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Solving the intractable mess: How State institutions are playing President Masisi for a fool

At some point President Masisi’s administration will have to reflect on its anti-corruption campaign.

In so doing, it will have to firstly reevaluate itself. It must ask itself; “Did we begin this campaign with the right intentions, and the right motives?” This is a question independent from whether the subjects of its campaign are guilty of any wrongdoing or not. State objectives must always be actuated by only the best intentions in the national interest. There must be internal dialogue on whether personal motives did not accidentally or deliberately get infused into public objectives.

Should the administration answer the question in the positive; it a must ask itself whether the manner in which it approached the subject, was consistent with the fundamentals of criminal investigation or prosecution. For example, it must soberly consider whether the embarrassment suffered by Isaac Kgosi at the airport upon arrest, and Welheminah ‘Butterfly’ Maswabi, upon her arrest and detention, could not have been avoided, without endangering investigative and prosecutorial objectives. Again, this is a matter independent of the enquiry as to guilt.

The third prong must interrogate the question as to whether the systemic independence of the respective role players in the Administration of Justice, namely, the Directorate of Public Prosecutions (DPP) and Directorate on Corruption and Economic Crime (DCEC) has been respected.

The administration must audit itself of any encroachment into territory statutorily or constitutionally reserved for oversight State institutions.

If all these questions are answered in the negative, there must be internal dialogue on straightening what is crooked. The safe position to start from; in my view, would be to take a bold decision and to press the delete button. That will indeed have consequences, including but not limited to political backlash, but there is still time, to do damage limitation and control in every sense. Besides, that is preferable to rendering, the state or oneself hostage to an error that may haunt one for their entire presidency.

Pressing the delete button, would not be a concession that those involved are innocent; any more than going forward regardless, can confirm their guilt. The inevitable cost at both ends of the spectrum, must be weighed. The end of the campaign, if not properly thought out will result in even greater harm to the administration, politically. I need not reiterate the polarising effect the campaign has had, and continues to have, on the nation. On the flipside, pressing the delete button, would give the presidency time to do a cost benefit analysis.

 The administration can bring in an independent team of experts to conduct a forensic audit of the investigative material in the possession of the DCEC and to furnish a report on firstly, whether the campaign has any future evidentially speaking; and the

bona fides of the conduct of the role players in what they have been telling the presidency.

The trouble that I see, with the present state of affairs, is that the DCEC and the DPP, have gone far out on a limb, on a range of matters. The two institutions are acutely aware of the possible repercussions of baring their souls to the President and admitting their errors. They are aware that the President would be livid, and heads would roll.

As such, they have embarked upon a campaign of brinksmanship where the public, and the Office of the President, are daily sold blatant lies on the prospects of the investigations and prosecutions, as a face-saving measure. 

I do not mean to disparage them. Take for example the Butterfly case, and the Afriforum dimension. The whole dimension is absolute nonsense, and a cheap lie to the public and to the presidency. It is meant to suggest to the same, that the reason why the Butterfly case cannot progress, is because the South Africans are not playing ball. That’s a falsehood in the extreme and it is for one simple reason. The nature of the crimes complained about, is such that the same would have been completed in Botswana. There is no evidence in South Africa necessary for proof of any element of the offence. The whole accounting system, for government funds is in Botswana. South Africa would simply be where the proceeds went. The evidence to prove the crime, would be at Bank of Botswana, the Ministry of Finance, and relevant government departments. At best, the South African dimension would be about the recovery of proceeds, not the proof of offence.

So, what on earth does the DPP and the DCEC need Afriforum for in so far as the prosecution of Butterfly, is concerned? It is a lie. And sadly, it is being told to the public and to the presidency at public expense and with grave diplomatic consequences.

Has President Mokgweetsi Masisi ever asked himself, why the DPP cannot proceed with prosecutions of the offence of stealing the P100 billion, and attend to the other charges or money laundering and terrorism financing, later? The man must start asking questions; and must seek independent counsel on available evidence. It is firstly in the national interest, and in the interest of his legacy, as President.  There is too much dishonesty from the role players. He is being played, and he does not even seem to understand that.

It is time for President Masisi to open his eyes. The light he is being shown at the end of the tunnel is an oncoming train.

Chief On Friday

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