The forest kept shrinking but the trees kept voting for the axe because they thought that, with its long wooden handle, the axe was one of them.
And now, shiver my timbers, the South African forest will be voting in national and provincial elections again on 8 May 2019.
This beauty contest between 48 parties proves South Africa
is a democracy but it also has some comical aspects.
Although I respect President Ramaphosa is it not a theatrical
farce that most of the votes will probably go to his leading party with so many
corrupt members who, with no approval, expropriated money for themselves? (Interestingly,
the French word farce means stuffing as in the stuffing of a turkey.
I notice many turkeys in politics stuffing taxpayer money in their own pockets.
Bonjour Monsieur Molière.)
I agree land expropriation is historically complex but is
the policy of the ANC and the EFF on this not satirically funny? Voters, vote for us!
Why? So that, without compensation, we can take away the property of those
other minority voters who pulled the unfortunate short straw to produce food
for you! Is satire not wonderful? Show me a country where a seriously
recognised party leader would sing: Voters, vote for my party and then
we will shoot to kill all those other food producing voters. We will axe the
voters we dislike. Vote for the gun. Paf-paf. Show me any country where a
recognised party leader shoots an assault rifle on stage in public and never
gets charged. Okay, aside from Saddam Hussein.
I respect DA leader Maimane but his party had an internal
quarrel which many outsiders found farcical and so confusingly boring that a splinter
party arose with the name Good – probably to explain that Good’s candidates are
not as badly corrupt as those other ones in the Parliament Comedy Club.
South Africans are national herd voter with no individual
candidate choice, just a party choice. And each party’s own internal politics
determine which individuals are finally elected. So the final list of a party’s
parliamentarians could have many individuals who rub each other’s back with one
hand while holding the other hand behind their backs in a cupped manner for
Maybe South Africa needs a new comical protest party with
equally bizarre policy proposals as those I see in the pot for 8 May. But where
in the world can one find good examples?
Let us start with the United Kingdom where a far-sighted man, Screaming Lord Sutch founded the Official Monster Raving Loony Party and clocked up losses in more than 40 elections.
His slogan was: “Vote for insanity; you know it makes sense.”
He proposed bringing back the village idiot, that joggers and the
unemployed should be forced to power a gigantic treadmill to generate cheap
electricity (are you listening Eskom?) and that January and February should be
banned to shorten winter. Also that fish should be bred in a European wine lake
so they could be caught already pickled and that dogs should be forced to eat
phosphorescent food so that one could see their droppings at night. I believe
this proves there is always a ray of light in toilet humour.
Screaming Lord Sutch died in 1999 but his dream lives on under the competent leadership of Howling Laud Hope who, with his cat Catmando, became joint leader of the Official Monster Raving Loony Party. In 2017 Howling Laud Hope stood against the current British Prime Minister Theresa May in her constituency and finished a meritorious ninth out of 13 candidates. However, he ran into trouble after being successfully elected in a town council election because his party’s policy was that, if you were successfully elected, you were immediately expelled. Fortunately for Laud Hope the rule was changed (probably with a deciding vote from Catmando) and so he became mayor of Ashburton.
The most famous satirical candidate for the presidency of
France was Ferdinand Lop (1891- 1974). He promised the elimination of poverty but
only after 10 pm, reducing pregnancy from nine to seven months, providing a pension
for the widow of the Unknown Soldier and to move Paris to the countryside for
fresh air. He also wanted brothels to be nationalised to give prostitutes the
benefits of public servant status. I think bureaucratising prostitution would
be less disruptive than the policy of one of the current South African
satirical parties for 8 May insisting they want to create nationalised civil
servants in the pharmacy sector, in banking, farming, mining and who knows what
America has a perennial candidate on local, state and national levels, a certain Vermin Supreme, who wears a boot as a hat and walks around with a giant toothbrush. Well, why not?
According to him all politicians are vermin and he is Vermin
Supreme. Vermin supports zombie apocalypse awareness and video surveillance
through two-way bathroom mirrors. He wants to legally bind people to brush
their teeth and he would establish detention centres for preventive dental
maintenance. His policy calls for a free
pony for every American so that motor vehicles could be banned and the planet
not be destroyed by fossil fuels. Vermin’s proposal is in line with the May 8
election platform of South Africa’s Black First Land First Party that the
recent cyclone in Africa was an ecological “assault” by the white West and that
the USA and European Union should pay reparations for “mass murder”.
Ecuador had a strange political footnote (yes it is a word
play). In 1967 a foot powder company advertised its product, Pulvapies, as a
candidate for the city council of Picoazá (a town with a current population of 19,000).
The foot powder was elected as councillor and, quite interestingly, won more
votes than any other candidate. One small step for man, one giant leap for foot
I think, if South African politicians stood as individuals
and not as jobs-for-pals party list members, many of them would be roundly
stomped out by any foot powder.
In a protest action during 1959 a candidate with a South
African link drew more than 100,000 votes and was elected city councillor of Sao
Paulo in Brazil. Her name was Cacareco and
she was a five-year old black rhinoceros in the city zoo. Tragically her political
career was cut short when she was disqualified but her success led to the Rhinoceros
Party of Canada whose founding leader was Cornelius the First, supposedly a
descendant of Cacareco. Two legged candidates of the Rhinoceros Party rammed
their way through three decades of elections with important promises such as that
they would revoke gravity, promote higher education by building taller schools
and recognise illiteracy as an official language. They also stood for the abolition of the
environment because it takes up so much space and is difficult to keep clean.
They promised to sell the Canadian Senate on an antiques auction, to transfer
the national debt to Visa and to ban both guns and butter because both can kill
And finally, the USA has a perennially special presidential
1975 the journalist Arthur Hoppe proposed a certain Nobody as candidate for the
American presidency. Why? The answer was and is: “Nobody is the best candidate.
Nobody cares. Nobody keeps his election promises. Nobody tells the truth. Nobody
will defend your rights.” In July 2015 President Obama even stated at the
African Union in Addis Ababa: “Nobody should be president for life.” In the
last US presidential candidacy debate of 2016 against Hillary Clinton current
US President Donald Trump lauded Mister Nobody by stating: “Nobody has more
respect for women than I do”.
With such support from both Obama and Trump this Nobody chap
sounds to me like a strong potential leader for the next South African general
Rhynie Greeff has a doctorate in commerce and a background in international business related to diplomacy, chemicals, minerals and telecommunications.
Remember to come back every second week for Jet-Letter by Rhynie Greeff, exclusive to TheSouthAfrican.com.
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