The Citizen (Tanzania)
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There is a growing move across Africa that is not only dangerous but also disastrous to us as nations and peoples who fought against colonialism known for all its forms of inhumane treatment and suppression of rights and freedoms.

Those rights and freedoms were not only God given but were due to us for the sake of our wellbeing and development, but to many places in Africa development became devilment, and the rights and freedoms soon became our own nooses.

Democracy in Africa became dwarfed and dictatorial tendencies flourished to the dismay of many. But Africa could hardly stand up to speak against such despotic places and instead pretended it was not existing or standing behind the veil of not interfering into sovereign affairs.

It has been proved to run a democratic rule is less expensive than to run a dictatorial one. Soon after independence many countries were jailing opponents, were suspending press freedoms, were undermining other political parties, were instilling military rule, and all the time expected the world to stay quite.

That same world that was propelling them with aid, grants to fund their development projects and most of the money going down the drain because of malpractices and corruption.

We soon grew more dictators that our garden plots would allow and the meaning of independence was no longer the bill boards we could be proud of.

Not that other places were not having bad leadership. We know of those in Asia and Latin America, some of them until now. There were those of Spain and Portugal as well. We do not pretend to believe this was only in Africa.

The reasons the world united to create a body known as the International Criminal Court (ICC) was to stop such things. And if not to put in place a mechanism that would deter them and if not to put a system that will provide punishment.

Almost all the African countries signed and sealed this international pact and I am sure not a single country was coerced to do so, but if anything they signed in order to provide a good picture for them and as means to continue to get aid, grant and development financing, probably.

In no way the ICC has targeted an individual leader or one single country, as it is made to look by some of our leaders. It was not made for Bashir of Sudan or for Yahaya Jammeh of Gambia. It does not target Pierre Nkurunziza of Burundi or Zuma of South Africa. I was meant for the system not the agents. If they were in the net now it is because of what they turned out to be.

But what Africa has miserably failed was to build up a robust democratic system that would protect human rights and fight off dictatorial tendencies.

African leaders have betrayed their masses and I see no reason and wisdom for African countries to pull out of ICC.

I shudder to think that my country Tanzania would join the band wagon. I hope we would stand different even if were to stand alone to retain our status in ICC. To me any leader who propagates going out, what I see is an individual acting on self-interest. Secondly, a betrayal to powers to lead provided by their constitutions and the dashing of hopes and aspirations of their people.

If and when there were good intentions, there is no reason to believe « why Africans are undermined by ICC ». Let us clean our houses and let our actions and intentions speak. God forbid Tanzania to go that way.

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