IN OTHER WORDS: Unfit to rule

Jacob Zuma, the former deputy president of South Africa who was once a front-runner for presidency, has been acquitted of rape. The judge in the rape case ruled that the sex was consensual between Zuma, who is 64, and the 31-year-old daughter of one of his former comrades. But during the trial he admitted to behaviour so irresponsible that his future political activity deserves to be limited to voting.

He said that his accuser indicated she wanted sex by the way she sat while wearing a knee-length skirt and that it was his duty as a man to accommodate her. He said he had not used a condom to have sex with the woman even though he knew she was HIV-positive because he thought the risk of catching virus was low. Mind you, this is the man who once led the country’s National AIDS Council.

But Zuma’s views and conduct are not rare in South Africa. A sense of male entitlement to sex is a major contributor to the country’s high rape rates. Rape often occurs within families, and there is family pressure on girls not to report it. South Africa already had several government officials whose dubious statements about AIDS set back the cause of fighting the disease. Those who are now welcoming him back to political life are doing the country a disservice. He has been acquitted of rape but is still unfit for office.