Tuesday, May 09, 2006

The zuma verdict

The acquittal of Zuma in SA yesterday leaves a bad taste in the mouth. We may never know whether the sex with the family friend was consensual or not. What we do know now from all the coverage in SA is that for far too many South African men, rape is no big deal. We also know that men like Zuma think a good shower is better protection against HIV-AIDS than wearing a condom. We also know the horrors that can expect women who go to court against rape.

In a country where so many have died from AIDS, a 'leadership' like this is shocking. All along, my suspicion has been that there is a strong Khosa-Zulu tension within the ANC being played out in the trial. Certainly, his support base seems to be nearly 100% KZN in ethnicity. It seems South Africa is no more immune to the blind loyalty of tribalism than elsewhere in Africa. All in all, a sad day for South Africa. Let's hope the upcoming corruption trial nails Zuma for good: how can such an ignorant fool help South Africa advance?

Read an interesting article here.


grace,  10:52 am  

I couldn't believe the judge reasoning that because Zuma's daughter was somewhere in the house, he wouldn't have tried to rape her. Like rape is logical. How about fathers/uncles that molest their own children/relatives while their wives are sleeping next door?

Alaye Scoro 11:48 am  
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Alaye Scoro 11:54 am  

What I am curious about is wehther or not Zuma is as a result of his actions now HIV positive? If he is, then the news better break lest people think showers work in preventing HIV. And if he's not, then some people have alot of explaining to do.

Nkem 5:42 pm  

Grace, I thought the judge's reasoning was a bit flawed as well. He said on balance of probabilities, he didn't think Zuma did it. That's the way the justice systems works, prosecutors have to prove their case beyond reasonable doubt. And rape, sadly, is always a difficult one to prove, and even more difficult when the alleged perpetrator is so prominent. They've been talking about reforming the system here in the UK, which more or less make inebriated women incapable of giving consent. If she's drunk, stay away.

If Zuma should have been found guilty, what is probably at play might be coercion rather than brute force. An instance where the victim felt she couldn't decline his offer for all sorts of different fears. He was/is a powerful man after all, turning down his advances might be equivalent to Joseph the technicolour man turning down Portipha's wife - you get banged up (no pun intended). It isn't "rape" as the law knows it, but it's definitely something which requires legal definition, muddy as the waters will be.

Akin 6:18 pm  

I am no Zuma supporter, just a reviewer of the facts as they are.

We have to come to terms with the way the law and justice works.

As far as this case is concerned, the prosecution were not able to prove beyond reasonable doubt that Zuma did actually commit rape.

The judge did say on balance of probability; with the history of the lady being a serial rape accuser, Zuma's version was more believable.

I did comment elsewhere in Ayoke's blog that bravado, male chauvinism and archaic views did feature greatly to the derision of Zuma, but that does not in effect make him guilty.

I would hope that the prosecution in the corruption trial are prepared and able to exceed the threshold of reasonable doubt - if not - the man is both an innocent man and a free man.

You cannot jail a man for being a fool - that is both wrong and morally reprehensible; neither can we prejudge him before the facts are presented and proven.

grace,  7:16 pm  

A serial rape accuser. I guess it isn't possible that she actually was really raped several times already. Akin, I don't buy that argument one bit.

Akin 2:11 am  


The defence uses many tactics to defend clients accused of rape.

1. Besmirch the character of the accuser
2. Question the veracity of the accuser's account
3. By comparison place the integrity of the accused over the accuser amongst other things.

In the process, they found that the woman had unsuccessfully accused other people of rape.

She may not have been raped all those other times, but after consensual sex might have in a state of remorse or guilt decided it was rape rather than consensual sex.

It is a good thing we are not on the bench.

How can we objectively review facts of a case if we are all carried away with the hysteria of the sensational and have prejudged in acquiescing to mob justice?

We seem to be baying for peripheral catastrophe rather than see that justice be done.

In this case, as far as the legal process is concerned and on balance of the facts before the judge - Mr Zuma is not a guilty man.

uknaija 11:21 am  

Well-said, Akin. I'm no fan of Zuma's either, not the least his idiotic statements and actions- from showering after unprotected sex to his stupid "when you've been in the kitchen peeling onions you wash your hands my dear" statement at the press conference after the acquittal. And I'd hate to think that he still had any chance of leadership. Having said that, though,what's happened is what the law is there for.
I'm not saying it always gets it right, but that's what it's there for. If you feel aggrieved, there's always the possibility of appeal....but trial by media, I can't support...

And Alaye Scoro, no one has ever suggested that having unprotected sex once with someone with HIV automatically means you become HIV positive.....

grace,  11:55 am  

I would agree with the "trial by media" sentiment if it had been supporters of the victim/accuser surrounding the courtroom in hundreds, burning pictures of Zuma, shouting "burn bitch", threatening his life for his role in the trial, etc. I would agree with you if it was any other crime but rape in Africa which is still considered to be the fault of the victim (even if she is even taken seriously in the first place) by the vast majority of Africans, educated or not, living in the west or not.

We should not pretend that it is Zuma, not the victim who received the worst fallback when it comes to public opinion and sentiment. Having people plough through your history of sexual abuse is a lot more personally damaging than corruption accusations. Especially in Africa where the same man will still be re-elected someday, or at least prided as a distinguished statesman. The woman has to leave the country in fear for her life. Zuma has bodyguards and the support of african patriarchal sentiment on his side. "I was a naughty boy," so he said. The woman has the support of a handful of human rights activists and advocates against rape in South Africa, who themselves faced threats for supporting her.

It seems that "facts" are never exactly "facts", depending on who is weighing them. For example, to the judge, fact seems to have been "he wouldn't have tried to rape her since his daughter was in the house."

I don't know conclusively if Zuma is guilty or not, but I don't believe for one minute that the judge was objective.

Terminadelp 3:54 pm  
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Terminadelp 3:55 pm  

uknaija, I'm still hung up on alaye scoro's assertion .... I also have been led to belief that having unprotected sex with an HIV infected person is suicidal .. and shouldn't South Africans be rethinking their choice of voting in a reckless, hypocritical and highly elected AIDS awareness councilman into a potential presidential candidate?

Akin 5:06 pm  


The judge would have you in contempt of court.

You had better be preparing your mitigation statement.

You can represent your fact with additional evidence on appeal to a higher court but never deign to impugn or question the integrity of a judge.

The ego of a judge must always be deftly massaged.

The moment judge subjectivity begins to feature in our minds, our quest for justice would be lost and we might as well have kangaroos for judges and chickens for lawyers.

St Antonym 9:59 pm  

I identify emotionally with Grace's point here, but I think Akin's view is the most reasonable one to take.

Furthermore, in most societies (perhaps South Africa is an exception), an accusation of rape is as good as a conviction- in terms of social consequence.

America is especially bad in this regard. If you have consensual sex with someone, and that person (for whatever reason) claims that you raped her, your life as you know it is over. Even if you have a good lawyer, jury, etc, even if they discount the evidence of your semen, and end up acquiting you. Your life is still over.

On the flip side, if as a woman (or man) you are the victim of rape, your life is seriously damaged. Not necessarily in the realm of public opinion, but emotionally and privately, it's a hell. And that's true regardless of whether the guilty party gets convicted.

It's nasty territory isn't it?

St Antonym 10:32 pm  

I should add: it's much much worse for the victim.

And I don't think there's any good reason to think Zuma's been falsely accused in this case.

But the law is what it is, and the burden of proof rests (not always fairly) on the accuser in cases like this one.

God save Africa from idiotic "leaders."

uknaija 6:47 pm  

terminadelp, it's not suicidal, but it's a risk. It doesn't mean you'll get infected 100 per cent of the time,it's just like crossing a busy street with your eyes closed is a risk or jumping from a tall building...you might...just might get away with it- but it's not a risk rational people would want to take. So don't throw those condoms away just yet :-)

Zuma's HIV status tells us little. Although we can infer that if this is his regular behaviour- chances are that by now.....

grace,  12:30 pm  

The One in Nine campaign interviewed Khwezi (the accuser). I would advise you to read it, Akin in particular, for her take on the entire process.


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