Now with double the insight!
26 June 2017 14:21 (South Africa)

Trumping Zuma (and Trump): History provides a backdrop for the battle to bring two presidents down

  • J Brooks Spector
    brooks spector 02 BW
    J Brooks Spector

    Spector settled in Johannesburg after a career as a US diplomat in Africa and East Asia. He has taught at the U. of the Witwatersrand, been a consultant for an international NGO, run a theatre, and been a commentator for South African and international print/broadcast/online media, in addition to writing for The Daily Maverick from day one. Spector is a Writing Fellow of the Unit of Johannesburg’s Institute for Advanced Studies. He says he learned everything he needs to know about politics from ‘Casablanca.’ Maybe he's cynical about some things, but a late Beethoven string quartet, John Coltrane’s music and a dish of Pad Thai will bring him close to tears.

Photo: (Left) A student wears a T-Shirt with the defaced image of president Jacob Zuma over his head during a student protest over fees to parliament on the occasion of South African Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan presenting his Medium Term Budget Policy speech to Parliament in Cape Town, South Africa, 26 October 2016. EPA/NIC BOTHMA (Right) An actor portraying US President Donald J. Trump calls on the President to release his tax returns outside the Trump Hotel in Washington, DC, USA, 15 April 2017. EPA/JIM LO SCALZO
Photo: Dr David Nabarro speaks with  Maria Sibanyoni, a Programme Manager for the Women at Risk programme of the Wits Reproductive Health Institute(RHI) during a recent visit to Johannesburg.

Search for WHO DG: Trust is key, says 'hands-on' candidate Nabarro

Photo: Police check in East Germany.

Remembering the DDR – No Joking Matter

By Greg Mills
Photo: Deputy president Cyril Ramaphosa reacts during a Motion of No Confidence in President Jacob Zuma debate in the Parliament in Cape Town, South Africa, 10 November 2016. EPA/NIC BOTHMA

Op-Ed: A lesson for Cyril Ramaphosa, from Hillary Clinton

By David Reiersgord
Photo: US President Donald J. Trump walks across the South Lawn of the White House to depart by Marine One, in Washington, DC, USA, 17 May 2017. Trump travels to deliver remarks at a commencement ceremony at the US Coast Guard Academy in Connecticut. EPA/MICHAEL REYNOLDS

All the President’s Mendacity: Is Trump edging closer to a risk of impeachment?

By J Brooks Spector
Photo: Lewthwaite’s forged South African passport. Photo: SABC News

Analysis: The lore of the ‘White Widow’, the 7/7 suicide bomber’s wife, Samantha Lewthwaite

Pope Francis (C) is accompanied by a group of clerics as he arrives for the holy mass at the Fatima Sanctuary, in Leiria, Portugal, 13 May 2017. Pope Francis is visiting Fatima on 12 and 13 May on the 100th anniversary of the apparent appearances of the Virgin Mary to three shepherd children in 1917.

While you were sleeping: 15 May 2017

By John Stupart
Photo: A handout photo made available by the Russian Foreign Ministry shows US President Donald J. Trump (C) speaking with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov (L) and Russian Ambassador to the U.S. Sergei Kislyak during their meeting in the White House in Washington, DC, USA, 10 May 2017. EPA/RUSSIAN FOREIGN MINISTRY HANDOUT

Trump goes international. The world holds its breath.

By J Brooks Spector
Photo: Protesters rally in opposition to President Donald J. Trump's firing of FBI Director James Comey at the White House in Washington, DC, USA, 10 May 2017. EPA/SHAWN THEW

Shades of Watergate? Firing FBI Director may just be Trump’s most consequential mistake/lunacy yet

By J Brooks Spector
A protestor holds stones to throw at police forces during a violent service delivery protest in Ennerdale, Johannesburg, South Africa, 09 May 2017. The local community took to the streets blocking major roads in a second day of demonstrations as they protested a lack of housing and land for their community. Continued protests have become a weekly occurrence as many poorer communities show opposition to the African National Congress (ANC) and South African President Jacob Zuma, claiming a continued lack of service delivery since the end of Apartheid.

While you were sleeping: 10 May 2017

By John Stupart
Photo: FBI Director James Comey testifies before the Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on 'Oversight of the Federal Bureau of Investigation.' on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC, USA, 03 May 2017. EPA/SHAWN THEW

US: Trump fires FBI director Comey


Chronicle short film on Philippines to premier at Encounters documentary festival

Main photo: President Jacob Zuma of the Republic of South Africa holding a bilateral meeting with President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni of the Republic of Uganda on the sidelines of the World Economic Forum on Africa in Durban. 03/05/2017, Elmond Jiyane, GCIS

Why foreign investors choose Peru and not, erm, Uganda?

rsenal's Danny Welbeck (L) celebrates with his teammate Alexis Sanchez (C) after scoring the 2-0 lead during the English Premier League soccer match between Arsenal FC and Manchester United in London, Britain, 07 May 2017.

While you were sleeping: Monday, 8 May 2017

By John Stupart
Photo: Supporters of French presidential election candidate for the En Marche!' (Onwards!) political movement Emmanuel Macron (not pictured) celebrate at the Carrousel du Louvre after Emmanuel Macron won the second round of the French presidential elections in Paris, France, 07 May 2017. Emmanuel Macron defeated Marine Le Pen in the final round of France’s presidential election, with exit polls indicating that Macron is leading with approximately 65% of the vote. EPA/YOAN VALAT.

French presidential election: Two-thirds of voters opt for sanity as Macron wins big

By J Brooks Spector
Forty three-year-old Sudan, the last surviving male northern white rhino on the planet, is fed by a caretaker at Ol Pejeta Conservancy near Nanyuki, some 200 kilometers north of Nairobi, Kenya, 03 May 2017. Ol Pejeta Conservancy, where Sudan and the world's last two female northern white rhinos live, has partnered with the popular dating app Tinder in an aim to raise 9 million US dollars to develop reproductive technologies such as in-vitro fertilization (IVF). Experts say that even if the IVF techniques will be developed for the successful artificial reproduction in the future, the northern whites will most likely be extinct in a few years, for now. Ol Pejeta is a home to the last three surviving rhino subspecies on the planet.

While you were sleeping: TGIF 5 May 2017

By John Stupart
Photo: A file picture dated 24 November 2009 of Congolese warlord Germain Katanga, convicted of charges including murder and pillage during a deadly attack on a village in eastern Congo, in the courtroom of the International Criminal Court (ICC) in The Hague, the Netherlands. Catanga is to be released on 18 January 2016 after ICC appeal judges on 13 November 2015 announced to reduce his sentence of 12 years by 3 years and 8 months. EPA/MICHAEL KOOREN / POOL

Op-Ed: Human Rights victims lose out in the ICC debacle

By Mélanie Rondreux
The Mount Sinabung volcano spews volcanic lava and ash as seen from Tiga Pancur Village in Karo, North Sumatra, Indonesia, 02 May 2017. Sinabung volcano continues to erupt as the volcano has been on high alert since June 2015.

While you were sleeping: Wednesday 3 May 2017

By John Stupart
BY Yevgeny Khaldei
A Soviet soldier Raising a flag over the Reichstag. Red Army troops announced the capture of the Reichstag on 2 May, 1945.

While you were sleeping: Tuesday 2nd May 2017

By John Stupart
Photo: US President Donald J. Trump makes remarks before signing an Executive Order on Improving Accountability and Whistleblower Protection at the Department of Veterans Affairs in Washington, DC, USA 27 April 27 2017. EPA/Olivier Douliery / POOL

US: Trump’s long slog to his first Hundred Days

By J Brooks Spector
Zoo Keeper Jess Stockton scratches Brazilian Tapir Arturo at the Melbourne Zoo in Melbourne, Australia, 27 April 2017. Arturo is 11 years old, was born at Taronga Western Plains Zoo in Dubbo and was transfered to Melbourne Zoo in 2011.

While you were sleeping: TGIF 28 April 2017

By John Stupart
Photo: Zamble Lou Irie Sabine, 28 years, holds her three month old child Yao Melvin, under a mosquito net in Abidjan, Ivory Coast, 24 April 2017. World Malaria Day is observed on 25 April each year to recognize the global efforts to control Malaria, it was established in May 2007 by the World Health Organization (WHO).  EPA/LEGNAN KOULA

New single-dose drug could help wipe out malaria

By Marelise van der Merwe
Photo: French presidential election candidate for the far-right Front National (FN) party, Marine Le Pen attends a ceremony for slain police officer Xavier Jugele, at the Paris police headquarters in Paris, France, 25 April 2017. Jugele was killed by a gunman during the 20 April Champs Elysees terror attack shooting. EPA/IAN LANGSDON

Op-Ed: A Le Pen victory will surface EU and Nato Fault lines

By Marius Oosthuizen
Boston Celtics guard Isaiah Thomas (C) loses the ball as he attempts to shoot between Chicago Bulls forward Nikola Mirotic of Montenegro (L) and Chicago Bulls forward Bobby Portis (R) in the second half of game four of the first round NBA Eastern Conference playoffs at the United Center in Chicago, Illinois, USA, 23 April 2017. The Celtics defeated the Bulls.

While you were sleeping: Tuesday 25 April 2017

By John Stupart
Photo: French presidential election candidate for the ‘En Marche!’ (Onwards!) political movement, Emmanuel Macron celebrates after the first round of the French presidential elections in Paris, France, 23 April 2017. Media reports that polling agencies projections place Marine Le Pen and centrist presidential candidate Emmanuel Macron in the lead positions for the vote. France will hold the second round of the presidential elections on 07 May 2017. EPA/YOAN VALAT

France: Triumph of the New Politics

By J Brooks Spector
A man waves a flag during the gathering following the March for Science in Berlin, Germany, on 22 April 2017. Hundreds of thousands of people in more than 400 locations across the globe are taking part in the March for Science to recognise scientific progress, raise awareness of scientific discovery, and defend scientific integrity.

While you were sleeping: 24 April 2017

By John Stupart
Photo: Madhya Pradesh police contigents show their skills of martial art near a ring of fire after completion of their two-month long special commando training by commando trainer Deepak Dubey (unseen) at 25th Battalion police ground in Bhopal, India, 23 October 2011. EPA/SANJEEV GUPTA

ISS Today: India’s iron fist in the velvet glove

Wrestler 'Big Fire' (L) strangles his opponent 'Cowboy' during a hardcore wrestling match at the Brakpan Community Hall, in Brakpan, Johannesburg, South Africa, 04 March 2017. The winner of the fight was the wrestler who could throw his opponent through the metal table. 'Big Fire' went on to win this match. In the East Rand region of South Africa lives dedicated, passionate, amateur hardcore wrestling community, whose members find time between work and family to put on shows for their devoted following of fans at local community halls, high schools and motorcycle rallies. Hardcore wrestling is a form of professional wrestling where disqualifications, count-outs, and all other different rules do not apply. Matches are decided by the use of numerous dangerous items including tables, chairs, barbed wire, light tubes, shovels, chains, hammers, etc.

While you were sleeping: TGIF 21 April

By John Stupart
Photo: US President Donald J. Trump delivers remarks prior to signing the Memorandum Regarding the Investigation Pursuant to Section 232(B) of the Trade Expansion Act during a ceremony in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington, DC, USA, 20 April 2017. The act directs Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross to investigate whether steel imports into the US should be blocked on national security grounds. EPA/SHAWN THEW

Analysis: Trump’s Say-As-You-Go foreign policy

By J Brooks Spector
Protesters shout slogans during a rally against the referendum results in Istanbul, Turkey, 18 April 2017. Media reports Turkish President Erdogan won a narrow lead of the 'Yes' vote in unofficial results, 17 April 2017. The proposed reform, passed by Turkish parliament on 21 January, would change the country's parliamentarian system of governance into a presidential one, which the opposition denounced as giving more power to Turkish President Erdogan.

While you were sleeping: Thursday 20 April 2017

By John Stupart