South Africa Postpones State Of Nation Address Amid Turmoil

(FILE PHOTO)

South Africa on Tuesday postponed its State of the Nation address, the keynote political event of the year, as the ruling ANC party is roiled by a battle to unseat President Jacob Zuma.

Zuma, in power since 2009, is fighting for his survival and faces the risk of soon being ousted from office by his own party after multiple graft scandals.

The African National Congress, which has ruled since Nelson Mandela won the post-apartheid 1994 election, is divided over whether Zuma should be “recalled” from his position.

As president, Zuma had been due to deliver the State of the Nation address to parliament in Cape Town on Thursday.

But the party’s national executive committee, its highest decision-making body, will hold a special meeting on Wednesday to discuss his possible removal.

“We thought that we needed to create room for establishing a much more conducive political atmosphere in parliament,” parliamentary Speaker Baleka Mbete told reporters.

“When we met the president this afternoon, we then learnt that he was already writing to parliament to ask for the postponement.

“A new date for the state of the nation address will be announced, very soon.”

AFP

Burundi Becomes First Nation To Leave ICC

 

Burundi on Friday became the first ever nation to leave the International Criminal Court, set up some 15 years ago to prosecute those behind the world’s worst atrocities.

“Burundi’s withdrawal from the Rome Statute will take effect on Friday, 27 October 2017,” an ICC spokesperson told AFP.

The move comes exactly a year after Bujumbura officially notified the United Nations that it was quitting the world’s only permanent war crimes tribunal, in what was seen as a major blow to international justice.

“The decision to withdraw Burundi from the Rome Statute comes at a time when the machine continues to kill with impunity in Burundi,” said Lambert Nigarura, president of the Burundi coalition for the ICC.

“Today, Burundian justice, as it is so-called, has lost contact with life. It has become a mere tool of repression of any dissenting voice,” he added in a statement.

But ICC officials said a preliminary probe launched by the prosecutor in April 2016 into possible crimes against humanity in the central African nation would continue.

“Burundi’s withdrawal does not affect the jurisdiction of the court with respect to crimes alleged to have been committed during the time it was a state party, namely up until 27 October 2017,” the spokesperson told AFP.

– Violent political crisis –

The initial probe was started by ICC chief prosecutor Fatou Bensouda following reports of “killing, imprisonment, torture, rape and other forms of sexual violence, as well as cases of enforced disappearances.”

The reports came amid a violent political crisis triggered when President Pierre Nkurunziza ran for a third term in office, winning July 2015 elections which were boycotted by the opposition.

UN investigators last month urged the ICC to move forwards and open a full scale investigation saying they had “reasonable grounds to believe that crimes against humanity have been committed” in “a systematic attack against the civilian population”.

Overall, the violence in Burundi has claimed between 500 and 2,000 lives, according to differing tolls provided by the UN or NGOs and more than 400,000 Burundians have fled abroad.

Set up in 2002, the ICC based in The Hague has often come under fire from some countries who claim it is unfairly targeting African nations.

The ICC now has 123 member states who have ratified the 1998 Rome Statute, the guidelines which underpin the work of the tribunal.

But Burundi’s snub triggered a wave of copy-cat moves from other African countries.

South Africa and Gambia said they would both follow suit, before then later reversing their decisions. And Kenya and Uganda have also threatened to leave, but not acted on it yet.

Zambia meanwhile has held public consultations, with an overwhelming 93 percent of those who participated opting to stay within the court.

AFP

Discussing the state of insecurity in Nigeria

It is not the best of times in our nation, Nigeria. If not security challenges, it is workers strike, corruption charges and lack of electricity or electoral fraud. But for how long can this go on for?

Congress for Progressive Change (CPC) presidential candidate, General Muhammadu Buhari (rtd), has said the 2015 general election will be a “fierce bloody battle”. He said, “We have decided, together with the party leaders, that by the year 2015, God willing, it’s either the government does justice in the conduct of elections as always claimed by them or it will be a fierce bloody battle.”

Solomon Edojah; a former Member of the House of Representatives, Olasupo Ojo; a Legal Practitioner and Abraham Okaro who is a Social Commentator were the guests invited to join the discussion.