The end of the ANC?

As the ANC sinks deeper into crisis as a direct consequence of its leadership’s vindictive sacking of former South African President Thabo Mbeki, disillusioned members and supporters are weighing up whether to form a new party.

Yet, can a new breakaway from the ANC succeed when previous splits from it and the current opposition parties failed?

For starters, the success of a breakaway will depend on whether Jacob Zuma, who still faces 12 formidable corruption charges, could provide so far unseen political maturity and leadership, by abandoning his destructive obsession with becoming the country’s next president.

In spite of his cult status among some ANC members, others are resolutely opposed to having him as the new president. They are unhappy with his and his aides’ intolerant behaviour, while they, blinded with revenge, ousted Mbeki, who in any case had only a few months to go on his term for similar behaviour, setting in motion the possible breakup of the ANC.

That’s William Gumede writing in The Guardian.

I’m no expert on South Africa, but the monolithic ANC strikes me as an unstable political equilibrium. Disenchanted party factions face a huge incentive to break off and seize the median voter. But if the party is destined to unravel, why doesn’t it do so immediately? Is this a coordination problem? Or a set of imposed constraints?

I am all but certain there are a dozen theories of political coalitions that would illuminate the situation. Any suggestions from readers?