Zuma's MK Party Wants to Block the South African Parliament and Accuses Electoral Fraud - Latest Global News

Zuma’s MK Party Wants to Block the South African Parliament and Accuses Electoral Fraud

By Tannur Anders

JOHANNESBURG (Reuters) – Former South African President Jacob Zuma’s uMkhonto we Sizwe (MK) party has asked the country’s Supreme Court to prevent the newly elected parliament from meeting this week, arguing that there was electoral fraud in the May 29 vote, it said on Tuesday.

The National Assembly is scheduled to meet on Friday so that MPs can take their oath of office and elect their speaker, his deputy and the country’s president.

The challenge from MK comes at a time when South Africa is facing political uncertainty unlike any other in 30 years of democracy, with no clarity about who will govern the country when the dust of the elections settles.

The African National Congress (ANC), which had been in power since the end of apartheid in 1994, lost its majority but remains the largest party and is now negotiating with a number of other parties that pursue diametrically opposed political goals.

MK came in a surprisingly strong third place with 14.6% of the vote and 58 seats in the 400-seat chamber. Despite its success, however, the party claimed electoral fraud and threatened to boycott the new parliament.

“The 2024 elections were anything but free and fair,” said Sihle Ngubane, MK’s general secretary, in the party’s application to the Constitutional Court, which it distributed to the media via a WhatsApp group on Tuesday.

The Independent Electoral Commission and other parties said the election was free and fair and that there had been no significant electoral fraud in South Africa in the past.

A newcomer to South African politics, MK gained momentum after Zuma announced his support for the party in December and soon became its leader.

The party advocates a change to the constitution, the expropriation of white farmers’ land and the nationalization of all natural resources, including mines.

Zuma, a longtime ANC pillar, fell out with the party after a series of corruption scandals forced him to resign as president in 2018. In 2021, he was jailed for refusing to testify at a public inquiry that found there had been widespread public sector corruption during his time in office.

Zuma continues to enjoy a large and loyal following, particularly in his populous home province of KwaZulu-Natal, where MK received 45.9 percent of the vote compared to a humiliating 17.6 percent for the ANC.

The name MK, which means “spear of the nation” in Zulu, was also the name of the ANC’s armed wing during apartheid, but an attempt by the ANC to stop its rival from using this name and brand before the election was unsuccessful.

(Reporting by Tannur Anders and Alexander Winning, text by Estelle Shirbon, editing by Alexandra Hudson)

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