On May 10 2015, Mmusi Maimane was elected DA federal leader with a staggering 90% of the vote, at the last DA federal congress. This month, the party’s highest decision-making body will again meet, in Tshwane, for the first time since his election some three years ago. Maimane will not be opposed as DA leader this time around, but things have changed somewhat in the intervening period, as the euphoria has been replaced with much uncertainty and internal confusion. It is worth, then, looking back at the campaign that saw him elected and to see if there are any lessons in it for the DA today. On April 24, with just more than two weeks to go until the congress, Wilmot James announced he would be standing for the position of federal leader. It was a brave decision. Maimane had long been unofficially anointed as the next leader in both the media and internal party circles — James had no real belief he could win — but he thought it important to have a contest for two, principled reasons. ...

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