Who shall speak for Africa’s victims?

via Heart of the Matter – Who shall speak for Africa’s victims? | SW Radio Africa by Tanonoka Joseph Whande October 14, 2013

Some years ago, the United Nations came under scrutiny and heavy criticism after it had been revealed that its staff that was in the DR Congo to protect civilians when a war was in full swing had themselves sexually exploited women and young girls they were supposed to protect.

It turned out that this sex scandal involving UN personnel was not limited to DR Congo only but was worldwide.

The world was shocked and asked: who then will guard the guardians?

Africa has a plethora of organisations such as the African Union, the Economic Community of West African States, the Southern Africa Development Community, the East African Community and many others.

We have enough of them to protect the citizens across the continent but these organisations, particularly the AU and SADC, do not appear to have been created to serve the interests of the continent or region as they always side with ruling governments even when they are abusing their own citizens.

Our African organisations seem eager to protect the interests of African Heads of State and sitting presidents and care less about the citizens under duress.

Based on their underperformance and depth of negligence, SADC and the African Union are disgraceful existences that should be disbanded because they don’t seem able or willing to protect African people.

Their obligations are with the ruling elite regardless of how those leaders abuse their citizens. Both have disgraced us on Zimbabwe and continue being party to the oppression, subjugation and abuse of African people.

The world is unfortunate enough to get some of mankind’s most sadistic leaders who bully, abuse and kill the very people they are supposed to be protecting. History is littered with such human beasts that get away with their crimes.

On July 17th, 1998 at a diplomatic conference in Rome, the countries of the world, having recognised the continuing killing and abuse of people around the world, adopted the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court, which was a treaty that established the International Criminal Court (ICC).

It was empowered to deal with four international crimes, namely genocide, crimes against humanity, war crimes and the crime of aggression.

“Under the Rome Statute, the ICC can only investigate and prosecute these four core international crimes in situations where states are “unable” or “unwilling” to do so themselves.”

Needless to say, by their sheer character and demonic behaviour, an awkward number of African leaders suddenly became prime candidates for appearances at the ICC.

The ICC is not, as Zimbabwe’s Robert Mugabe claims, targeting African leaders, per se. Even if it were, why should an African leader behave in such a way that satisfies the requirements of an ICC indictment?

Mugabe, himself a prime candidate for an ICC appearance, should maybe tell the world which of the African leaders the ICC indicted is innocent of killing his own citizens.

Mugabe has been agitating and pushing fellow African countries to pull out of the ICC, citing the fact that the ICC targets Africans and is biased.

Indeed, the majority of ICC indictees are Africans but that should not be used as reason to exonerate African leaders who murder their own people.

If the ICC cooks up accusations of genocide against African leaders, then that is an issue that needs to be looked into and pronto.

But if the accusations are true, then what is the problem?
Who would deny that Liberia’s Charles Taylor, Côte d’Ivoire’s Laurent Gbagbo, Sudan’s Omar al-Bashir, Jean-Pierre Bemba, Joseph Kony, Robert Mugabe and some of all these people’s deputies must stand trial? We should not set a murderer free just because another murderer elsewhere has not been arrested.

What Mugabe is trying to say is that, ‘even if we did it so and so also did the same’. The issue is to determine guilt or innocence. Period.

What does it say for the African Union when it says that, guilty or not, the AU will not let African leaders to be prosecuted by an international tribunal when half of the eight cases it is prosecuting were referred by African governments?

The heart of the matter is that because of the worsening sadistic and murderous tendencies of African rulers towards their subjects, there is greatest of needs to protect African people from their own leaders across the continent simply because African leaders support those among themselves who murder their citizens.

Africans must be protected from their own leaders. To that extent, therefore, the International Criminal Court is an essential entity, particularly for those who cannot speak for themselves or defend themselves from their own governments.

The African Union, the Economic Community of West African States, the Southern Africa Development Community, the East African Community all seem “unable” or “unwilling” to bring errant Heads of State in line.

These organisations appear to be more of Public Relations arms of African governments.

I do not care whether or not the ICC has indicted George W Bush and Tony Blair, as Mugabe is always yapping about, but I damn well care about the person who has killed thousands of my compatriots.

Indicting Bush and Blair will not bring closure to me as a citizen of Zimbabwe but indicting Mugabe and his goons who massacred our compatriots for no reason other than to stay in power would, in a way, appease those who lost their loved ones in what Mugabe himself conceded was “a moment of madness”.

We are sick and ashamed of foreign governments, organisations and individuals always having to intervene in Africa to save Africans from being slaughtered by their own leaders.

It is appalling when African leaders turn a blind eye to massacres being perpetrated by fellow African presidents. If African leaders like Mugabe want foreigners to stay away from their affairs, they should behave in a manner that makes foreigners’ intervention redundant.

Surely, the civilised world cannot be expected to watch while our leaders slaughter their citizens.

I agree with former UN Secretary General, Kofi Annan, who does not accept the view that the ICC is anti-African.

“The ICC is not putting Africa on trial. The ICC is fighting impunity and individuals who are accused of crimes; this point cannot be made strongly enough,” said Annan this past week.

There is absolutely nothing wrong with African leaders demanding that a leader in Europe, America or elsewhere be brought before the ICC. As our leaders, they belong to an exclusive and elite group of people who have some say on what and how world affairs are handled.

My point is that the failure, for whatever reason, to prosecute the leader of some country does not exonerate those accused of genocide elsewhere.

For its part, the ICC must and should spread its wings if it is to be believable, respected and considered a serious champion of fairness, law and order. It must not be seen to exist to punish and humiliate Africans only. It must be there to provide, to serve justice and to protect citizens of the world.

Accusations of targeting Africans only are disturbing and that must be corrected as a matter of urgency because the world needs the ICC.

Said Annan: “The question I cannot ask often enough is: who speaks for the victims? How do they get justice? Who’s in their corner?”
The answer to that, I am afraid to say, is that Africans are finding no sympathy from Africans; no one is in our corner but some strangers from faraway places.

There is a very good reason why African leaders have to be hunted down, arrested and taken away, kicking and screaming, to be tried in Europe for what they did to their African brethren in Africa?

There is a very good reason why Charles Taylor, who butchered his compatriots in Liberia, is now serving his sentence in England and not in Liberia or Ethiopia.

I am Tanonoka Joseph Whande and that, my fellow Zimbabweans, is the way it is today, Monday, October 14, 2013.


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    Michael 8 years ago

    Black African leadership slaughtering their own black African people???? Why should the free world care????

    Answer is; They do care.
    The bullsh1t diatribe spewed from African tyrants would try to deceive the world that the continent is capable of policing themselves, yet the same leadership’s duplicity in crimes against humanity is well documented. The truth of the matter is “there has never been such a thing as an African solution for an African problem” Africa is not some isolated planet that is beyond reach.

    Can you imagine who would be convicted in an ACC (African Criminal Court), only the innocent victims would appear, their crime, wanting a better life for their family and self.

    This kind of article, published for African benefit only falls on the deaf ears of the people whom have suffered so much already.

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    Haruna 8 years ago

    ‘We should not set a murderer free just because another murderer elsewhere has not been arrested’. Good point Tanonoka.

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    Well said Whande. By attacking the ICC Mugabe prooves that he is indeed one of those who must face the international tribunal for crimes against his fellow Zimbabweans. Blai, Bush and other big powers attacked other countries like Iraq yes but before doing so they made it public as to why they would do it. But secretely cutting open woumbs of young pregnant woman toi instil fear on a minority tribe because a century ago their grandfathers attacked your grandfather is not only primitive but extreme a

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    Cutting open woumbs of pregnant young women because their grandfathers attacked yours a century ago is extremely primitive. Mugabe’s Gukurahundi did exactly that. That is why it has been declared a genocide and there is every reason to get the perpetrators of that crime to the ICC.

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    Jrr56 8 years ago

    Those that have a lot to hide will complain.

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    how much is the journalist getting?

    where are media ethics gone to? THE WEST? and not dogs in this instance.

    did not Zimbabwe achieve the land mark Unity Accord that is commemorated every year in December? and is also a national holiday.

    did not smith and his colonialist mentalities divide zimbabwe on tribal grounds?

    so why now say mugabe this mugabe that? get real mr journalist and try not to make money with politicking. put your chin up and be ethical otherwise you are not doing anyone a favour but playing a tune your masters want to hear.

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      Mthwakazi 8 years ago

      @finish gogo

      There is no Unity Accord in Zimbabwe, all we know is a Gukurahundi Accord of 1987!!

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    Nyoni 8 years ago

    A crime is a crime and no one person is immune. Mugabe and his click of merry men are not beyond the law outside of Zimbabwe. In Zimbabwe they can flaunt the law to suit themselves. This goes for the rest of Africa as well. By murdering innocent women and children to gain political leverage and then claim innocence is complete nonsense. A crime was committed in Zimbabwe and those people who committed it must face the music.

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    msizeni silwelani 8 years ago

    “No amount of showing us dirty people will prove you clean”. Mugabe and his henchmens’ hands are bloodied. First, the gukurahundi, then brought forward to MDC cadres. The objectives of the ICC are well spelt hence Mugabe’s rattle directed at the body. Africa has an abudance of despots, tyrants, authoritarians and an ICC equivalent led by Africans is Mugabe’s wapped project. Another boy to listen to his folklores .

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    What a gud article. Finish gogo u say because there is Unity day cos of e unity accord so all cases shd be dropped??? That e impunity we dislike. Does that bring parents to e orphaned, dead husbands to their wives or dead wives to their husbands. Because of such mentality Zim is always in involved in violence. First it was agst zapu then ZUM. We all know what happened to Kombayi and his assailants Elias Kanengoni and Kizito Chivamba. Its bcos of that mentality that we have lost many our citizens bcos they’re suspected of being sympathetic to mdc such pple include Ndira, mai Chiroto, Pfebve, Mabika, Chiminya among many others. Others have suffered heavily like Jestina Mukoko. Can all this go unpunished???

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    Dharma Appavoo 8 years ago


    I submit that the ‘White Man’ is having fun whilst running circles around the Non-Whites !
    The Belgians exsanguinated the Congo and liquidated Patrice Lumumba……yet nobody was brought to book for those transgressions.

    Gen.Seko was installed by the Westerners because he was malleable. And he was an ego-maniacal narcissist.
    He shipped assets from his country to where he was instructed.
    When he realised that he had emptied the Barrel he was simply abandoned.
    There was no finger-pointing !

    When the Prime Minister of Burundi decided to escalate to the Royal status, he arranged for the floor of the Coronation Room to be covered with Rose Petals and his four-year old son to be dressed in an outfit that was crafted out of woven 22-carat Gold.
    Three Million Dollars worth of Rose Petals were flown out of Europe and timed to arrive just a few hours before the extravaganza started.
    A few months later he was deposed and marched out to the local Jail.
    There were plenty of willing purveyors. But nobody intervened and nobody was ever required to account for the spree.

    Robert Mogabe did what should be expected from any full-blooded Patriot……..he re-captured his Native Land.
    That was the HONOURABLE thing to do.
    All the rest is Embroidery !