Vavi’s Zuma moment was an awkward one
#ThatAwkwardMoment when Zwelinzima Vavi had to sing along to the war cry of those campaigning for President Jacob Zuma’s second term.
It happened at the Congress of South African Trade Unions (Cosatu) congress under way in Midrand, when a small group of unions walked into a meeting singing and disrupting those listening to the proceedings. Mr Vavi jumped to the microphone to admonish them.
"Comrades you are out of order," he shouted.
They were singing a song that is popular among the quarters supporting Mr Zuma’s second term. The song’s chorus goes: "We are with the Zuma, we are with the president, we are not ashamed." They showed the peace sign: ANC code for a second term.
After being rebuked by Mr Vavi, the delegates went on to sit down, and waited for another opportunity to drive their agenda. In between speakers, they revived the song. That was a masterpiece on their part. People are allowed to sing in between speakers. Mr Vavi was on the podium, as his awkward moment unfolded. He could not stop the song again, as most of the delegates sang along.
He had no choice but to join in. But he hummed the part about being supportive of the president. He also stepped away from the microphone when the chorus came around for the second time, just to avoid him being caught muttering anything that associates him with Mr Zuma’s campaign. We see you, Mr Vavi, we see you.
The song moment typified Mr Vavi’s political position. He was re-elected this week, but his colleagues are doing their best to put him in a position where he has to support Mr Zuma’s second term.
The congress has deferred discussions on their Mangaung leadership preference to a central executive committee meeting to be held in November.
Mr Vavi is associated with the group that is against Mr Zuma’s second term. But Mr Vavi is loathed by his colleagues, although is extremely popular among the rank and file. He is one of the few leaders who can go address striking miners without being booed. They see him as the voice of the poor. His colleagues we will watch him like hawks and try to force words into his watch. Grab the popcorn and watch.