Africa's solution is in women presidentsBy RAY NALUYAGA in Nairobi | Thursday, June 7 2012 at 14:16
The African Union Summit is scheduled for Malawi next month and the focus is whether Sudan’s strongman Omar Al-Bashir will defy arrest warning from the host president.
Malawi’s President Joyce Banda recently assured Britain of Al-Bashir’s arrest if he showed up for the Malawi summit.
This is a drastic change on the country’s position, barely a year after Malawi rejected calls to arrest the man who is wanted by the International Criminal Court (ICC) for war crimes committed in his country's Darfur region.
President Bashir visited Malawi in October last year when it was under the late Bingu wa Mutharika
Mr Mutharika was a staunch critic of the ICC.
He accused the court of unfairly targeting African leaders and believed that Africa should set up its own court to try alleged war criminals.
Similarly, explaining why the country would not arrest Bashir at the time, despite being signatory to the Rome Statute, the then Malawi Foreign minister, Mr Peter Mutharika, said the country would not arrest the Sduan leader, because of "brotherly coexistence" between member states of the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa.
President Bashir was charged in 2009 with war crimes, crimes against humanity, and crimes of extermination and rape in Darfur, where African rebel groups have fought with Khartoum-backed Arab militias since 2003.
The UN says the fighting killed more than 300,000 people and made 2.5 million others refugees.
President Banda said a decision by her predecessor to allow Bashir to visit Malawi had cost her country $350 million in US aid.
The money was allocated to Malawi through the Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC) for revitalising the country’s faltering energy sector.
Malawi is among the world's poorest countries.
The economy is heavily dependent on agriculture, with a largely rural population. The country’s government depends heavily on outside aid for development needs.
Donor assistance to Malawi accounts for 40 per cent of the country’s total budget.
Initially, Malawi sought AU's help to convince President Bashir not to attend the summit. However, the AU Commission said it had no mandate to stop a president of a member country from attending a summit.
This response prompted Mrs Banda to exercise her powers as the president of a sovereign state, with its primary interest being the people of Malawi.
Citing economic reasons, Mrs Banda made it clear to AU that President Bashir would be arrested if he went to Malawi for the 19th Summit of the African Union.
“Malawi is already going through unprecedented economic problems and it would not be prudent enough to take a risk by allowing one person to attend the summit against much resistance from our cooperating partners and donors,” President Banda told a news conference.
Let it be remembered that following Mutharika’s choice of “brotherly affections” with Bashir, Malawi people suffered a loss from frozen aid to the tune of $1 billion from the US and Britain alone!
Regardless of what Malawi suffered as a result of Mutharika’s decision, the AU went out to condemn steps taken by the donors of freezing aid to the southern Africa state.
The AU further failed and continues to fail to see the consequences majority poor Africans suffer as a result of harbouring an accused war suspect.
In a clear stand that shows the AU was African leaders' club with no interest in the welfare of the majority, most of who suffer due to the greed and poor leadership of their presidents and allies, the union invoked the question of immunity to defend Mutharika and Bashir.
Echoing Mutharika’s position, AU Commission chief Jean Ping said ICC was “discriminatory” because it only goes after crimes committed in Africa while ignoring crimes by Western powers in Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan.
Gambian Fatou Bensouda, prosecutor for the ICC, said AU's argument against the court ignored how many Africans had reached out to it.
“Anytime I hear this about ICC targeting Africa, ICC doing double justice, it saddens me, especially as an African woman, also knowing that these conflicts, most of these conflicts are happening on the continent of Africa,” she said.
Ms Bensouda added that trials of Africans were for Africans because the alleged victims were Africans.
"We say that ICC is targeting Africans, but all of the victims in our cases in Africa are African victims. They are not from another continent. They are African victims and they are the ones who are suffering these crimes," she stressed.
The African president must understand that Africans were sick and tired of their hypocrisy and self-centred approach towards the West.
This is evidenced by reactions from all over the continent in social media and the Internet in support of President Banda’s move.
The majority observe that President Banda had put the interest of the people of Malawi ahead of anything else.
Having shown a way out of decades of poverty and suffering, courtesy of Africa's poor and selfish leadership, Mrs Banda has told the world that women presidents was the solution to Africa's myriad woes.
Should Kenya spend $8.2 million to acquire an office for retired President Kibaki?speak out
Read Story: Should Kenya spend $8.2 million to acquire an office for retired President Kibaki?
- The girl who met Gaddafi 'in hell'
- Nigerian deportee demands pay for Kenyan officials' release
- Ethiopia secures $300m Indian rail loan
- 7 Kenyans held in Lagos over deported 'Nigerian'
- Bill Clinton to visit Senegal ahead of Obama
- Kenyan call girls go high-tech
- Nile saga: Ethiopia and Egypt now favour dialogue
- Nairobi in pictures: Past and present
- Hospital quiet on Museveni birth records mystery
Beyond the ballot