‘Neocolonialism’ has become a widely used word by African heads of states in recent time, and in as much as we Africans resist colonialism in every form, but we must admit that more often than not, the cry of our African leaders are essentially further means of digging their poisonous paws into our flesh while building a web of impunity for themselves, and not as they make us to believe, an actual fight for the future of the continent.
A case in point is the lamentable wave of withdrawals we are seeing today by African governments from the International Criminal Court, crying that “the court had been used for the persecution of Africans and especially their leaders..”, as Sheriff Bojang, Gambia’s information minister, stated while announcing Gambia’s withdrawal from the ICC, on their way to becoming the latest african country to withdraw after South Africa and Burundi earlier this month.
I believe that one reason for all this crusading is the notorious plight of African leaders all too often aiming to maximize their continuos exploitation of the continent and shielding themselves, rather than promoting the actual interest of the people.
As the continent continues to rage in conflicts and crimes ranging from genocide to rapes (mostly committed by these same governments), instead of actually pushing for an African Union organ that would be able to truly spread Justice to Africans, they are more focused on providing cover for themselves as they continue to build corrupt and tyrannic regimes while so far failing to show serious commitments towards fighting the numerous human rights violations across the continent.
At the 23rd ordinary session of the African Union in Malabo, Equatorial Guinea, where African governments were only to vote on a protocol to operationalize the African Court of justice and human rights which would have given us some hope that the dark days when barbaric leaders went unpunished would be history, “but secretly, and with an amendment which had never been heard before, they managed to secure immunity”, as Netsanet Belay, director of Amnesty International in Africa, put it, and this self-awarded immunity is another reminder of how impunity remains so intrinsic to the political culture in Africa.
So, with national justice systems either entirely controlled by these same regimes, or in ruins in most of Africa, it leaves the ICC as the only true hope for us Africans living in the thought that at least, there is that tiny bit of chance for retribution against these heavy-handed politicians, as currently, the Ivorian ex-president Laurent Gbagbo, is on trial at the ICC, and an arrest warrant being issued for the Sudanese president, Omar Hassan al-Bashir for their parts in the crimes which the African heads of states have otherwise agreed to make themselves immune from.
But with the chorus for withdrawal getting louder, and an African Union body that is increasingly only interested in providing immunity for these heads of states, it is fair to suggest that these politicians are going the extra mile to destroy any glimmer of hope for the rule of law, or atleast for now, we can sadly proclaim a major loss to the victims of the atrocious crimes being perpetrated by president Pierre Nkurunziza and his ruthless regime in Burundi, who recently withdrew from the ICC.
And as Nkurunziza’s notorious promise that more African countries would follow him out of the international criminal court starts to bear fruits with South Africa and Gambia recently announcing withdrawals, I just wonder which African countries are next in line.
Written by: Abraham Zaqi Kromah