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Comfort Ero and Piers Pigou
When a leader of South Africa’s ruling African National Congress speaks on such critical issues as impunity for the perpetrators of human rights violations, the rest of Africa listens. We listen because we recall with passion how apartheid was dismantled, ushering in a new era of democracy for South Africa.
So it comes as a shock that President Jacob Zuma used the recent meeting of the World Economic Forum for Africa to call for a continental policy favouring impunity. Sharing a roundtable conversation with President Paul Kagame of Rwanda, Zuma proclaimed that the “world has changed” and that we must “do things differently and … not emphasise punishment” in dealing with leading perpetrators of serious crimes.
His statement is embarrassing and retrogressive, especially because the world has indeed changed – but not in the ways Zuma assumed.