Granting immunity dis-Grace-ful

“The minister has made the determination that the conferring of diplomatic immunity is warranted in this particular instance. The department wishes to convey the message that the minister agonised over this matter and the decision was not an easy one to make.”

So said the Department of International Relations and Cooperation (Dirco) after Minister Maite Nkoana-Mashabane allowed Zimbabwe’s first lady Grace Mugabe to fly the coop.

So we are supposed to believe that the minister found it really difficult to uphold the law and do what a government is supposed to do, which is to protect one of our citizens, attacked inside this country, during Women’s Month by a known assailant, who happened to be married to one of Africa’s foremost despots, Robert Mugabe.

A very difficult decision indeed!

I suppose now she expects a round of applause! Unbelievable!

The way our government handled the assault on the young woman, Gabriela Engels, at a Sandton hotel, is truly disgraceful.

The disgrace upon disgrace which our government visits upon us every day, is beyond measure. The cost is immeasurable.

We witness the very people mandated to promote the rule of law and its supremacy as the arbiter of our affairs, rubbishing and destroying it for the sake of their political expedience ... every day!

Media reports indicate that tragically, Engels was not the only injured party. A young waitress who was pregnant lost her baby as a result of the fracas triggered by Mugabe. It is alleged that one of her sons, in a desperate rush to get away from his hellish mother, slammed into the pregnant waitress. As a result, she miscarried her child.

There is no way to quantify the tragedy of such a needless and callous act. The most sacred of lives, that of a baby, was snuffed out because an unhinged family of political elite comes into our country and behaves in a manner which is completely beyond the law and contrary to anything remotely appropriate in terms of human behaviour.

Top among the “very important” considerations made by Nkoane-Mashabane in dishing out the “free pass” of diplomatic immunity, was the maintenance of good relations between Zimbabwe and South Africa.

So important was this consideration, eh ... among others, that a young South African citizen could not be supported by her government after very evidently suffering a brutal assault.

That Mugabe was allowed to scuttle back home without so much as an apology for her appalling behaviour, was unacceptable.

And we have yet to see if our lame duck government will do anything about the Mugabe son who was reportedly the direct cause of a young mother’s miscarriage.

“The minute you arrest the first lady, you are essentially saying the husband must get involved, and that’s the head of state and the implications for us are huge. Zimbabwe is one of our biggest traders in the region,” one official at the centre of the discussion between South Africa and Zimbabwe reportedly said.

In essence what our government is saying, is that our people come last, they do not matter. For this government there are far more “important things” than protecting citizens, maintaining the rule of law and applying equal justice – all of which have been at the centre of human struggles from time immemorial, including our own.

We have allowed ourselves to co-exist beside a despotic president, and now we are expected to extend this senseless accommodation to direct violations of everything we stand for.

Unfortunately, this should not actually have been a surprise. The depths to which we have slid, are incalculable. With it’s attitude towards the rule of law, I suppose it was to be expected that our leaders would run a government of a similar persuasion.

If President Jacob Zuma is allowed to run amok, destroy everything we stand for, violate the constitution and be protected by the ANC for flimsy political considerations, it is easy to understand that the same unprincipled approach would be applied to others of his calibre.

The blatant lie that we – the people – do not matter, has been perpetuated for far too long. We have MPs who boldly say they are in parliament because of the ANC, yet it is the people who voted for the ANC. Were it not for the people that the ANC and its government takes for granted, not one MP would be anywhere near parliament.

Maybe the ANC government truly believes our people are less important than pandering to the whims of despots. But our people together will soon assert their power, hopefully through the vote and show every misguided soul that, it is in fact, the people who matter.

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