Over the last 10 years, glorified thugs walked the corridors of power with romp and pomp. They exuded impunity and arrogance, and rightfully so. They owned the earth beneath our feet, the jobs we dreamt of, the tenders we bidded for, and if you happened to be a government or parastatal executive, you virtually took every breath and every step at their pleasure.
They felt secure in their largesse, content that the political conditions of the time were permissive of their wrongdoing and that the institutions of government fashioned for deterrence were securely on a short leash at least, for the medium term.
It would be unfair to say that every act of corruption that happened during those years had the blessings of the meritless and kleptocratic government of the day. But a fish rots from the head and the head – the government enclave - was a cesspool of corruption and unbridled arrogance. The further away from power one was, the more vulnerable and insignificant they were. Sycophancy took hold of government and kleptocracts were fetishized and worshiped. Name-dropping became the order of the day. So dire was the situation, that even the most junior of all staff, was feared by the most senior if their connections to power were discernible and clear.
Now, it is in the nature of elite kleptocrats to occasionally break ranks and make examples of their third tier kindred. A corruption court was set up to prosecute police officers who receive bribes from speeding motorists and for bye-law enforcement officers who circumvented licencing procedures for a reward. The establishment of the court was to be and still is, a false symbol of government’s total stance against graft. It was all a lie. Overtime senior ruling party politicians had been tried in the courts much to the embarrassment of the government and the ruling party and to the amusement of the public and the opposition.
The corruption court was set up to funnel corruption courts to a central point where they could be better managed. As it were, prosecutors were registering corruption cases just about anywhere, and big people were being embarrassed. The dignity and esteem of an unsuspecting Judge was used as a cover for a naked act of judicial graft sponsored by the politicians from the day a prosecution team of which I was a part, refused to move a case from a Magistrate Court to the High Court where a case executioner in a Santa Claus outfit awaited it. It is a matter for the record that the said corruption court, has never since presided over a case involving a state personality. Only police constables and low ranking civil servants and those from private ranks who sought to circumvent bureaucratic procedures by greasing palms.
I am sad to say that most of the thugs remain in government. They still hold their positions of power and privilege. They have availed themselves as mercenaries in the Cava vs New Jerusalem war in order that when their time comes, their service may mitigate or excuse their fate. When Isaac Kgosi threatened, at some point, to expose those that would dare to cross streets to pick a fight with him, I took him seriously. He surely wasn’t bluffing. Between the main mall and the US embassy, there are skeletons everywhere. Will President Masisi and his men have the fortitude to go on an all out exhumation without fear or favour? Will they prostitute that necessity for personal gratitude and political security? Your guess is as good as mine.
The truth is that the glorified thugs are still feasting on the loot and hoping that the war between Cava and New Jerusalem would go on forever. They are hoping that the NPF case would keep law enforcement distracted and that in the end, the man at the top will say, “let us put the past behind. Let us look forward”. New Jerusalem are nothing but a crime syndicate fighting a turf war with the police.
Forget the international ratings. That is all Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn. We know how our country has been and how it presently is. Corruption has been the new normal. National projects were not conceived of necessity. They were, for the most part, nothing but excuses for massive capital outlay and plunder. Talk about a prison security fence that the manufacturer was prepared to supply and install for P12 million but was then, directly awarded to a contractor for a figure in the neighbourhood of P50 million. Prosecutions must happen. We must, as a nation go back in time to exhume all the skeletons and lay them in the open.
I hinted to someone the other day that the full story of what happened over the last decade will never be known until some key government departments are fixed and some personnel removed. The DCEC, the Directorate of Public Prosecutions, the DIS the PPADB, all need fixing. Ministerial tender committees too. Very importantly, we need a brand new Office of the President to spearhead the fight against corruption. The one we have presently needs a collective Eloi-Bushiri all-night exorcism effort. Brigadier Magosi has his work cut out for him. But then, I have hope. There are many days for the thief, and one day for the owner.