Written by Makusha Mugabe   
Tuesday, 30 November 2010

ImageComment: Robert Mugabe’s spirited defense of Sudanese President Omar Hassan al-Bashir may be logical to gullible G99 members at the UN, but at the bottom of it is Mugabe’s own self-interest.

“If Bashir is hauled before the International Criminal Court (ICC), maybe I will be next…” is the only logic operating in Mugabe’s head, but he is able to bamboozle grown men who call themselves heads of states with silly arguments.

His call for Tony Blair and George Bush to be indicted for war crimes, instead of prosecuting Bashir, drew applause as usual and will be quoted in all the tin-pot dictators’ state-controlled medias across Africa because they also find comfort in it.

For its double-standards in continuing to engage with a dictator who stole an election, and who is refusing to abide by the negotiated terms under which his electoral theft was regularised, the EU got what they deserved from Mugabe.

Speaking at a joint summit of the EU and African states, where they had a choice of whether to invite him or not, Mugabe said the ICC was applying double standards by indicting Bashir on war crimes and genocide, without at the same time indicting Tony Blair and George W. Bush who occupied Iraq and killed hundreds of thousands of Iraqi people.

The logic here is if you argue with a fool the world will not know who is the foolish one, and Mugabe has once again been given the platform to make the West look foolish, just as they give him the same platform at the UN every year.

Bush and Blair at least had a prima-facie case for invading Iraq – because Saddam Hussain had invaded another country, was committing genocide against his own people, just like Mugabe, and because he threatened the world with nuclear bombs and fitted every description of a rogue leader, just like Mugabe.

A UN resolution was sought and given which made the invasion a bit, of not fully, justified, but at least it is debatable.

Bashir has been charged by a duly and legally constituted international criminal court, with all the force of the United Nations and eminent judges deciding whether to bring these charges. They upheld the request of the chief prosecutor, Luis Moreno-Ocampo, to charge Bashir with war crimes and crimes against humanity over the deaths of 200,000 since 2003.

Mugabe and his African Union, and even the Arab Union of dictators, say this is “neo-colonialism”. In other words, the world should watch while they murder, exterminate, torture and rape and direct attacks on civilian populations.

Bashir has held power for 20 years as commander-in-chief, and when non-Arabs in 2003 complained of marginalisation and neglect, his government armed, trained and financed bands of Arab nomads to attack villages across Darfur, killing, raping and looting as they went, with the army providing air and ground support.

The strategy caused 35,000 violent deaths, and further allegations are that Bashir wanted to eliminate the Fur, Marsalit and Zaghawa ethnic groups, whom he deemed supportive of the rebels. Mugabe (using his CIO and even regular forces) committed similar crimes of murdering political opponents and files have been opened at various international institutions, though no indictment as been secured at the ICC.

Mugabe called his genocide A Moment of Madness, but barred further investigations to find out who was temporarily mad, himself, his ministers or the soldiers; he pulled Zimbabwe from the Commonwealth because he could not abide by standards that he signed up for in the Harare Declaration; he has now caused the suspension of the operations of the SADC Tribunal despite denials by its dim-witted executive secretary Tomaz Salomao – further proving Mugabe’s credentials of international lawlessness.

But how the European Union saw him as a fit and proper person to interact with on peace and security issues is a wonder. If the European Union is so desperate in the global competition for resources and partners as to interact with such dictators, then they got what they deserve. They may as well have invited Bashir.

The telling statement in what Mugabe said to them is this: “Bashir is not with us now. Why? Because some European countries said if he comes, they will not attend the summit.

“They are wrong because they shouldn’t take this decision before we know if he is guilty or innocent … Only a court in his own country can decide if he is guilty or not.”

This is what he wants for himself as well, that a court made up of judges whom he unilaterally appointed and doled out land and plasma TVs to – while the rest of the country was surviving on handouts from the West – should find him guilty.

By refusing to abide by the terms of the SADC agreement that allowed him to remain President, Mugabe is now a pariah within the African Union and the SADC, whose spineless leaders would rather avoid attending their own summit than pin Mugabe down to decisions that have been made by their previous Summits at great expense to the people of the region.

Instead of South African President Jacob Zuma bringing this peace-and-security issue that is hanging around his neck to this forum, he chose to talk about the pie-in-the-sky Millennium Development Goals which it is clear to everyone that they cannot be achieved in Africa without good governance.