Julius is a Mixture of Hitler, Idi Amin & Mobutu Sese Seko – Kenny Kunene States His Case at the Franschhoek Literary Festival
At the Franschhoek Literary Festival this year, Judge Dennis Davis chaired a panel entitled “Just Julius”, with “Sushi King” Kenny Kunene, Fiona Forde and Richard Poplak.
Forde and Poplak are both authors of books about Julius Malema, while Kunene has a memoir coming out soon that deals with his time in the EFF.
Kunene made some startling pronouncements during the session, including calling Malema a combination of “Hitler, Idi Amin, Mobutu Sese Seko”. He also called the EFF leader a “two-headed anaconda that will come to bite you and your kids” and likened him to Stalin, with a passing comparison of Lenin to himself.
Davis closed the session by commenting: “I don’t know how many voters the EFF has got in this audience.”
To which Kunene replied: “Zero! After I spoke …”
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“I will pack my bags and leave”
Davis started the conversation by asking Kunene about his statement that he would leave the country if Malema ever became president.
“Is that true? Should I be frightened?” Davis asked.
“That was a very emotional statement for me to say. But all dictators in the world have the same thing in common – they are good public speakers. They can sell you something and you will buy it. They can sell you hope that is their own – not yours – and you believe in it. They can sell you a future that you think is bright for you, that is bright for them.
“Under President Jacob Zuma, and this is very, very serious, we are able to write open letters to him, insulting him. We draw his private parts in the media. We insult his family, including Julius and everybody else. We insult him in parliament. There is no man who is as powerful as President Jacob Zuma who will allow his family to be insulted. But yet, under President Jacob Zuma, the media houses still operate. Your businesses still operate.
“In Africa, you cannot even make one negative statement about a sitting president. You get closed down. So we overlook very big things because we share common senseless things. Our hatred of President Jacob Zuma has blinded us to see the threat of what Julius truly is. So when I said that if Julius becomes the president of this country I will pack and go I was serious. Because I spent three months, every day, with Julius and Floyd Shivambu. And we planned everything together. I am the co-founder of EFF. So I know the plans of Julius. I know the plans of Floyd. I know the mindset of Julius. And I’m serious about it.
“I see the Afrikaner community inviting him to a press brief, he made them laugh, he insults Zuma [imitates clapping], he’s very good at saying the things that will make you clap. They he goes to a black community that is very hungry, that blames everything on white people. And he says things about you [gestures at the mainly white audience] and they clap. And then he goes to an English community of businessmen and he says things about how their business will grow. He says things that will make them clap. And they all clap. So everywhere he goes, people clap. But you do not go into what is it that he is saying when people clap.
“Pay Back the Money is Misguided”
Forde said: “I can see the Twitter feed: Kenny Kunene has returned to the ANC.”
“Not yet,” Kunene laughed.
Forde says Malema is “lethal” because of the small amount of the vote the EFF received in the last election (around six percent).
“The only thing he can do is be as radical as possible,” she said.
“I think the debate is very misguided, because we’re all gung-ho on the ‘pay back the money’, and hardly a day goes by when the media doesn’t report on it. That isn’t relevant to Julius Malema’s supporters, if we can imagine them as those who reside on the sidewalks of like, those who are very desperate. He talked about them being very hungry, very angry. They don’t care if the money is paid back or not, because that isn’t going to change their lives.
“The debate should be focused on the illegal act of the EFF which is land-grabbing. That is very under-reported.
“All he can do, for free publicity ahead of next year, is to whip up the anger that always resides just under the skin of a very desperate African community.”
Davis related a comment he made to Helen Zille, which he said he thought was very clever but that she didn’t seem to like: “It seems that Julius Malema has radicalised the DA.”
“Malema is a political athlete”
He then asked Richard Poplak why he described Malema as an astute politician.
“I found their campaign to be absolutely astonishing,” Poplak replied. “When I first got ton the campaign trail with them they were inaugurating their party. And the campaign stops were just superb carnivals. Malema is a superb speaker.
“I actually disagree with Kenny that he would harangue white people – his targets were mainly people like Patrice Motsepe and Cyril Ramaphosa.
“I would argue that he’s as close to a political savant that I’ve ever encountered. He’s like an athlete – with a very specific sense of focus and single-mindedness. He’s a political athlete.”
Zuma then came up in the conversation again, with Kunene commenting: “The difference between Jacob Zuma and Julius Malema is that Jacob Zuma respects democracy.”
This got an ironic chuckle from Forde and a big laugh from the audience, with Davis shooting back: “There are a lot of people who would disagree with you on that one!”
“Let’s not talk about Nkandla. His case of rape was thrown out of court. His corruption case – however it was dealt with. Let us forget about the man and his problems. Let us focus on us, as a country, as a business. Business is usual.”
“Money from White People”
On Poplak’s assertion that Malema did not attack white people in his campaign speeches to black audiences, Kunene said: “I think Richard is talking to a time when Malema got money from white people, when he changed his tune. Before that tune changed, when I was there, our statements, our addresses to our masses, was ‘white monopoly capital is the enemy’. That’s what we spoke about. ‘White capital monopoly is the enemy. It needs to be defeated. We need to expropriate land. We need to take their businesses.’ It was all about take, take, take.
“Let me enlighten you with something I wasn’t supposed to mention here. It was supposed to come out in my book, but since you are blinded by your hatred of Zuma …
“When we discussed the funding model, which is one of the main reasons I left EFF, which will come out in my book, Julius said to me, ‘You always mentioned that you were made by white people.’ I mentioned that in 2007, as a teacher I went to black schools. They did not give me jobs. I was given the first job after I came out of prison by a white woman who owned a private school. And from there we did talks all over the country with Gayton McKenzie. White schools paid us, black schools didn’t. A white guy bought 80 000 copies of Gayton McKenzie’s book. And that is the first time he tasted millions. That particular guy changed our lives. He stays here in Cape Town. I’m on record as saying: my success is because of the kindness of white South Africans.
“Julius said, ‘You’ve been saying you’ve been made my white people. You need to stop. You can’t make those statements when you are in a revolutionary movement. I said, ‘We need to seek funding from white people.’ Julius said, ‘These are our enemies. We are not going to request anything from them because they are going to seek to control us. That’s what they’ve done with the ANC.’
“A few days later, Julius said, ‘Let us do to them what they did to our forefathers. We will take money from them, we will strengthen ourselves, and when we are in power, we will show them who we are.’
“This was in closed meetings between three people.”
“Floyd is your Goebbels, Malema is like Hitler”
Kunene recalled a trip Malema took to Stellenbosch, where he told the white crowd that the EFF would not expropriate all land, but would focus on unoccupied land. “A lot of you put money into the buckets that were going around.”
“When he goes to the black townships and speaks about Patrice Motsepe, he is pleasing those who are funding him so that they can strengthen him. Once he is in power, you are going to pack your bags like me.”
“Floyd Shivambu is an intelligent guy. He is a guy who reads. He’s the guy that writes for Julius, for [spokesman Mbuyiseni] Ndlozi. Everything the spokesperson says is written by Floyd, nothing goes out of the EFF if Floyd hasn’t written it. I was there.
“Floyd is like, who was Hitler’s guy? Goebbels. Floyd is your Goebbels.”
Davis interjected: “Do you really want to say that? You could be sued.”
“It’s fine, it’s fine,” Kunene replied. “I will prove that he’s a Goebbels.
“Let me give you some similarities to illustrate my point, because I’m not going to be guided by the judge here on what to say,” he grinned.
“I’m just giving you legal advice,” Davis said, getting another big laugh.
“I did a lot of research on Hitler after I left the EFF,” Kunene continued. “He is my case study. I wanted to understand this man that I’m dealing with.
“Julius is not Hitler, as I hear them say in the ANC. Julius is a mixture of Hitler, Idi Amin, Mobutu Sese Seko and many other dictators together.
“If Julius takes over this country, we would borrow money from him, like Zaire borrowed money from Mobutu Sese Seko.
“He loves the good life, he loves the money. And if you love money as a politician, you will be informed, you will be guided, by corruption.”
“A Two-headed Anaconda that will Come to Bite You and Your Kids”
Referring to the infamous Night of the Long Knives, Kunene said: “Julius did the same, in his organisation. If he gets state power, he is not going to suspend people or fire them, he is going to do exactly what his mentor did. He is going to kill them. Because he does not want any challenge at all.”
Kunene recalled an EFF event in Sasolburg, where protocol dictated nobody should speak after Malema. But with the crowd chanting “Kenny, Kenny”, Malema said Kunene should go and “greet the masses”. “I could see his face, and how angry he was,” Kunene said, adding that Malema later told other high-up EFF members that the party “can’t have two commanders”. “He couldn’t see it as an advantage for the organisation to say, ‘let us use this man’s publicity to benefit the organisation’. He saw it as an attack on his stature, on his image.”
Kunene says Shivambu is about “creating the next Julius,” adding that he was that “next Julius” for a while. He insists he does not “hold a grudge” against Julius, but added a final warning:
“All that I’m doing now, is to do what Lenin did when he told Russians that he had befriended Stalin, and he said to them ‘don’t allow this man to take over this country’. He died, they allowed Stalin to take over. 20 million Russians died at the hands of Stalin. So I’m saying to you and the whole of South Africa: I’m not Lenin, but you are celebrating and strengthening a two-headed anaconda that will come to bite you and your kids.
“You can’t tame a wild animal. You can’t tame Julius. He has made up his mind.”
We’ve uploaded the podcast onto Soundcloud. It’s well worth a listen:
The event was live tweeted by Jennifer Malec:
- Still an Inconvenient Youth: Julius Malema Carries On by Fiona Forde
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