'Mugabe helped dictator al-Bashir escape'

HARARE - President Robert Mugabe apparently played a key role in facilitating the escape of wanted Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir from South African law enforcement authorities last week owing to warrants of arrest that he faces issued by the International Criminal Court (ICC).

South African media were yesterday awash with details of how Mugabe had allegedly played the starring role in the controversial escape from justice of the Sudanese leader, using his positions as chairperson of both the African Union (AU) and Sadc.

Both the wide-circulating Sunday Times and City Press newspapers fingered the nonagenarian as having pressed his South African counterpart, Jacob Zuma, to ensure that Bashir would not face the music when he attended the AU summit that was held in Johannesburg from June 7 to 15.

It was apparently only after he had got assurances from Mugabe, who had a week earlier attended his inauguration, that Bashir flew to South Africa where a court subsequently issued a warrant of arrest for him since he is on the ICC wanted list, a development that angered the Zimbabwean strongman.

At the summit which was overshadowed by the Bashir debacle, Mugabe also attacked African powerhouses South Africa and Nigeria for having voted for the UN Security Council Resolution 1973 in 2011, which authorised military action against the regime of the late Libyan dictator Muammar Gaddafi.

But with Mugabe himself often being criticised by the opposition, civil society organisations and the West of brazenly trampling on human rights, the main opposition MDC said yesterday that it had not been surprised by the reports that Mugabe had been “wailing the loudest” when some “dictators” had been cornered.

Party spokesperson Obert Gutu said it was almost guaranteed that Mugabe would “do everything to defeat the ends of international justice”.

“Mugabe’s siding with al-Bashir is mere brotherhood based on shared interests. Mugabe has many things in common with al-Bashir. Both of them are intolerant leaders, who ruthlessly clamp down on any form of political opposition.

“They both want to cling on to power until thy kingdom comes. Both men are not bothered about the suffering of the majority of their people as long as they are in power,” Gutu said.

The al-Bashir drama unfolded after South African courts had concluded that there were reasonable grounds to believe that he was answerable to 10 counts of genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes.

The Sudanese leader, who has ruled his country for the past 26 years after coming to power through a coup d’état in 1989, is accused of having masterminded and implemented a plan to murder hundreds of thousands of his fellow citizens based on their ethnicity.

Attempts to get a comment from Mugabe’s spokesperson George Charamba on the role that his boss played in protecting al-Bashir were fruitless yesterday and Jonathan Moyo, the Information minister and government spokesperson was also unreachable for comment.

“On the Friday morning, as al-Bashir prepared to leave Sudan for Johannesburg, his ambassador to South Africa, Ali Yousif Ahmed Alsharif, is said to have approached Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe...for confirmation that the president would be protected,” the Sunday Times said while detailing the nonagenarian’s role in the saga.

According to the weekly paper, Mugabe subsequently summoned Zuma and his ex-wife Nkosazana Zuma, who is the chairperson of the African Union Commission, to discuss al-Bashir’s safety and protection while in South Africa.

A well-hatched plan subsequently saw al-Bashir slipping out of South Africa through the Waterkloof Air Force Base in Pretoria despite the country’s High Court ordering that he be stopped from leaving before the finalisation of his case.

Political analyst Alex Magaisa told the Daily News yesterday that Mugabe was not just playing his role as the chairperson of the AU in the saga, but also to protect his comrades.

“I don’t think we could have expected anything different. Just the week before, Mugabe was a guest at al-Bashir’s inauguration. As AU chair he would probably have been the one who reassured al-Bashir that he was free to come to the summit.

“So naturally, he would have supported his protection. But beyond that, remember Zimbabwe is not even an ICC member so he would never have supported his arrest.

“One of the ICC’s biggest handicaps is that three big countries that have an important role in world affairs — China, Russia and the US are not even members,” Magaisa said.

During the AU Summit, Mugabe also controversially stated that a leader should remain in power as long as his people wanted him, a direct contradiction to Zuma’s and other African leaders’ calls for leaders on the continent to serve only two terms.

Comments (25)

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CARTRIDGE GALLERY - 22 June 2015

Daily News, stop cheap politicking. I am in SA and South Africans are not mentioning President Mugabe at all! Please do proper research before you publish your articles. This is why you people were once banned - hamuiti, so! South African government authorities gave the nation an opportunity to air their views on President Bashir's attendance at the AU summit in the government gazette. No one objected, hence President Zuma, and not President Mugabe gave President Bashir immunity from arrest. I am so disgusted with this blatant twisting of facts. In any case, is President Mugabe so powerful as to command South African Police to escort President Bashir to the airport? Was it President Mugabe who instructed the South African aviation officials to allow President Bashir's aircraft to fly from OR Tambo airport to the South African airbase near Pretoria? I am holding the City Press as I type, the front page clearly says it was President Zuma and four of his cabinet ministers who cleared President Bashir's safe exit! I am so offended by the silly inacurracies in your article, Daily News!

Lance Kajokoto - 22 June 2015

Thats right Kajokoto the writer here missed a point.What President Mugabe did i think is he managed to convince President Zuma not to dance to the tune of ICC of which he openly accepted and organized a free and scot-free exit out of S.A for President Bashir.Why would the so called ICC want to grab another President on another African soil,just to mess up our relations and when animosity grows they laugh and say look at the monkeys now.if they want him let them get him on their own

carson macate - 22 June 2015

if they want to arrest him they should go to his country and go to hell daily news with your rubbish stories .

onemayo - 22 June 2015

Lance kajokoto you sound very angry on behalf of the very very old man! Why dont you let him speak for himself! And why did you run away to mzansi! You make me sick!

jojo - 22 June 2015

Lance kajokoto, you sound cheap and unsophisticated, a simpleton! I feel sorry for you, carrying such a dull and heavy head everyday and everywhere you go! Unedambudziko hombe mfana!

professor - 22 June 2015

Actually the South African opposition were talking about it live in this morning BBC for Africa. It is not factual Kajokoto that no one is talking about it in South Africa. I do not know about the papers but most international radio stations including VOA were awash with the role President Mugabe played. One such explanation is that Barshir`s plane left from a military base where no civilian planes are allowed and therefore no one except military would have dared to go in there and stop Barshir.

Jack - 22 June 2015

Lance Kajokoto, the tragedy of life is what dies in a man whilst he still lives. Only a stupid fool can defend Robert Mugabe's role. Why are you in South Africa? Both al-Bashir and Mugabe have a history of intolerance, abduction and killing of oppositions.

Dee - 22 June 2015

Lance Kajokoto u r simply trying very hard to appear clever.Result is u not making sense.He played a very big role this your prez

African - 23 June 2015

hey you guys ,if really the President helped al-Bashir to escape from SA may the lord bless him ,he is a true Statesman and a real African

jmarsmenj - 23 June 2015

It cannot be true that Mugabe now controls South African security and airports?

machakachaka - 23 June 2015

dai anga ari morgan aito mhanyirira to impress the Europeans by master-minding the arrest of an african on behalf of the westerners. mugabe has the spine to say no to europe whenever it is necessary. thats being african at heart.

zvirozviyedzwa - 23 June 2015

Being African by making the people of Zimbabwe vendors , i am sick and tired of you fools who support a dictator , go hang

Mudhara - 23 June 2015

TSVANGIRAYI,GUTU tec and company are merely siding with their gay gangsters and murderers also., period. so its a tit for tat.

anti gay - 23 June 2015

i wouldn't help a foreigner to arrest brother. i would rather deal with my brother in closed doors not to do the bidding of some strangers who do not prosecute their own kind. well done bob. that is the way to show the west that we are just like them.

sandura 2 - 23 June 2015

these dictators who want to rule like ancient kings /monarchs have caused untold suffering to us especially this Mugabe guy.

Big Meech Larry Hoover - 23 June 2015

Its amazing how with all the education that we have as Zimbabweans we don't know how to separate issues.I personally don't like how our President has run down this nation,but where he exhibits principle i give him credit.I am 100% behind him with regard to the ICC,its a rogue organization which is there to persecute Africans and other poor countries of the world.Why should we allow a fellow sitting African leader to be humiliated by the ICC in our own backyard?Never!Africans should be left their own disputes and conflicts unless many of us see ourselves as uncivilized monkeys.I commend R G Mugabe and J Zuma for thwarting the underhand and sinister plot by Apartheid remnants and Western Apolodgists to humiliate Bashir and Africa simply because Sudan refused to be colonized by the West.ICC my foot!#African_to_the_Bone

Swastika - 23 June 2015

Daily News kutongoverengawo online not wasting my money buying such a paper with poor unprofessional journalists selling lies. This paper is rubbish

wind - 23 June 2015

Taura hako wind ,hapana nezve paper.Rinotofanirwa kunzi "DAILY POISON"

jmarsmen - 23 June 2015

but watodya poison yacho kare. kusafunga kunoitisa kuti munhu arove ndiro yese yepoison ozoti iyi i poison. if the daily news is poison kindly go elsewhere friends.

sandura 2 - 24 June 2015

Tichadzidza zvakawanda gore rino. Ngazvirambe zvichiitika izvi. Stay Cool

F Rusinga - 24 June 2015

i just came here to read the comments

2pac - 25 June 2015

I wouldn't mind foreigners arresting my brother if he murders his own children.

Referee - 26 June 2015

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