Jacob Zuma, the former president of South Africa who is currently in jail on corruption charges, has said that he is prepared to run for office again with the current administration.
The African National Congress (ANC), which has controlled South Africa since the end of apartheid, has urged Zuma, to run for party leadership, according to a statement he released late on Monday.
“I will not refuse such a call should they deem it necessary for me to serve the organization again,” he said, adding he has been in talk with party leaders “in spite of the difficulties caused by my current legal situation”.
Prior to a national elective conference in December, the decision was made in the midst of bitter internal conflict within the ANC.
The party will conduct internal elections to choose a new head, who will then run for president in the 2024 election.
The current president, Cyril Ramaphosa, is trying to win a second term, but he is up against a party that supports former president Jacob Zuma, a contentious figure whose name is associated with corruption for most South Africans but who is still revered by many of the ANC’s grassroots supporters.
Zuma stated that he backs Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma to succeed Ramaphosa as president and hinted that he would be open to taking on the important position of party chairman.
In municipal elections last year, support for the Nelson Mandela party fell below 50% for the first time, and the administration is dealing with rising unhappiness over pervasive poverty, unemployment, and a protracted power crisis.
Despite taking office in 2009, Ramaphosa was compelled to succeed Zuma as president nine years later.
After declining to appear in front of a graft inquiry, he was sentenced to 15 months in prison in July of last year for contempt of court. However, he was released on medical parole just two months into the sentence.