Game…Set…Match. And the IFP loses

The Inkata Freedom Party is in a state of disarray. They have a crisis in their leadership and are showing in many municipalities in KwaZulu-Natal that their in-fighting is affecting their ability to run these councils – many of them are under administration or floundering under financial mismanagement.

This week they stumbled their way into yet another crisis. They got rid of the one person I feel can actually make a difference. They fired Zanele kaMagwaza-Msibi this week.

I really liked her. She was never afraid to speak to her mind. That’s always a good quality for a politician, I thought. She did a sterling job while mayor of the Zululand District municipality (well, it seemed like it from an outsiders’ point of view) before being fired from that post – no, wait, sorry, she was “redeployed” to the provincial legislature in the same was Mbeki was redeployed from the office of the president. And now she’s been fired completely, and this time they haven’t even used the term “redeployed”.


For me, this is the final nail in the IFP coffin – especially with this happening so close to the local government elections. They have gotten rid of one of their most talented and well-liked representitives, someone who could have really made a difference to the party. She has really fresh ideas and a new perspective, but maybe this is exactly why she got fired…

The IFP – as is well documented – is a party belonging to a certain old man. Like Voldermort, his name shall not be mentioned. Opps… I mentioned one of their names already. In that case, let’s name the other: Mangosuthu Buthelezi, who shall henceforth be called Mango.

Mango doesn’t like change. He has kept around him all sorts of people who support his views and don’t particularly like change either. By not being willing to accept that voters have moved on (unlike the party) they continue to alienate people and diminish their chances of acheiving anything even remotely close to success in the upcoming election.

Mango. Change on his watch? Never.

One of the reasons why Zanele was fired was because she wanted to challenge Mango for the seat. He didn’t like that.  I mean – hell – she’s a woman AND she wants to change things. That’s just not on. Jeez… How can such a thing be allowed… Not on Mango’s watch. Not on Mango’s watch. And again: not on Mango’s watch.

Things are so bad at the IFP at the moment they this election is their final stand. And forget General Cluster, this stand is one that actually matters. They need to get their act together – and quickly.

Here’s what political commentator Nhlanhla Mtaka told me a few weeks ago:

“For the IFP, this year is do-or-die. (They are) in a crisis. Last year was the worst year for them – worse than during apartheid, or in the 1990s. Everyone in the past has tried to destabilise the IFP and put them in trouble. The government tried, their political opponents tried. But they have done it to themselves this year, and they are doing it so perfectly.”

For me, the IFP needs to identify its strong points and pull out from its ranks people who are capable of doing a good job for the party. One of their biggest points are that their supports are fiercely loyal. They must capatalise on this. They have (oops, HAD) Zanele and should have actually used her properly. They currently have as their caucus leader in eThekwini Thembi Nzuza, who is extermely good at what she does. They should fear losing her.

But ultimately, my opinions don’t count. Mango’s do. They always do. And they will never change. And that, my friends, is exactly the problem.

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