Jacob Zuma resigned as president of South Africa on Wednesday night in an extraordinary turnaround of events, having earlier insisted he would be defying pressure from within his own party for him to step down and when he did international media was quick to break the news.
The New York Timesdescribed him as “a master tactician who survived a string of scandals“ while BBC notes that he leaves “with several scandals hanging over him”.
Zuma’s legacy, in most international media, is one “mired in corruption scandal” and not much reference to his struggle credentials.
Reuters briefly mentions Zuma’s struggle credentials, his four wives and that he has “a sharp tongue”.
In a televised live address to the nation he said he had to accept the ruling ANC party’s wishes for him to leave office a day before a no confidence motion was set to bring his nine-year tenure to a premature end amid a cloud of corruption allegations.
“I have served the people of South Africa to the best of my ability. I am forever grateful they trusted me with their highest office of the land,” Zuma said.
Zuma added that he was concerned about violence breaking out between ANC members as the party grew more divided.
“No life should be lost in my name, and also the ANC should never be divided in my name,” he said. “I have therefore come to the decision to resign as President of the Republic with immediate effect.”
At his earlier television appearance he had said he didn’t know why South Africa’s ruling party had ordered him to step down from his job before his term is up next year, and warned that the leaders forcing him out would come to regret their actions.
“It’s the first time I’ve felt an African National Congress decision is not right,” the long-time ANC member and anti-apartheid struggle veteran said in a televised interview on the public broadcaster on Wednesday. “I don’t think it is fair.”
Though many South Africans could point to a long list of problems they have with Zuma, from multiple corruption scandals to high unemployment, the ruling party has been mum about why, exactly, it decided to recall its long-time member, instead saying the party wished to resolve the matter of his exit quickly to bring “certainty” to the nation.