When the South African ruling party, the National African Congress (ANC) came up the drive to see South Africa withdrawing from the International Criminal Court (ICC) many were dismayed, saddened and shocked. How could the icon of liberation in Africa act this way? The Daily Telegram October 11th, 2015 quoted Obed Bapela, head of ANC’s international relations commission as saying “They would rather put their own interests first than the world's interests, and as a result of that the commission and the NGC has just confirmed that the national interest policy must be fast-tracked in Parliament so that the nation can comment on it.” Whose interests are these if not those of a kit and caboodle of government officials? Methinks the interests of South Africans should come first.
Due to her weight, South Africa, since she acquired her independence, has been a key player in Africa’s and world’s issues. She is the second biggest economy after Nigeria. So, too, her history of struggle against inhumane regime is an asset that would have guided the ANC in reaching such detrimental decision not for South Africa only but also for Africa. Many would think that the South Africa that recently evidenced the upsurge of xenophobia attacks would encourage other African countries to stay in the ICC as her efforts to create a good rapport in the realpolitik of the world. However, there are those who think that the ANC took such a misguided decision aiming at shifting the attention of South Africans vis-à-vis corruption and incompetent rule in the country presided over by the same ANC. Although it is the countries right to remain or withdraw from any organisation, it is irrational and counterproductive for South Africa to withdraw from the ICC. I wonder, if –let say –we reverse the clock and see some apartheid top brass before the ICC charged for crimes against humanity for the many years they mismanaged south Africa, would the ANC take the same stance? Isn’t this holier than though apart from being hypocritical and selfishness. I don’t know how people in Darfur Sudan that have suffered for long from genocide committed by Omar Bashir’s regime will take such news. Again, if there is a big beneficiary of ANC’s move is none other than Bashir whom South African authorities failed to apprehend and submit to the ICC when he was in the country to attend an African conference in June 2015. Many thought this was enough. Now the ANC has purposely and willingly decided to do Bashir’s dirty laundry. Why?
South Africa is supposed to be a leader in the quest for justice and human rights in the continent and in the world. I am wondering. I don’t think if Nelson Mandela or Thabo Mbeki were in power still would buy into such a decision aimed at humiliating South Africa by portraying her as the state that sponsors criminals such as those who committed genocide in Sudan. Where does the ANC get such chutzpah? Did the ANC underscore negative impacts such misguided step will cause South Africa? It is time to tell South Africa to rethink her stance on the ICC. Her take would be misconstrued as laying a foundation for inhumane treatments against those opposing corruption in the country. Is South Africa taking preemptive measures to avoid her high-ranking officials to be brought before the ICC after committing Marikana massacres?
It doesn’t cross any mind for South Africa to embark on such dressing down aimed at protecting individual at the expense of the entire nation. South Africans should stand up and oppose machinations that aimed at portraying a country in the bad light. The ICC is still a valid entity as far as combating crimes against humanity is concerned. So, too, South African authority, especially the ANC must be told to their face that they were not coerced to join the ICC. It pains beyond imagination when the oppressed of yesterday becomes the oppressor of today. The ANC must restrain itself from going on being a letdown as far as South Africa is concerned.
Source: African Executive Oct., 14, 2015.