Zille challenges Zuma to TV de

Zille challenges Zuma to TV debate ahead of the elections

Helen Zille repudiates Jacob Zuma’s claims of increasing employment for South Africans as she challenges him to a Nick Clegg v Nigel Farrage style national television debate.

Zille challenges Zuma to TV de

zille zumaIn an open letter to President Jacob Zuma, Helen Zille, the leader of the Democratic Alliance, described the president’s recent claim of increased prosperity, first in a 20 Year Review document, and latterly while on the campaign trail, as a slap in the face of the 1.4 million more South Africans who have been unemployed since he came into office in 2009.

Zille has challenged Zuma to a televised national debate about the state of the South African economy, most especially jobs. Urging the president not to duck the debate, Zille said: “A televised debate would strengthen our democracy and public discourse.”

While it is not at all certain whether or not the president, or indeed the ANC, will take up this challenge, in strengthening her case for a live television debate Zille asked her fellow presidential aspirant to yield to the wind of change on the continent of Africa for greater scrutiny, and agree to the first ever presidential debate in South Africa.

Admittedly, a format of debate made popular by the combative Nixon v Kennedy exchange in the 1960 US presidential election may be a high risk strategy for a leader not used to being put on the spot, but in a dispensation where the leaders of Ghana, Sierra-Leone and Kenya in recent elections have submitted themselves to a television debate, perhaps Zille has a strong case for insisting that Zuma should man up and defend his record live on TV.

Citing developments closer to home, Zille said: “You will be particularly interested to know that the Malawi Electoral Commission (MEC) has announced that presidential candidates in the country’s 2014 elections will, for the first time, face each other in three national televised debates. I am sure that you will agree that South African voters should not be denied the opportunity of interrogating our party’s policy positions.”

By Anthony Ojolola

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