Friday, July 18, 2008



July 18, 2008
Ndung’u Wainaina
The Standard

President Omar Bashir and his government have been acting in bad faith towards the peace process as well as doing very little to disarm State-backed janjaweed militias to end conflict, impunity and genocidal acts in Darfur.

Despite international community pressure, the Khartoum government has remained in denial about the grave situation in Western Sudan, where an estimated 300,000 people are reported dead with more than two million others displaced.

Rape of women remains much too prevalent as a weapon of war. Even though the Africa Union has deployed a peacekeeping mission with United Nation backing, it has shown spectacular political indecisiveness.

We laud the mission for the efforts to contain the situation, despite poor and limited logistical, funding and equipment support.

Pleas to the Khartoum government to stop gross human rights violations in Darfur are never taken seriously. It is regrettable, insensitive and inconsiderate for the current Chairman of AU to criticise an attempt to get an indictment of President Bashir by the International Criminal Court.

President Jakaya Kikwete’s criticism underpins the unspoken "peer protectionism" policy among African top political leadership. This is reinforced by how the Heads of State and Governments treated Zimbabwe’s President Robert Mugabe during the AU summit in Egypt recently. Kikwete and others criticising the ICC Chief Prosecutor’s decision to seek indictment of Bashir have failed to appreciate how dismally Sudan has failed in its duty to protect its citizens from all forms of human rights violations.

Holding top human rights violators accountable is the strongest deterrent. Justice and peace are not mutually exclusive. It is time to drop the notion that African conflicts are uniquely African and should be resolved internally.