President Robert Mugabe and his cabal are ideal candidates for international criminal prosecution and that is why he is pushing African Union member states to pull out of the International Criminal Court (ICC), a former Zimbabwean minister says.
According to New Zimbabwe.com former state enterprises minister Gorden Moyo told a public meeting in Bulawayo that Mugabe was leading the call for a total African pull-out from the ICC in order to avoid prosecution.
Moyo accused Mugabe of sending one of his deputies, Phelekezela Mphoko, to go around the country preaching to people that there was no Gukurahundi.
Gukurahundi refers to the attempted genocide of the Ndebele, allegedly by Mugabe’s 5th Brigade, soon after Zimbabwe gained independence in the 1980s. The massacre saw the alleged killing of at least 20 000 people.
Africa’s own criminal court
Zimbabwe’s opposition referred to the killings as one of the “classic examples” of crimes against humanity under Mugabe’s leadership.
Mphoko last month sparked outrage among Zimbabweans when he said the killings were a “Western conspiracy bent on destabilising the then newly independent Zimbabwean state”.
Mugabe could not be blamed for the killings “because he always preached peace and reconciliation”, Mphoko was quoted as saying.
Mugabe was recently quoted by the country’s state media as saying the time had come for Africa to set up its own international criminal court which would be mandated to prosecute Western leaders who have committed crimes on the continent.
“They committed crimes, colonial crimes galore – the slaughter of our people and all that imprisonment… I have a case, why was I imprisoned for 11 years? We forgave them, but perhaps we’ve not done ourselves justice… You set up the ICC, we set our ICC to try Europeans, to try Mr [George] Bush and Mr [Tony] Blair,” Mugabe was quoted as saying.
Mugabe said this after Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir evaded an ICC arrest order by leaving early from an African Union summit that was held in Johannesburg.
At the summit, Mugabe, who is the AU chair, wanted a mass withdrawal of African states from the ICC.
The veteran leader harshly criticised the ICC after Al-Bashir dodged his arrest, saying the international court was not wanted in Africa.