Health Minister Aaron Motsoaledi has warned South Africans who display symptoms of lysteriosis, a dread disease caused by bacterium found in soil, water and vegetation, to seek urgent medical assistance. But this outbreak, though severe and even life-threatening, can be treated. What’s less clear is whether the appearance of the political equivalent of Munchausen syndrome on the bodies politic here and across the world can be successfully contained, and quite how much damage it will do to the sovereigns it infects.In medical terms, this syndrome is when an otherwise healthy patient acts as though sick — often getting multiple opinions for an illness that, in effect, does not exist. In other words a cry for sympathy, attention or a diversion from dealing with other psychological pathologies. Before June, British Prime Minister Theresa May went to the polls proclaiming her "strong and steady leadership" as needed for the looming Brexit negotiations. Her political miscalculation nearly...

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