Ex-president Jacob Zuma’s sudden debut on social media may not be all that it seems with experts saying Zuma is using the platform to create sympathy for himself in a strategy to improve his current standing and perhaps even to create a new political party
Analysts are suspicious of Jacob Zuma using social media in an attempt to gain public support for a hidden agenda, which might even include forming a new political party.
Taking a leaf from Donald Trump’s book, ex-president Jacob Zuma has been using social media to give his image a ‘good guy’ makeover in an attempt to regain the public’s sympathy.
Analysts are suspicious that the attempt is the first steps in a strategic campaign against his opposers.
The biggest target for his campaign is appealing to the youth on social media platform Twitter.
Speaking to The Citizen, experts have revealed that Zuma had realised the extent of the trouble he was in after the High Court ruling that he will be held accountable for his own legal costs in numerous criminal cases against him.
In a bid to win support he has apparently adopted an old Marxist strategy of taking the moral high ground over his enemies.
Andre Duvenhage, a political analyst has said the former president is in a struggle for survival.
“To him, politics is one big struggle where you must never give up. He is using the strategy where you win moral high ground by identifying something bad to compare yourself with, so as to show that you are not that bad,” Duvenhage had said to The Citizen.
Speaking in a recent video post, Zuma had claimed the move to make him cover his own costs had been the result of him being targeted.
Zuma had also lamented the lack of consistency of the judges who had given contradicting judgments against him.
“He is using the politics of dialectics to define moral high ground for himself, but there is something bigger than this that he is up to,” Duvenhage said.
Clive Simpkins, a reputational strategy expert, said that Zuma was attempting to remain relevant by using Twitter to air his complaints.
Simpkins said that the ex-president had realised he had easy access to a receptive audience.
“He is using Twitter as a way of airing his grievances. At the same time he is throwing the cat among the pigeons for the other parties – especially the ANC – and this way he wants to shift the public perceptions considering his views or what he is posting on social media.”
Simpkins credited Zuma’s approach as a very effective strategy and a clever way to remain in the limelight but questioned the success of his attempts as only 13% of the country used the platform.
“He had realised he can influence the young people who are on Twitter the most,” Simpkins said. “All of this is a disruptive mechanism so as to influence the public opinion.”
According to the expert the former president is aiming to project a positive image of himself.
“This is not about the ANC, but it’s about Zuma himself. Remember, there is too much at stake for him should he lose his trial. He faces very serious charges in court and to deal with this he must get public sympathy and have a good image,” Simpkins said.
Duvenhage also claimed Zuma has a bigger hidden agenda, claiming that there are indications that he could be planning a new political party.
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