The more things change, the more they stay the same. Even though Jacob Zuma and Trump are no longer in power, the similarities between the two of them don’t seem to end.
I noted the similarities between the two men on a few previous occasions, for example, their dictatorial tendencies, their moral ambiguity and their alleged criminal flexibility.
But we must never forget that both men are also dangerously charismatic, able to tune into undercurrents of discord and effectively connect pockets of political discontent with their persuasive rhetoric.
It’s that ability that has led to both of them facing legal sanctions stemming from their time in power.
Zuma for allegedly ruling over a gang of corrupt misfits who plundered our coffers; and Trump for very nearly sparking a coup in a country that has become used to policing coups in other countries.
Curiously, I have heard it argued that neither man should be prosecuted as it will split our respective countries in half.
In fact, I have heard some American commentators threatening civil war if Trump is, indeed, impeached.
Locally, I have heard some say that if Zuma is forced before the Zondo Commission of Inquiry this week, it will split the ANC down the middle.
I think this is utter nonsense, as the election of Zuma and Trump is evidence that these splits have existed for a long time already.
Yes, their prosecution will cause more tremors along those fault-lines, but the alternative is far worse to contemplate.
While prosecuting them will undoubtedly agitate one side of the political fence, ignoring what they did while in office will send a very clear message to both sides: that democratically elected leaders can commit any crime, do whatever they like without fear of consequences.
After having caused the havoc that they did, they now have the audacity to shift blame for our social divisions onto the shoulders of right-minded people determined to see justice.
This is nothing short of blackmail of hypocritical proportions.
Both men accuse the very same democratic systems that brought them to power, of now conspiring against them.
It is their own narcissistic, self-serving, morally corrupt manipulation, and indifference to their citizens and their oaths that is reaching its timely conclusion.
Not prosecuting them will lead to more leaders like them.