Institute of Foreign Affairs and some revered academicians in South Africa says Cyril Ramaphosa’s government intense focus on Prophet Sephered Bushiri case is somewhat too much and opens the authorities up for errors as witnessed with various conflicting messages from too many officials.
In a statement, the Institute chief executive director Mpho Tsedu says many rhetorical voices from senior government leaders at the level of ministers and Director General fuel the narrative that Bushiri was not to receive a fair trial after all.
Meanwhile, Tsedu has advised President Ramaphosa to sanction his cabinet ministers to stop casually commenting in public platforms about the Bushiri matter.
Speaking through the same Institute, University of South Africa’s (UNISA) Professor Lesiba Teffo argues that: “South Africa is not on a strong moral ground given how they handled recent cases involving Grace Mugabe, Al Bashir and the Guptas. Things like these make RSA look like a banana republic. Bushiri saga just shows that we are not equal before the law.”
Tshwane University of Technology’s Levy Ndou, a political analyst, added that South Africa has to pursue the matter diplomatically because the Malawian government is not likely to bring Bushiri back.
University of Johannesburg’s Dr Ralph Mathekga says South Africa is supposed to provide leadership in the region and on the continent but the decay in the justice and criminal system is worrisome.
“It is bad for Malawi government if Bushiri was truly smuggled by his President but South Africa must be embarrassed that they cannot police their borders”.
The Institute has since advised that the current stalemate regarding this Bushiri matter is an opportunity for South Africa to explore the role of non-state actors in international relations.
“Track Two Diplomacy may be able to achieve the outcomes which the reported processes of extradition may not. History has proven that procedures for extradition are costly and extra ordinarily long. For justice to be served, backchannel diplomatic initiatives, instead of force and clandestine methods should be kick started urgently. Both South Africa and Malawi should be found on the right side of international protocols,” he said.
Bushiri, the leader of the Enlightened Christian Gathering (ECG) church, has said there is a “larger crusade to try and persecute my name in the media by a team of white police officers notably from the Hawks.”
The prophet has opened an extortion and corruption case against the officers , who allegedly tried to extort R10 million from him.
He said nothing has happened to the police officers and they have now embarked on issuing warrants of arrests against him.