Indictment of Sudanese President a Lesson to African Leaders

Sat, 7 Mar 2009 Source: Pryce, Daniel K.

Good news, my fellow black Africans! I could not be more contented after reading on www.msnbc.com this morning, March 4, 2009, that the despotic ruler of Sudan, Omar al-Bashir, has been indicted by the International Criminal Court (ICC) in the Netherlands! Without a doubt, this bold move by the renowned arbitral body, noted for prosecuting criminals and human rights abusers like Liberia’s Charles Taylor and Serbia’s Slobodan Milosevic in contemporary times ? even while not the culmination of justice for the persecuted black Sudanese population ? is a step in the right direction.

Omar al-Bashir’s indictment points incontrovertibly to the fact that not even a sitting president ? this is the first time a sitting president has been indicted and a warrant issued for his arrest by the ICC ? can get away with crimes against humanity. Of course, there is the likelihood of hostile responses from the Sudanese government, its overseas cronies, and its paramilitary branches like the Janjaweed militia; but the good peoples of the world must stand by the ICC in its determination to bring this piquant and invidious evil, whose embodiment is one impenitent man called Omar al-Bashir, to its irreversible end.

On September 29, 2008, I got Ghanaweb.com, the leading pro-Ghanaian Internet news conduit, to publish an article titled “Kufuor Must not Allow Omar al-Bashir on Ghanaian Soil!” in which I unequivocally and categorically denounced the then-purported trip by Sudan’s tyrannical leader, Omar al-Bashir, to Ghana for an international summit. Prior to the Accra, Ghana, summit of the African, Caribbean and Pacific Group, which was held from October 1 to October 3, 2008, Omar al-Bashir’s spokesman, Mahjoub Fadul, had mocked the intentions of the ICC to have a warrant issued for the arrest of his boss, arguing that the august arbitral body had no justification for doing so. In fact, Mahjoub Fadul was quite sardonic ? and yet unambiguous ? in his prognostication of his boss’s unimpeded and uninterrupted journey to and from Accra, his reasoning perhaps based on the premise that, even if a warrant were issued for Omar al-Bashir’s arrest while the latter was in Accra, the spineless, effeminate and toadyish conglomerateurs, passing for heads of state, will be too afraid to hand over the Sudanese leader for prosecution!

Although many Ghanaians were unhappy about Omar al-Bashir’s purported visit and had clamored for a denial of visas to the Sudanese leader and his entourage, then-President John Kufuor, perhaps fearing denunciation by other despotic leaders on the dark continent, acquiesced and permitted the Sudanese tyrant into the country, the latter a man outrageously, ignominiously and unrepentantly sullied by the blood of thousands of innocent black Sudanese citizens whose only crime is their God-given Negroid features.

Even more annoying are the ambivalence and apathy, over the years, of world leaders even as our black Sudanese friends have been rapaciously spat upon; raucously thrown out of their homes; repressively slaughtered like goats; and remorselessly guillotined like traitors. Only the outrageously inhumane treatment of blacks in the antebellum southern United States would rival or surpass what our Sudanese friends have had to endure under the despotic government of Omar al-Bashir the past six years.

The Sudanese problem has been exacerbated particularly by the refusal of China, a world superpower and perhaps the biggest trading partner of the Sudanese government, to condemn these atrocities, preferring, rather contemptuously, to look the other way, while the skulls and torsos of innocent men and women, in Nazi-atrocity fashion, are ruthlessly and permanently pilloried and then bludgeoned to death on a daily basis! Even as tens of thousands of our Sudanese friends’ blood-curdling howls turn to faint sobs and then to silent spasms of death, one is forced to ask: when will these crimes end and where is justice for the innocent?

Even as Omar al-Bashir’s indictment was being announced today, March 4, 2009, the embattled, totalitarian Sudanese leader, rather than confront the inevitable, chose instead to attend a military graduation ceremony for his newest air force officers, the latter likely to be deployed to the battlefields in the dastardly and continued annihilation of Sudan’s black population! Presently, Omar al-Bashir is as defiant as any disgraced leader, but the fact remains that if he ever traveled outside of his country, he will be arrested and handed over to the ICC for prosecution! Perhaps the interminable fear of being a wanted criminal might just be enough to give al-Bashir severe heartburn and insomnia!

The Khartoum government, perhaps to drum up support for its near-tremulous hold on the nation, has assured foreigners and diplomats domiciled in Sudan of their safety. I believe that it will be foolhardy, however, for anyone to rely on the assurances of a disgraced, desperate and despicable leader like Omar al-Bashir. What the international community must now do is to mount relentless pressure on the Sudanese population to oust this despot, so peace can prevail in that nation!

I believe that the time has come for Africans ? particularly black Africans ? to reject authoritarianism and remove all tyrants and mutineers from power. Being forced to acquiesce to diabolical and oppressive systems of governance engineered by those AK-47- and M16-wielding brutes and savages should be a thing of the past on our continent. Africans must rise up and take their destinies into their own hands. If we worked hard and fought for justice together, our continent will, someday, become an oasis of peace and tranquility, similar to what abounds in the Western world. Let us hope that the indictment of Omar al-Bashir by the ICC will lead to his eventual arrest. And let us hope that the rest of Africa’s tyrants will learn a salient lesson from al-Bashir’s indictment: that their days of oppression and narcissism are numbered!

Written and submitted March 4, 2009.

The writer, Daniel K. Pryce, holds a master’s degree in public administration from George Mason University, U.S.A. He is a member of the national honor society for public affairs and administration in the U.S.A. He can be reached at dpryce@cox.net.

Columnist: Pryce, Daniel K.