July 22, 2014
Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) Bruno Kalemba has been the busiest guy in town lately.
Except that instead of independently taking suspected crimes and offences to courts on behalf of the people of Malawi, he has actually engaged the reverse gear: The esteemed DPP is withdrawing case after case and the ubiquitous media is faithfully recording them.
Not that this is illegal. It is not and the law provides for it as long as the DPP writes the Legal Affairs of Parliament justifying his decisions.
The only catch in this business is that all the cases that the DPP has withdrawn concern individuals that have got something to do with the ruling Democratic Progressive Party and it seems the top public prosecutor has only realised he could change his heart after the political grouping won power on May 20.
President Peter Mutharika and five others were charged with treason following the death of his brother, Bingu, in 2012 stemming from their perceived attempts to stop Joyce Banda from constitutionally assuming office.
The case was ongoing until June 2, when the President assumed power.
Former clerk of Parliament Matilda Katopola was answering an abuse of office case in court in relation to how Parliament awarded her company a tender to supply stationery. It was an ongoing case before June 2 but the DPP has seen sense in discontinuing it this time.
Robert Chasowa was a brilliant engi-neering student at The Polytechnic until three years ago when he was brutally murdered and his body left on a cold concrete at the college for merely being a hothead politically and speaking against the then excesses of the DPP regime.
Those behind the heinous crime planted a fake suicide note on his body with a view to dupe the nation into believing that he took his own life when the case was that he was murdered because of his political views and activities.
Arrests were made after a whole commi-ssion of inquiry found that this was a pure senseless and callous butchery and the cases were in court.
This week, Kalemba said Chasowa’s file needs more information before he can take it to trial. Perhaps he has just fallen short of saying he will also write the Legal Affairs Committee of Parliament, once again, informing it that he has in fact withdrawn the case.
The instant commonality to all these cases is that they concern characters connected to the ruling elite.
Is this justice? Did the DPP wait for government to change after voting on May 20 to quickly realise that Peter and others have no case to answer; that the accusations of abuse of office against Katopola have no merit or that evidence against suspected killers of Chasowa is all of a sudden scanty?
What is at play here is selective justice and it violates all manner of fairness and a just society. Ours is simply not.
Are court trials for those suspected to have committed crimes a preserve of the poor and the voiceless only? Should only the poor and those that have no connection be the ones facing the full arm of the law in this country? Why should this be so when we are constantly told we are all equal before the law? Where is the equality, Mr. DPP?
What is Kalemba afraid of to take these cases to the courts and let them decide independently whether or not the accused have cases to answer?
This is selective justice and it is not the kind of justice that the honest, hard-working and law-abiding Malawians would like to see. It sulks and it stinks.