Zuma Appeals Exclusion From May Vote in South Africa

Former South African president Jacob Zuma has lodged an appeal against the decision by electoral officials to bar him from participating in the upcoming elections in May.

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The electoral commission disqualified Zuma, who is campaigning for a new opposition party, due to a contempt of court conviction in 2021. However, Zuma’s lawyers argue that the conviction was a result of civil proceedings and should not disqualify him from running.

The court papers state that the electoral commission had no valid grounds to infringe upon Zuma’s political rights since he was neither accused nor charged with a criminal offense.

The general elections in South Africa are expected to be highly competitive, with the ruling African National Congress (ANC) facing challenges and the possibility of losing its parliamentary majority for the first time since the end of apartheid. Zuma’s new party, uMkhonto we Sizwe (MK), named after the ANC’s former armed wing, is aiming to exploit the ANC’s weaknesses and has gained support, particularly in Zuma’s home province of KwaZulu-Natal.

Despite facing corruption allegations, Zuma remains popular, especially among the Zulu population. The electoral commission’s decision is pending review, and tensions between the ANC and MK have escalated, with legal battles over disqualification and the use of the MK name.

The court is expected to rule on Zuma’s exclusion from the race in the coming week.

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