PRESIDENT Robert Mugabe yesterday left for South Africa for an African Union (AU) summit where he is expected to pile pressure on the continental body to withdraw from the International Criminal Court.
by Everson Mushava
The meeting is also expected to tackle the issue of presidential term limits following the chaos that engulfed Burundi after the incumbent Pierre Nkurunziza insisted on running for a third term against the constitutionally mandated two terms.
Mugabe returned home on Thursday from Egypt where he witnessed the launch of the Tripartite Free Trade Area involving Africa’s three regional economic groupings — Sadc, Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa and East African Community.
The SA trip becomes his 15th since he returned home from a one-month vacation in the Far East in January.
Mugabe’s spokesperson George Charamba could not be reached for comment yesterday.
Mugabe, who is the both Sadc and AU chair, threatened in January this year to push for African ICC members to withdraw from the court at today’s summit.
But he is likely to face resistance from other Sadc countries such as Malawi and Botswana that have already indicated they will not support the pullout.
Zimbabwe is not a signatory to the Rome Statute which set up the ICC in 2002 as Mugabe’s government, fresh from the violent land invasions of 2000 and violent general elections of 2002, did not want to subject itself to external scrutiny in the face of serious human rights violations.
Mugabe is arguing that The Hague-based ICC has been set by the bullying West to victimise African leaders, since so far only Africans have been hauled before the ICC.
Also to top agenda would likely be African leaders’ attempts to change Constitutions to allow them to stand for third terms against their constitutional provisions.