I write this piece of mind having full knowledge that a pretty large percentage of my fellow Malawians or non-Malawians will oppose to what I am about to say but I think we, Malawians, should learn to think on our own.
Sometimes it is better to cast all cultural, regional or religion differences aside so that one should arrive at unbiased conclusion. Being greedy is definitely among the reasons why we quickly bow down against our own reasoning. It’s not the issue of not knowing what is right, but it’s about giving in to donors whenever we feel our economy or wealth is in danger. Such habits contribute to moral break down and affect our reasoning ability.
Coming to the issue of Al Basheer, some commentators say that he is a bad guy because of his killing of black people in the south. Others say he is murdering them because south sudanese are predominantly christians and that Al-Basheer wants to impose Sharia law on them. They solidly think that this is why the ICC issued the warrants of arrest. Well I think that is what you end up thinking when you get the news feeds from the same sources. This is doesn’t make sense in many ways.
- This is war, and both parties are armed. So what do you expect from the sudanese government when the armed group is at war against it? Do you expect it to just fold its arms waiting for the southern-armed groups to do whatever they want? Does that make any sense to anyone? Imagine if a group of people from one of the three (or four)regions was to take up arms against the Malawi government, what do you think would the government do? Would you call the government officials criminals for fighting back?
- Another interesting point is that some journalists keep on repeating the same mistake by stating that northern sudanese kill southern ‘black’ sudanese. What is the meaning of this? What are these journalists trying to implant in the people’s minds? I believe most of us have ever seen some northern sudanese once or more times. Have you ever tried to figure out what skin-colour they have ? Or may be the word ‘north’ means ‘white’. In other words, people in sudan are all black.
- It’s sad to see that people think that Al-Basheer wants to impose Sharia on the Sudanese in the south.It’s Ironic though to know that it was the same Omar Al-Basheer’s government which in January 1991 gave the southern states a non-Shari’a legal system, and considerable autonomy in internal affairs-this information was is documented in the bbc analysis published on Sunday, February 21, 1999. Then how come you turn off all your logic and conclude that he is bad because he is imposing Sharia Law on the Southerners. Is that then not a pure non sense?
- People should know that president Omar al-Basheer was finally charged by Hague not because he is killing so-called ‘southern black Christians’ but because of ‘orchestrating Darfur genocide’. By the way, did you know that because all parties involved in the Darfur conflict—whether they are referred to as ‘Arab’ (particularlyBaggara) or as ‘African,’ are equally indigenous?. Since the population of Darfur is predominantly Muslim, conflict is not about race or religion, but about resources as the nomadic tribes facing drought are going after the territory of sedentary farmers.
By the way, I think that common folks have the right to know that neither the US nor Sudan are signatories to the ICC. So the ICC has no power to exercise against Sudan or the US unless a situation is referred to the Court by the United Nations Security Council. Unfortunately (fortunately) Sudan –as a member of the UN, was referred to the Court by the UN Security Council. This is so based on estimates that around 200,000 and 400,000 people have been killed so far in the Darfur conflict.
On the other hand, It’s funny and becomes hard to swallow seeing that the US, Britain or France haven’t been referred to the Court by the UN Security Council for the atrocities they have jointly showered upon the masses of Afghanistan and Iraq alone. Forget about the civilians that perished through the US-UN Security Council sanctions in Iraq whose estimates are around 170,000 to over 1.5 million.
The US and its allies have managed to kill at least 919,967 people in Afghanistan and Iraq coalition attacks, based on lowest credible estimates. But why are the US, British or French officials not referred to the Court for these deaths. Oops! Sorry…I forgot that the US, Britain and France are part of the 5 Permanent members of the UN Security Council-so they have with them ‘veto powers’and I don’t see any way how they can refer themselves to the ICC.
I really wonder why does this so-called ICC thing exist. I mean I fail to see its integrity when it’s not exercising its powers even if it means implicating the big powers. Label me whatever ‘names’ you want, you can even attribute to me whatever weaknesses you think I may posses, but the ICC issue doesn’t make any sense at all.
Any way, for the sake of argument, let’s say the ICC makes sense. Then it’s obvious to say that Malawi has been placed in an awkward position. Some of us know that the Roman Statute of ICC, article 89 (1) states that;[pullquote align=”right”]”What should a country that does not have the right to decide who to come to the AU summit but at the same time risks being labelled a state that helps out the ‘criminal’ do?”[/pullquote]
“The Court may transmit a request for the arrest and surrender of a person, together with the material supporting the request outlined in article 91, to any State on the territory of which that person may be found and shall request the cooperation of that State in the arrest and surrender of such a person. States Parties shall, in accordance with the provisions of this Part and the procedure under their national law, comply with requests for arrest and surrender.”
At the same time we know that president Al-Basheer is not coming to Malawi on visiting tour. He is actually coming to Malawi just because that’s where the AU summit is supposed to take place hence banning him from coming to Malawi is tantamount to banning him from attending the AU summit. This is imposible because according to AU constitutive act Malawi has no right on its own whatsoever to ban another member from attending the AU meetings.
It’s also fair enough to realise that the whole Darfur-saga is regarded as an internal affair issue of Sudanese government. Article 4(c) of AU constitutive act says;
“The Union shall function in accordance with the participation of the African peoples in the activities of the Union”.
Al-Basheer is an African and his country is a member of AU. And don’t forget that the same Article (4) continues to say that;
“The Union shall function in accordance with non-interference by any Member State in the internal affairs of another”
So what should Malawi government which is both a member of ICC and AU do in this situation?
What should a country that does not have the right to decide who to come to the AU summit but at the same time risks being labelled a state that helps out the ‘criminal’ do?
Well, as I said earlier, for the sake of argument, suppose integrity-wise, this ICC was legitimate, then I would humbly propose that Malawi should choose not to host the AU summit.
The views expressed in this article are solely for the author and does not necessary reflect to the views of Malawi Muslims Official Website