Detractors underestimate master tactician Zuma at their own peril
President’s bumbling country-bumpkin persona is a foil to lure his adversaries into a sense of false security
Business Day editor Tim Cohen wrote in last week’s column (How dirty tricks show Zuma camp anxiety, September 4) of the leadership race within the ANC being "an enigma inside a conundrum", but let us see whether we can unwrap some of it nonetheless. We know a number of things, the most important of which is that Jacob Zuma is a master strategist. No one who has bet against him has ever won. That he survives at all is testimony to his political acumen. The bumbling country-bumpkin persona is a foil to lure his adversaries into a sense of false security — a view we have consistently held since hosting him to address investors shortly after his axing by Thabo Mbeki. It is when the odds are against him that he often seems at his tactical best, as a number of incidents out of his past attest. Too few groups whose interests conflict with his have realised that, as an adversary, he should be accorded the greatest respect — anything less is to virtually assure him of victory. The other thin...