One name that stands out in the inglorious end of the former South African President Jacob Zuma is a young man named Julius Sello Malema. Malema a former youth leader of the African National Congress (ANC) is the founder of the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF), a party he established in 2013 after he was unceremoniously excommunicated from the ANC.
Malema, 36 joined the ANC at age nine and became the leader of the ANC youth wing at the age of 27 – a position he held between 2008 and 2012. Just a year after his ouster from the ANC, his new party went on to win 24 seats in the parliament at the 2014 general elections.
Malema who has been described by Jacob Zuma as the “future leader” of South Africa grew through the ranks in ANC. During his time in the ANC, Malema was very outspoken within the party and around the nation of South Africa.
At the moment, Nigeria is at crossroads, things are not working as expected, the youth through the #NotTooYoungToRun campaign have championed its right to political office. As laudable as the campaign is, the youth are yet to make its impact felt in the political process as majority are not registered members of any of the existing political parties.
The dearth of youth participation in the political process has left majority of the parties to cede the positions of the youth leaders to men in their 60s.
The legislative arms at the federal and state level ought to learn from Malema. As a member of parliament, Malema and members of the EFF continuously provided the needed opposition to the Zuma administration. This confrontation led to his suspension from the house severally, a situation which did not deter he and his party, but rather made their voice heard and their presence felt across the country. Jacob Zuma will certainly not forget the role Malema played in his ouster.
Although he is not without his flaws and inadequacies, Malema’s actions have charted a course for himself. We need to learn from him.