“Be realistic, demand the impossible!” –Ernesto Che Guevara
Is it only me who thinks the publication of the Baker Tilly report by the Malawi Government is ill-advised, premature, misguided and risky?
I will explain why I hold that view a little later.
But, of course, most of us wanted the famous – read ‘infamous’ – ‘cashgate’ report published ‘yesterday’ for no other reasons than the ‘entertainment’ part of it. We envisioned certain names in there and we were salivating as to when they will be laid bare.
But I know that after government was pressurised into publishing it most of us were disappointed because the report – if truth be told – did not have the wow! factor, if you see what I mean.
Look, going through the report, one begins to understand why the British advised government against making it public. You see, the report is nothing but a bad draft of ‘work in progress’. For all it is worth, the report clearly confesses that in most – if not all – cases there is need for further investigations.
I actually do not understand why the duo of the learned Samuel Tembenu and Kalekeni Kaphale could not advise government on the folly of going public with such a half-baked report. Of course, the Justice Minister now wears two hats – that of a lawyer and a politician. Maybe good ol’ Sam is learning fast that rationality is not a virtue in politics.
I know the DPP-led government was under extreme pressure to release the Baker Tilly report because, after all, the party promised on the campaign trail that it would release the report once it won the elections. Holding on to it could have, therefore, excited uncomfortable suggestions that maybe the report contains certain names whose publication may embarrass government.
But the Attorney General, as Chief Legal Advisor of government, should have guided the politicians well. Political expediency should not have informed good judgment.
Look, the release of the report has only succeeded in providing Malawians with some juicy weekend reading, some free entertainment. It is actually a trending issue on facebook and twitter.
But, other than the entertainment part of it, it has also succeeded in complicating, nay, jeopardising the work of the ACB.
This is how I mean…to most of us, those ‘named and shamed’ are the ‘bad guys’ that robbed us blind, they must be sent to the cleaners.
But if you read the report with a sober mind, this is clearly ‘work in progress’; more work needs to be done. The report actually says it cannot be used in any sane court of law.
Look, it even found some people guilty by association. According to the gospel according to the Baker Tilly report, if your lover is a thief you too must be a thief! What rubbish is that!
But to the common man in the streets, after this ‘naming and shaming’ phase, they need action. And now! But the ACB cannot just arrest ‘a person of interest’ without incontrovertible evidence.
However, any delay in effecting arrests of these ‘named and shamed’ bad guys, the ACB will be accused of shielding certain ‘sacred cows’.
For folks at the ACB, their work is cut out for them and I do not envy their situation. They have to juggle between doing a professional job, that needs time, and satisfying public opinion.
Look what is happening now; the Attorney General himself has started exonerating some of the people ‘named and shamed’ in the report. The big question should be: if the whole chief legal advisor of the whole government has started saying certain names should not have been on the list of those to be ‘named and shamed’, why did he not advise the Justice Minister properly?
Apart from those whom Kalekeni Kaphale is publicly willing to exonerate, who else was not supposed to be on the list of the ‘named and shamed’?
If my idea of the workings of government is up-to-date, before Samuel Tembenu called Kondwani Nankhumwa to join him at that exposé press conference, he should have consulted with Kalekeni Kaphale to clear all legal cobwebs.
But when you have the whole Attorney General seemingly trying to second-guess his own Justice Minister, you know you have a government system in disconnect.
But, after all is said and done, although it has come as an anti-climax, at least Malawians have the report they have been yearning for. Whether the ‘named and shamed’ bad guys are as black as they are painted is the sequel Malawians are impatiently waiting for in the ‘cashgate’ fairytale.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :