Wednesday, January 6, 2010

The strange case of Zuma

South Africa's President Jacob Zuma got married for the fifth time on Monday to Tobeka Madiba at the village of Nkandla in northern KwaZulu-Natal province. Zuma, 68, already has two children with Madiba, 37, who is a former bank employee. Zuma, a polygamist, has two wives. While he divorced his second wife Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma in 1998, his third wife Kate Mantsho committed suicide in 2000. He remains married to his first and fourth wife.
Zuma has 19 children as well as two fiances. He also has a son from an earlier affair.

Multiple marriages are allowed in South Africa and form part of the Zulu culture. However, they have been strongly criticised by HIV/AIDS activists, who advocate monogamy as a preventive measure of the disease. South Africa is one of the worst AIDS-affected countries in the world.

In 2005, he was charged for raping a 31-year-old woman, the daughter of an African National Congress member, but was acquitted by a court.However, Zuma stunned the nation and his supporters when he admitted that he had unprotected sex with the woman in spite of knowing she was HIV-positive, and that he took a shower to 'cut the risk of contracting HIV'.

Zuma has repeatedly faced charges of corruption, racketeering and fraud. He was accused of being involved in a $5 billion arms procurement deal. He was fired from the vice president's post in 2005 by then President Thabo Mbeki when the defence deal was revealed. However, he was elected as the chief of the ANC in 2007 and became the president of South Africa in 2009. The corruption charges against him were formally dropped in 2009, and the prosecution cited 'political interference' as the main reason for doing so. Prosecutors admitted that though they had evidence of corruption against Zuma, "it wasn't strong enough to withstand a trial".

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