This past week the International Criminal Court issued a warrant of arrest for Sudanese President Omar El-Bashir for crimes which, among others, include genocide, murder, deportation and rape.
For a long time now there has been an international debate on whether or not what was happening in Darfur (Sudan) did not amount to crimes against humanity.
It would seem like the International Criminal Court has once and for all settled that debate.
It’s a pity though that there seems to be a lot of resistance from African leaders against El-Bashir facing music.
The whole resistance is as we all know informed not by anything other than self-interest.
African leaders know so well that a precedent has been set.
One of their own, a character they resemble in every other facet of dictatorship is being held accountable.
And so it will not be long before the net is cast wider to search for similar offenders.
It is the first time such indictment has been issued against a sitting President.
For most of the democracy loving Africans and the direct victims of El-Bashir the arrest warrant is more symbolic than anything, but nonetheless still very important.
For the many refugees in Darfur, at least after many years of suffering, they can sigh with some relief that somebody has been watching their plight as their own government literally embarked on a deliberate campaign of murder and genocide against them.
Of course, it is unlikely that the butcher of Khartoum will be handed to the courts for prosecution any time soon much less when he still wields so much power in his country.
The Arab League, China and African Union have been united in condemning the ICC.
El-Bashir can celebrate, he is in good company.
Just as proof of his impunity the day that the arrest warrant was issued, the murderer was busy dancing at a public rally surrounded by the multitudes of his racist supporters.
These are the people on whose support and cheers he has relied for most of the years that he purged Darfur of the native, non-Arab Africans.
As was to be expected, most of Africa, a continent that has a wide-eyed dictator almost in every street corner has been quick to close ranks.
To them the offender is not El-Bashir but the ICC.
The argument is that the ICC has jeopardised all peace initiatives in Darfur.
It is a strange form of peace that is brought about by mass murder of innocent women and children at the hands of government backed gangsters.
The court says El-Bashir has a case to answer, as investigations have shown that since 2003, in his various capacities, the Sudanese “masterminded and implemented” a campaign of mass murder, rape, terror and genocide.
For many years many voices have argued that what was happening in Darfur had all the hallmarks of genocide.
These were of course lonely voices that did not attract the attention of the African leaders.
While the Americans from time to time raised their voices to protest the Africans turned a blind eye and instead welcomed El- Bashir as he trotted every African capital he wished to visit.
This is deplorable.
Africans have suffered long and much at the hands of their supposed leaders who thought they could kill and plunder as they wished.
It is our hope that the Development against El-Bashir will be viewed by every African dictator as a warning that the days of wanton human rights abuses which could be visited on civilians at will are now finally over.
African leaders have traditionally killed their own people without fear that retribution could at any time be visited them.
We celebrate that those are finally behind us.
Africa’s political leaders have not only succeeded in retarding the continent’s march to democracy, they have also been united in embracing each other even in the face of all evidence that a majority of them were criminals in every meaning of the word.
Nobody is above the law, and criminals who masquerade as political leaders will henceforth be accountable for all their acts of murder, rape and plunder.
More importantly, the leaders will in the same way be accountable for those acts that were committed under their names.
Just across the border in Zimbabwe, there is a butcher who crisscrosses the continent at will even as there is all evidence that he has presided over the most brutal state sponsored mass murder of our time.
Exactly when will African leaders tell Robert Mugabe that his killing of his people cannot be condoned?
African leaders should stop lending assistance to tyrants in their midst that kill innocent civilians.
It is our cherished hope that as the ICC makes efforts to bring El-Bashir to account for his crimes, other African leaders will be watching to see that going forward they will be held accountable.