The role of charismatic leadership in the continent, the ability to inspire loyalty towards oneself to validate authority has yet again found shape in young dynamic leaders in the continent. Among the most familiar faces, is Julius Malema.
Undoubtedly, Julius Malema is the most unapologetic political figure in the present-day evolution of Pan Africanism. However, the history of such calibre of leaders in the continent has been marked by numerous fierce assassinations mostly, linked to the imperialist powers. Julius Malema did himself warned that he is conscious of the plots by the “White People” to eliminate him.
The subsequent are similarities between Julius Malema and Patrice Lumumba, which could lead to the assassination of the former as the latter was.
Ideological: Akin to Patrice Lumumba, Julius Malema is among the few prominent political figures in the continent who manifests a clear understanding and appreciation of a political ideology that sought to address the plight of the masses. He is a Communist- Marxist, an anti-capitalist. This immediately classified him as an enemy of the Imperialist Powers, the so-called great capitalist nations. Patrice Lumumba was assassinated on accusation of adopting the socialists’ ideology. Both of them are strong Pan Africanists.
Radicalism: Julius Malema shares yet another disposition with Lumumba, the two are both radicals, often describe as fearless and seeking immediate result in their pursuits. In December 1959, Lumumba was jailed for leading a violent riot. Malema has been dragged to court, and convicted on multiple occasions including on hate speech but remains defiant on his radical character.
National Wealth: The most constant and echoed call by Patrice Lumumba was his demand that “Congo’s vast mineral wealth (exploited by Belgium and Euro-American multinational firms) benefit Congolese first”. Hardly, does the speech of Malema end, devoid of a demand for the wealth of South Africa be given to the people of South Africa. He considers the capitalist establishment as “exploiters of the people”. In fact, the nomenclature of his party, Economic Freedom Fighter (EFF) is a clear suggestion of his stands on equitable distribution of national wealth. In a country deeply entrenched in racial discrimination and economic inequality, Malema’s lifetime goal is to see the appropriation of land without compensation in the “former” apathy state.
Man of the People: Lumumba was always a man of the people, his ability to connect with the locals was one of his biggest weapons and until days leading to his final arrest and execution instead of hasting to escape from his preys; Lumumba was “touring villages and making conversation with the local”. This is yet a shared character with Julius Malema. Malema has a unique ability to connect with the locals. Having been brought up in the same meagre conditions, he understands the needs of the locals and thus fines it easy to connect with them.
Confrontation of Imperialists: Here lies death! Many have described it as a suicidal mission. However, Julius Malema as indications have it so far; continues to confront the imperial powers over the fate of this country and his people, a similar move that led to the assassination of Patrice Lumumba. How far the capitalists will tolerant being continuingly expose on their corrupt and exploitative acts by Julius Malema remains to be determined.
What is evident to the writer of this piece is that the destiny of a revolutionary is much at the mercy of death.