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South Africa: Ex-President Jacob Zuma Barred from Contesting May Elections

Mr Zuma, 81, served as the country’s president from 2009 until 2018 but had to step down as a result of corruption allegations leveled against him.

The Electoral Commission of South Africa has barred former President Jacob Zuma from running in the country’s general elections in May.

Although no detailed reason has been given, the electoral commission said in a statement that under the South African constitution “any person who was convicted of an offence and sentenced to more than 12 months imprisonment without the option of a fine” cannot stand in an election.

Mr Zuma, 81, served as the country’s president from 2009 until 2018 but had to step down as a result of corruption allegations leveled against him.

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After the corruption trial in 2021, Zuma was sentenced to a jail term of 15 months for refusing to testify to a panel probing financial corruption and cronyism under his presidency. His jailing prompted protests, riots and looting that left more than 350 dead. However, two months into his term, he was freed under medical parole by his successor Cyril Ramphosa’s administration.

In 2023, Zuma denounced his political party, the African National Congress (ANC), and declared his support for a newly formed party uMkhonto we Sizwe (MK) named after the ANC’s former military wing. The BBC reports that Zuma sees himself as the true heir to the governing party’s revolutionary roots.

His alliance with the MK party was seen as a possible threat to the governing ANC party, leading to his suspension.

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