Zuma and the patriarchal society we live in.

In a recent Reuters article title, it became clear that the Chairperson of the African Union Commission was going to be judged by her association to her ex-husband over what she has done in her career. This is a mistake in the way she'll be vetted for the party's top position by the media and society as a whole.

It should come as no surprise that a woman seeking a top political job should be judged solely on her gender and husband over her political accomplishments, just ask a certain Hillary Clinton about the glass ceiling. Dlamini-Zuma is an accomplished politician in her own right and should be afforded the chance to prove herself by shedding the ex-Mrs Zuma tagline.

Like Mrs Clinton, Dlamini-Zuma is an extremely experienced political operative and certainly the most experienced to run for the ANC's top job. She has served in all four ANC presidents cabinets as minister of heath, foreign affairs and home affairs. Her most recent and current post has been to lead the African Union.

It is her time in these posts that she should be judged against. Her marriage to the president is an unnecessary hindrance. The Zuma name has become synonymous with scandal yet she has remained relatively scandal-free. Should she ascend to the presidency of the party she might be exactly what the ANC needs to build a strong campaign in 2019 and restore faith in the party's leadership structures.