U.S. President Barack Obama on Friday headed to the southernmost shores of Africa on the second leg of his three-country visit to the continent.
While America’s first black president has family roots in Kenya where he is adored by many, in South Africa his visit is not being received with overwhelming enthusiasm.
The country’s largest trade union group, the Congress of South African Trade Unions (Cosatu), which is in alliance with the governing African National Congress, has called on its members to join workers and citizens across the globe to “actively participate” in protests against Obama’s visit.
Cosatu cites Obama’s “horrifying record of U.S. foreign policy in the world,” highlighting the “militarization of international relations for the multinational companies and their profit-seeking classes in the U.S.”
It is also opposing the “U.S. support for oppressive regimes that benefit U.S. narrow interests,” saying in a statement on its website that its call was part of worldwide struggle against imperialism.
Many in the country have already heeded the call with a huge protests, dubbed the “Nobama campaign,” being planned across the country. The University of Johannesburg’s decision to award him an honorary degree has already spurred protest and frustration.
Among the various organizations supporting Cosatu’s call are the South African Communist Party (SACP), and the Muslim Lawyer’s Association (MLA).
The MLA has taken its concerns a step further, by lodging an urgent legal complaint with the country’s prosecuting authority, asking it to investigate, charge, arrest and try Obama for alleged crimes he has presided over, in the hope that the court “will take seriously its domestic and international obligations… to act against international war criminals.”
The group believes that Obama is guilty of “genocide,” “war crimes and “crimes against humanity” and that, under international laws to which South Africa is a signatory, he should be arrested on arrival in South African territory.
Read more: Aljazeera