Mandela Backs Zuma in S. African Election

Former prez gets roaring approval from rally crowd
By Katherine Thompson,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 20, 2009 10:52 AM CDT
Former South African president Nelson Mandela, center, arrives at an ANC rally with the help of ANC President Jacob Zuma, left, and former wife Winnie Madikizela-Mandela, right.   (AP Photo/Themba Hadebe)
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(Newser) – Even at 90, Nelson Mandela can still fire up a crowd, which was exactly what South African presidential nominee Jacob Zuma was counting on. The white-haired former president rolled into a stadium of 100,000 African National Congress supporters yesterday and sat on stage during Zuma's rally. Despite corruption scandals, polls predict an easy win for the ANC, the Washington Post reports.

Graft charges against Zuma have been dropped, but the opposition party still considers him too unethical to take charge of South Africa. But Mandela's endorsement should go a long way to convert some doubters—he says that the ANC can "build a united, nonracial society." The party drew 70% of the vote in the 2004 elections.