No Champagne and Canapes for Bashir in Pretoria
The Sudanese president Omer Hassan Al-Bashir will not be invited to the inauguration ceremony of the South African president-elect Jacob Zuma, according to news reports.
The ruling African National Congress (ANC) headed by Zuma has an absolute majority in general polls paving the way for the parliament to elect him as the new head of state in an early May vote.
The UK based ‘Times’ newspaper citing unidentified South African diplomatic sources reported that Zuma indicated that Bashir will not be welcome at his inauguration on May 9, and that he could even risk arrest and deportation to International Criminal Court (ICC).
South Africa is a member of the ICC and is legally obligated to apprehend Bashir if he lands on its territory. However under former South African president Thabo Mbeki it has taken a strong stance in support of Bashir against the ICC.
Mbeki is now heading an African Union appointed panel to resolve the row between Sudan and the ICC by finding other means to bring accountability while preserving peace stakes.
After the embarrassment that was Mbeki — with his appalling support not only for Bashir, but for Mugabe, as well — Zuma is a welcome change. Strike one more country off the list of places Bashir won’t be visiting anytime soon.