DA to impeach Zuma over al-Bashir

BY CHARL BOSCH - AUGUST 5, 2015

The Democratic Alliance (DA) yesterday submitted a notion of impeachment against President Jacob Zuma regarding the controversy surrounding the sudden departure of Sudanese President, Omar al-Bashir, two months ago.

al-Bashir, who had been attending a summit of the African Union in Sandton on June 14th, abruptly left the country a day later after the Pretoria High Court had submitted an interim order to prevent him from leaving, and face possible handover to the International Criminal Court (ICC) on charges of genocide in Darfur.

In passing his verdict on June 24th, High Court Judge President Dunstan Mlambo found that al-Bashir’s departure was in direct violation against the pending order, and that government failed to apprehend him despite being aware of the accusations and promising  to do so on numerous occasions.

An application for leave to appeal was submitted by government last month on the grounds that no provision was made for the implementing of the Rome Statute, and that the court should have ruled sections of the Immunities Act illegal regarding the arrest of a head of state.

Speaking in a statement, party leader Mmusi Maimane said the executive, under Zuma’s leadership, had facilitated in helping al-Bashir out of the country, and the notice will heard in the National Assembly on August 18th.

“The events that led to the escape of al-Bashir represent a clear violation of the President’s oath to “obey, observe, uphold and maintain the Constitution and all other law of the Republic,” and serve as nothing less than grounds for his removal from office,” Maimane said.

“In blatant disregard of their legal obligations, however, cabinet granted al-Bashir immunity while attending the summit of the African Union (AU) in June, and subsequently allowed him to escape the country. President Zuma, as the head of the Cabinet, bears ultimate responsibility for this decision”.

He also stated that the decision undermined “the independence and authority of the Judiciary” as a separate entity from government, and that this trait had been on the rise since Zuma became President.

“Under President Zuma we have seen a degradation of the principle of the separation of powers, with the Executive showing an increased disdain for the Judiciary and the Legislative branch.

“Impeaching President Jacob Zuma will go a long way to restoring the integrity of our democracy in this regard,” he said.