As a spokes person of Pres.Thabo Mbeki this line of thinking is not quiet common and understandable. But does it really holds water? I don’t think so. South Africa has become a home of despots, dictators and murderers. We give refuge to leaders who, because of their past positions in governments,have committed the most heinous crimes in their countries against their citizens. What Al Bashir is accused of isn’t a crime of shoplifting. It’s a crime against humanity. Genocide. I have never heard any African leader encouraging Al Bashir to hand himself to the ICC,just like the way President Kenyatta of Kenya did. Africa cannot continue to harbour criminals masquarading as Presidents and leaders of the people. If Africa is to become a role player in world politics, Africa must then begin to take itself seriously. And the better way to do that is to isolate people like Al Bashir and make them account for their deeds. South Africa signed the ICC agreement and there’s no amount of intellectualism that can convince any African who knows the pain of living under the brutal regime like that of Al Bashir, that Al Bashir doesn’t deserve to have his day in court. If Africans, because of South Africans call to have Al Bashir arrested feel hard done by this call and want to severe ties with us, so be it. SA must dictate the way forward with regard to how Africa should drive the Agenda for change and reform in as far as governance is concerned through the AU. As it is now, SA is spending millions to keep the AU going. Why then not take charge of in leading reform in Africa? If our peacekeeping mission in Sudan and other countries is not appreciated, then it’s time our armed forces come home to spend time with their families. We can’t use our resources to protect and harbour criminals and killers who are supposed to be protectors of ordinary people on the ground. Arrest Al Bashir and let him have his day in court and prove his innocence. Period.

Mukoni Ratshitanga

There are many reasons why South Africa would be ill-advised to arrest Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir. These include, but are not limited to:

  • placing our bilateral relations with Sudan, some of her neighbours and the wider Muslim world in harm’s way. South Africa currently has thousands of police and military personnel serving under the United Nations–African Union Mission in Darfur, Sudan. We must visualise likely scenarios of what might befall these South Africans were we to arrest President Bashir. This means considering something which regrettably does not come naturally and easily among sections of South African society, i.e. the national interest;
  • weakening and dividing instead of strengthening the African Union and promoting continental unity. President Bashir is in South Africa at the invitation of the AU, which does not have sanctions over him. Arresting him would serve to weaken and divide the AU because it would imply that we are…

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