Yet another distraction at AU
As has become the norm, the just ended 25th summit of the African Union Assembly was distracted by a South African High Court’s order to have Sudanese President Omar Hassan Al Bashir arrested while attending the summit.
The Sudanese leader has a warrant issued against him by the International Criminal Court six years ago for alleged crimes of war. President Al Bashir’s government denies the allegations but some non-governmental organisations in South Africa sought to have him arrested and detained in South Africa where he was among leaders attending the AU summit.
A South African High Court judge granted the order sought by the NGOs but Pretoria did not arrest the Sudanese leader who returned to his country after attending the summit.
The action by the NGOs was a clear attempt to disrupt the AU summit and cause a diplomatic and political row between the South Africa and Sudan on one hand and the AU and Sudan on the other.
Africa has always been at the receiving end of unfair treatment by western powers and some multilateral institutions. It is by no coincidence that the BRICS (Brazil-Russia-India-China-South Africa) countries have resolved to form their own international development bank to offer an alternative to the Bretton Woods institutions, the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund who for years have been short-changing the developing countries by even prescribing ruinous policies. These policies ensure developing countries, the African continent included, are always at their mercy.
Despite denials by the Sudan government that it did not commit the crimes of war and investigations failing to prove the alleged crimes, the ICC maintains it wants to try President Al Bashir.
“Numerous investigations of the Darfur question have failed to prove genocide against the people of the region. Various imperialist-backed groups have sought to shift public opinion against the African state to no avail. Most anti-imperialist organizations view the situation inside of Sudan as a by-product of the legacy of British colonialism and the continuing interference of U.S.-based intelligence and military agencies along with their allies in Israel and other western-dominated states,” argues Abayomi Azikiwe, in an analysis we published in this issue. Perhaps the President Al Bashir case presents itself as an opportunity for Africa to carefully review its membership of some of these international bodies.
In some instances African governments have also been at the receiving end of their own bodies, the ones that they created themselves.
A good example is the dissolved SADC Tribunal, which member states of the 15-member grouping had formed but were forced to dissolve and review the protocol establishing the court.
SADC dissolved the Tribunal after it left some member states apprehensive following a number of warped judgments against them. Some of the judgments were against the constitutions and laws of the member states. The Tribunal nullified Zimbabwe’s land reform programme and handed down judgments that were in conflict with Zimbabwe’s constitutional position on the emotive programme, one of the basis of the country’s protracted war of liberation besides political freedom.
The ICC has become more like a “European Court for Africa” as one analyst argues because most of its cases are against African leaders and never leaders from Europe as if all the leaders in Europe or the West are clean.