South Africa: No, Mr Zuma, There Should Be No Immunity From Prosecution for Former Presidents and Dictators

Screenshot of former president Jacob Zuma at the Zondo Commission of Inquiry into State Capture (file photo)
opinion

Jacob Zuma does not see the institutional monstrosity of allowing elected leaders to do as they wish without any form of accountability. This is misleading and extremely dangerous for a continent like Africa - a hotspot for imperial presidents and dictatorial demigod leaders.

The world is replete with cases of political leaders and government officials who have been accused of embezzlement, and illicitly amassing wealth through corrupt activities. Paul Hoffman, in a recent article in Daily Maverick, called for the establishment of an International Anti-Corruption Court (IACC) to decisively deal with modern kleptocrats, who, like the Egyptian pharaohs, "live high on the hog". Hoffman points to methods such as State Capture used by these kleptocrats.

I agree with Hoffman that corruption "imperils the future of humankind in ways more insidious and continuous than the pandemic". However, for now, I would like to leave the discussion on the desirability of establishing the IACC for a follow-up opinion, and rather put my focus on the sordid "Zuma Theory of Dictators by Design" advocated by South Africa's infamous former president, Jacob Zuma.

According to Zuma, who is himself facing corruption charges, leaders must have blanket immunity from prosecution once they leave office....

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