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By Alec Hogg
How do you know whether your political leader is a dictator? I started wondering, as you might also, after reading the list of ten questions offered as a guide by Harvard International Relations Professor Stephen Walt.
Writing for Foreign Policy magazine, Walt’s context was imploring Americans to keep an eye on the actions of President-elect Donald Trump. But they make chilling reading in a South African context. Here’s the list of dictatorial attributes:
- Systematic efforts to intimidate the media.
- Building an official pro-incumbent media network.
- Installing political supporters into civil service, military and domestic security agencies.
- Using government surveillance against domestic political opponents.
- Using State buying power to reward corporate backers and punish opponents.
- Stacking the courts with his judges.
- Enforcing the law for only one side – his.
- Rigging the political system in his favour.
- Demonising the opposition
By my estimation, this is one test that Jacob Zuma would ace with a 90% score (I’m not sure about Number 4). How do you score him in the Dictator stakes?
Cyril Ramaphosa: The Audio Biography
Listen to the story of Cyril Ramaphosa's rise to presidential power, narrated by our very own Alec Hogg.