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South African Zuma Faces Removal from Leadership in New Party

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As South Africa approaches its upcoming election, former President, Jacob Zuma is contending with the challenge of being ousted from leadership positions in his new political party, uMkhonto we Sizwe (MK).

State broadcaster SABC reported on Tuesday that there is an ongoing dispute about Zuma’s leadership role within the party, just three weeks before the national vote.

Zuma, president from 2009 until he was forced to resign in 2018 amid corruption scandals, announced last December that he would not support the ruling African National Congress (ANC) in the upcoming election. He opted instead to back MK, a more minor party named after the ANC’s former armed wing.

Polls suggest that MK, benefiting from Zuma’s support, could secure between 8% and 13% of the vote, positioning it as a potential kingmaker in a coalition government, especially as the ANC risks losing its majority for the first time since 1994.

However, tensions within MK surfaced when Zuma ousted the party’s founder, Jabulani Khumalo, who retaliated by challenging Zuma’s leadership.

Khumalo has appealed to the electoral commission, arguing that Zuma should not be recognised as the party’s leader and should be removed from ballot papers.

The electoral commission, however, has stated its intention to remain neutral in this internal party dispute, recognising Zuma as the registered leader since April 10.

An MK spokesperson affirmed that Zuma is the president of MK and that Khumalo has been expelled from the party. Meanwhile, the ANC has postponed a disciplinary hearing against Zuma, citing security concerns ahead of the elections.

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