Tuesday, 26 November 2013

“Neo-colonialism verses African Elitism” – the challenge of African perceptions of the ICC

Whereas the founding tenets of the Rome Treaty clearly indicate the global intent of ratifying nations to curb, to deter and to seek justice for the victims of crimes against humanity, the fact that such a court was considered necessary by the African nations that willingly ratified the treaty speaks volumes of the post –colonial state of Africa. They KNEW that they had a problem in their countries.

Perhaps it was the manner in which a “civilizing” force occupied and colonized the continent.  Or perhaps it was the manner in which the African people were deemed psychologically immature and incapable of adequately achieving self-rule until the missives and mindset of the colonizers became fully entrenched. That certainly seemed to have been the central focus of the pre-independence colonial government in the selection of leaders and representatives that they deemed capable of running the soon to be sovereign state.

With the systematic erosion of firstly the African societal structure via forcing hut tax and making fathers work away from their families through forced labor, then the subsequent laws that firstly placed limits on legal marital unions, and then determined that the African female is of the same mindset as a juvenile thus she cannot own property; the colonial government was very successful in undermining the myriad African cultures as pertains the family and the society. 

What is tragic is that most of these laws still exist in most parts of the continent. Not only that, but much of the African history prior to colonialism is not taught in schools, nor is the political structures of African ethnic government mentioned. In other words, where as the white colonial masters have departed from leadership and government, their legacy remains and is enhanced by the now black leaders and “African” governments.

In light of such an unbroken consistency of colonial mentality and national governance, it is absolutely ironic for the same governments to scream neo-colonialism in the face of the ICC.
Lest we forget the nature of the colonial government was that the African native would not be able to receive any sort of justice – a brief look at the records of the Judicial system of the time will reveal that Africans in their thousands were detained without trial and subsequently tortured and enslaved, some unto death. 

The changes to the judicial systems on the continent as a whole are so miniscule that an elite class will enjoy absolutely no recourse for their actions while the masses of “natives” will lounge in jail. Kenya is no exception to this sort of judicial failure, a stinging fact despite the rather superficial reforms initiated by the Chief Justice. 

It is not neo-colonialism that is bothering Kenya or Africa – it is civilization. To be a civilized, democratic and stable continent is something that African political leaders simply refuse to allow to happen. To be civilized would mean to ensure that a system of laws is created that take into consideration each and every culture and that seek to normalize and bring equality and equity to the entire nation. That cannot be allowed to happen because that would mean that those whose immense wealth, influence and power has been acquired due to the absence of those laws would also be subject to the laws.

This abhorrent “neo-colonial” concept of equality in Justice is quite unpalatable to the African Elites. So much so that even though they knew what they were doing when they ratified the Rome Treaty they certainly did not imagine that the ICC would specifically be dealing with their CLASS. 

This is the problem that the ICC has when it comes to its image as far as the African countries are concerned. Apparently, the ICC was meant to deal with the perpetrators of crimes against humanity but not those from a particular class of leadership because to do so is “neo-colonialism.” It is quite a twisted logic, one that clearly only serves the elites interests.

We don’t know why this is coming up at this point in time, nearly 10 years since the inception of the court. Perhaps the African elites don’t understand themselves to be military, political or economic leaders, thus subject specifically to the statutes of the Rome Treaty. Perhaps they don’t understand that the death of thousands of “natives” is actually an atrocity, especially if they caused those deaths by inciting, intimidating, funding, orchestrating or planning the violence. Perhaps it’s the refusal to acknowledge that there is power in one’s utterances, especially if that person is a prominent politician, featured in mass media and that person deliberately incites, provokes, and encourages violence against perceived rival groups.

In any case, when Elites, especially African elites end up in International Courts they do seem so surprised;  surprised that they can actually be subjected to a course of justice, that they are party to law even though in their own countries that never happened.

That’s why they call it neo-colonialism, because for the first time since the “wabeberu” left, they are facing the law and it reminds them of that time. But the fact that they do not face the law locally such that the International Criminal Court is invoked is testament to their dangerous elitism that subjugates the rest of Africa. Most importantly, lost in this perverted narrative against the ICC is the fact that African victims are the ones represented at the court, and that it is Africans themselves who have referred 5 out of the 8 cases at the ICC. It’s a matter of fact, as Desmond Tutu once said, “the ICC could not be more African if it tried”. Rather it is clear, that according to these “neo-panAfricans” that it is only African to be in line with their own selfish interests, it is "un-African" to stand up to their oppression and murderous tendencies.

No comments:

Post a Comment