Unable to do it themselves, it seems technology has forced some sterk gevriet leaders to humble themselves.
If it wasn’t for modern technology, it would’ve been near-impossible for the ANC to physically remove Ace Magashule from a meeting that he was not meant to attend.
Magashule is technically suspended as the party’s Secretary-General, but in a show of egotistical defiance, he made himself comfortable in front of his computer and proceeded to log on to Saturday’s National Executive Committee virtual meeting.
Believing that he had reversed his own suspension by appealing the decision, Magashule was convinced he could attend the meeting, which by the way, had been convened by him.
So it must have been a terrible slap in the face when 10 minutes into the meeting, he was abruptly cut off.
Had it been a conventional meeting, I can assure you that it would’ve been a lot harder to get him to leave, especially if he had had supporters at the gates.
It may have resulted in a violent confrontation between different factions.
Covid-19 protocols saved us from such a spectacle, but didn’t save him from the humiliation. Cyril Ramaphosa and his executive can thank the internet for serving Magashule an ace.
But he could easily have avoided this crushing blow, by simply obeying the dictates of the party of which he is a leader.
I am convinced that he would’ve readily supported this step-aside order, if it was directed at someone else.
Does he not understand how it looks for him that he is refusing to step aside, until he is able to deal with the very serious criminal charges against him?
Why is he so determined to remain in his position and soil his party’s image in the process?
Stepping aside would give his party an opportunity to focus on its reputation, without having to defend him at every press conference.
But it would also give him the opportunity to focus all his energy on proving his claimed innocence, vindicate himself and come back stronger.
Now he just looks like a guilty man, desperate to cling to power.
And who gave him this terrible advice anyway?
He spent weeks canvassing the opinions of former presidents and I had high hopes that common sense would prevail, when I saw that he had met with Thabo Mbeki.
But then he also met with Jacob Zuma, so yeah…
Another power-hungry populist refusing to bow out of the spotlight gracefully was dealt a crushing blow by the internet.
Already deprived of his Twitter and YouTube accounts for good, Facebook has upheld its ban on Donald Trump indefinitely.
Even though he was known for tweeting around the clock, Facebook was Trump’s preferred and most effective propaganda tool.
It is where he fired up his followers with deranged disinformation and fed his own narcissism.
Although he is reportedly working on his own social media platform, without Facebook and Twitter, Trump’s feared 2024 presidential bid is pretty much dead in the water.
It seems that social media giants are finally starting to appreciate the influence that they wield in the real world.
While most of us use it for a bit of fun, the Trumps of the world use it to manipulate the ignorant, destabilise societies and poke at stereotypical suspicions, until they metastasise into hatred and violence.
Being public companies, Facebook and others focus squarely on profit, but having stolen advertising revenue away from other conventional media, means they also share the traditional responsibility that those media have always understood: with the power of having people’s attention, comes the awesome responsibility of protecting them from charlatans.
And that means viciously guarding against getting hijacked as loud hailers for Trump and other mad men.