World Bulletin / News Desk
South Africa's ruling ANC party, which has dominated the country's politics since the end of apartheid, has begun its search for a new leader to succeed President Jacob Zuma.
The contenders will face each other at the African National Congress' (ANC) 54th national elective conference in December when Zuma is expected to stand down as party chief.
The likely frontrunners are outgoing African Union chairwoman Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, who is Zuma's former wife, and Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa.
The victor will then be the party's candidate for president in 2019's general election.
The ANC's powerful women's league opened the campaign for the party's top job when earlier this month it called for a female leader -- a clear endorsement of Dlamini-Zuma.
Dlamini-Zuma, who has four children with President Zuma, is the head of the African Union Commission.
She is not seeking a second mandate for the role, fuelling speculation that she hopes to succeed her ex-husband at the ANC's helm -- though she has yet to declare her candidacy.
The succession battle is seen as crucial for Zuma's future because if a political adversary is chosen it could mean that he is forced to step aside before the end of his term, according to political analyst Ralph Mathekga.
Zuma is also facing a slew of corruption allegations and it will largely fall to his successor as president -- which is likely to be whoever is chosen as ANC party leader -- to determine the vigour with which he is pursued once out of office.
"He is trying to have his wife run for ANC president, first of all as she is highly unlikely to go after him on some of the corruption charges," said Mathekga.
Zuma appeared to throw his weight behind 67-year-old Dlamini-Zuma -- who has held a string of ministerial posts including the foreign and home affairs portfolios -- earlier this month when he told public radio that the ANC "is ready" to elect a woman as its leader.
But independent analyst Daniel Silke warned that "getting a stamp of approval by Jacob Zuma" may not "offer Mrs Zuma a great advantage".
afpGüncelleme Tarihi: 19 Ocak 2017, 09:32