Prosecuting errant rulers makes them become civilised citizens


Alpha Conde, the person who was overthrown by his navy final September, is as soon as once more within the information, all for the incorrect causes. This time around the information is that Conde, along with scores of associates, goes to be tried for a string of crimes, together with homicide, torture and rape.

Sound acquainted? Very, I’m tempted to say. These are the accusations we habitually hear about our rulers on the African continent each time they’re overthrown, which accusations couldn’t have been introduced in opposition to them after they had been nonetheless in energy.

In Africa, as soon as an individual, nevertheless mundane and strange, will get to the top of political energy, he/she morphs right into a deity, and nobody of their nation is allowed to query no matter he/she does or says, and that’s the legislation.

All that adjustments when, like in Conde’s case, they’re overthrown, normally by their very own navy who, having been utilized by these tyrants for lengthy intervals to suppress dissent amongst their folks, now get the urge to take away their bosses and take energy for themselves.

Navy violence

Folks like Conde I name “fake civilians” knowingly, as a result of although they masquerade as civilians, of their Pierre Cardin fits, in actuality their rule is based on navy violence that their troopers can and do unleash on their folks to maintain them quiet.


Attempt to scan the political map of Africa, and you will notice the place I’m coming from. What number of governments could be characterised as actually civilian, maintained in energy by way of consensual processes of persuasion. Hardly two or three, the rest being governments that relaxation on the brute pressure of the police and the navy.

So, the long-suffering topics — topics, not residents — of our international locations have usually to persevere below insufferable dictatorships till some plucky navy boys storm out of their barracks and shoot their method into state home, arrest the president and his acolytes and declare themselves the brand new rulers, to right away grow to be the brand new dictators

All too usually we’ve got heard the African Union condemn these navy takeovers, however these condemnations sound hole as a result of the identical AU retains quiet when these so-called civilian regimes are lording it over their folks, imprisoning, killing, raping or exiling all who dare oppose them.

So what ethical authority does the AU must name out the navy after they determine to take over energy in such international locations?

A scenario must be created whereby our “civilian” governments are actually civilian and civilised, the place they rule by consent and the facility of suasion, the place politics is completed by politicians and never by police, the place elections are elections, not choices.

The folks should have the facility to make their rulers accountable.

At present we hear that Conde is sure for trial, mainly solely as a result of he was overthrown by the navy. This shouldn’t be the case. Slightly, when the crimes of which a president is accused had been dedicated, it ought to have been doable to prosecute him there after which, thus obviating the need of a navy takeover simply so you possibly can have a president prosecuted.

Our structure

It could sound absurd, however, critically, if you wish to take an African president to court docket for any crime he could have dedicated, you could first overthrow his authorities. Ridiculous, however true.

I’ve usually heard statements by individuals who have learn our structure upside-down, who declare some type of impunity for individuals who have served as heads of state. However nobody must be held to be above the legislation.

There must be some constitutional restrictions on actions that may be taken in opposition to a serving president, together with ensures in opposition to frivolous and disruptive fits in opposition to a sitting president, however that ought to in no case imply that when an individual accedes to the workplace of president they grow to be resistant to the crucial of behaving correctly. In any other case the presidency turns into a ticket to thuggery.

As an example, it could be made troublesome to prosecute a head of state who made selections that prompted hardship, even the lack of life, to their residents in a scenario the place they had been entitled to make these selections as a result of they constituted actions which they authorised to make within the execution of their duties.

However such actions can not embody the fee of crimes, resembling theft, homicide, torture and such acts which might be forbidden by legislation.

Supposing a president commits rape within the presidential place — such a case has at the least as soon as been spoken about — does the truth that on the time of committing that crime he was a sitting president exonerate him from obligation? Completely no! His presidential duties didn’t embody rape.

That is simply an instance — excessive, possibly, however not unthinkable — to point out how ridiculous the argument for immunity can go.

Our rulers

One can assume up so many examples of the wrongs that folks like Conde are accused of, and which ought to stay eminently punishable.

Such lawsuits because the one the Guinean courts are going to listen to in opposition to Conde ought to serve to pay attention the minds of our rulers in order that they grow to be exemplary residents, not house owners, of their international locations.

Jenerali Ulimwengu is now on YouTube through jeneralionline television. e mail: [email protected]

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