When President Jacob Zuma ascended to the Union Buildings, we knew that his presidency would be affected by the very tsunami that got him there. We knew that the way he took power from Thabo Mbeki, that the corruption charges he had faced and then suddenly didn’t, would play a role in his presidency. It is also common, in many democracies, for the way in which someone climbs to the top of the greasy pole to have an impact on their time in office. There are debts to be paid, revenges to be enjoyed, and policy changes to be implemented. What makes Zuma different, is that his path to power is now more than influencing his presidency: it is defining it. By STEPHEN GROOTES.