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Khama must be called to order – Zimbabwe

Zimbabwe’s government funded media house, The Herald say it is high time President Lieutenant General Dr Ian Khama Seretse Khama is called to order and be advised to mind his own country’s business before “his wayward behaviour” causes division and chaos in the region.


The Herald Newspaper which labelled Khama, SADC’s slouching novice, made the call just after Botswana voiced her opinion against South Africa’s decision to withdraw from the international Criminal court (ICC). “South Africa has a sovereign right to withdraw from the ICC, after all, most African countries are disillusioned by the international court. ICC has simply lost its credibility and Africa should start withdrawing its support to the Rome Statutes,” wrote the Herald in its opinion pages.


South Africa recently announced its intention to withdraw from the ICC. The country’s foreign minister, Maite Nkoana-Mashabane formally notified United Nations Secretary-General, Ban Ki-Moon that South Africa plans to pull back from ICC. The move came three days after Burundi declared the same intention of withdrawing from the same court. According to the statutes that forms the ICC, it will take a year for withdrawal to materialise unless the notifications indicated a later date.


According to the Herald, Politics and international relations dictates that South Africa made a sovereign decision and such decision, they contend, has nothing to do with its neighbours or other states in the international arena where members are guided by respect towards each other's sovereignty. “However, the region's insolent cousin issued a statement against South Africa's sovereign decision to pull out of the ICC. Botswana, in a statement, expressed its regret towards that decision.

Ironically, Botswana acknowledged South Africa's sovereign right to become party to, or withdraw from any international instrument,” read the opinion in part. Their contention is that, Article II (1) of the United Nations Charter recognises sovereign equality of members while Section 4, in part, calls for members to refrain from threats against political independence of any state. Because of that, they believe, “these provisions clearly inform Botswana to mind its own business. The South African government's decision is guided by Article 127 (1) of the Rome Statutes which states that a State Party may, by written notification addressed to the Secretary-General of the United Nations, withdraw from this Statute.”


Botswana had expresses disappointment at South Africa’s decision to pull out from the ICC. For a long time, the country had differed with many other African countries who have been threatening to withdraw en-mass from the ICC. In the latest opinion in question, Botswana had contended that South Africa should have aired its grievances during the Assembly of State Parties to the Rome Statute meeting at The Hague due this month. However, Zimbabwe is of the view that the fact that Botswana feels that the ICC is an important and unique institution in the international justice system does not hold any water.


“Africa has made it clear that it is tired of the bully tactics used by the West, particularly, the United States and its allies, in persecuting African leaders through the ICC. The declaration, made by Comoros, Djibouti, and Senegal in 2009, was specifically in reference to President al-Bashir's indictment,” the Herald stated before adding that, “at the 2013 AU summit in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, Africa unanimously accused the ICC of being racist and stated that the ICC was prosecuting only African cases. AU announced its support of Kenya's application for legal proceedings against President Uhuru Kenyatta his deputy William Ruto to be returned to Africa.”


The Rome Statute which established the court in 2002, provides that countries which have signed the treaty be obliged to arrest anyone sought by the tribunal.Nonetheless, some Africa countries have been violating the provision as they believe their countries have to be left to solve their own problems.  South Africans for instance, refused to arrest the Sudanese President, Omar al-Bashir when he  visited the country despite ICC having issued an arrest warrant.

Among other atrocities Bashir is wanted for are human rights abuses. Nonetheless, Botswana has made it known that she will not hesitate to arrest Bashir and hand him over to the ICC if he was to step on its ground while some of the countries have announced that they will not meddle in the internal affairs of Sudan. Some of the countries have raised concern that the absence of important global players, United States, China, India, Japan and the Russian Federation, from the agreement establishing the ICC makes the court not as universal as it claims to be. These excluded countries in fact represent over seventy percent of the world’s population.



The ICC is believed to have descriminately gone after those countries seen as being weak and unprotected by the UN Security Council; considering human rights abuses in Iraq, Afghanistan, and Syria. “The ICC is unaccountable to any public entity. So who can blame the South African government to "wash its hands" off the burden that the ICC has become to Africa? Botswana, the British protectorate that gained a pseudo-independence in 1966 from their masters, should start reflecting on the direction it is taking against its neighbours,” the Herald further stated and adviced that Khama should “take cue from South Korea, currently battling to remove the "US' baby" tag that is causing so much discomfort in their region.

Botswana could be gaining favours for supporting the powerful Western countries but it should also reflect on its relations with its SADC counterparts.” The Herald believes that Khama had unnecessarily picked a fight with South Africa because he is “a slouching novice who does not seem to know the strictures of sovereignity.”


Nonetheless, Botswana has always maintained that ICC stands for the good of all nations and therefore it will always support it without “any fear or favour.” Just recently Vice President, Mokgweetsi Masisi reiterated the country’s stance that, ICC is all about human rights protection and adviced that leaders should be exemplary and “do right and fear no man.”

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The resolution by the CC, which Masisi proposed, is viewed as a ploy to deflate the incumbent, Mpho Balopi’s political ambitions and send him into political obscurity. The two have not been on good terms since the 2019 elections, and the fallout has been widening despite attempts to reconcile them. In essence, the BDP says that Balopi, who is currently a Member of Parliament, Minister of Employment, Labour Productivity and Skills Development, and a businessman, is overwhelmed by the role.

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Moitoi’s application follows the Secretary-General’s launch of the third edition of the Global Call for Heads and Deputy Heads of United Nations Field Missions, which aims to expand the pool of candidates for the positions of SRSG) and their deputies to advance gender parity and geographical diversity at the most senior leadership level in the field. These mission leadership positions are graded at the Under-Secretary-General and Assistant Secretary-General levels.

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