Now that the High Court Judge who is hearing the case in which ‘Cashgate buses’ were involved has granted the ‘government’—meaning the Executive arm— permission to dispose of the buses, I can now speak. There was a time I thought I could share my thoughts about these buses but fearing ‘influencing due court processes’, relented and waited for the long arm of the law to take its due course. That long arm has decided and we need to make a decision.
When I say ‘we need to make a decision’, I mean the Attorney General (AG) needs to make the decision. Attorney General Kalekeni Kaphale (LLB Hons, LLM) is a good man. He knows the value of education. He is a product of a high quality education system that the government has afforded him.
But as the Attorney General of this beautiful country, where chiefs can be suspended [in Salima] for being, well, using Paul Keating’s words, ‘recaciltrant’, the AG has many issues to handle. One issue that I wish to influence him to work behind the scenes is on the disposal of the Cashgate buses. Where should the buses go?
My experience tells me that stationary vehicles are a problem. If you go to any government facility where some vehicle had been parked for sometime, for instance, after being involved in a road crash (others call this a road accident), you will be lucky to find the vehicle in one piece. Take the example of an ambulance that is involved in an accident. It is then towed to some government facility, waiting for decisions to be made of what will become of the wreck. A year, two, three and five years pass. We forget about it until a group called the Board of Survey thinks of selling the vehicle. They sell the vehicle on ‘as is’ basis—meaning without any guarantees that it is working or it is in any specific condition. You buy the vehicle and you send your mechanic to bring it home or to the garage. The mechanic tells you the vehicle has no fuel pump, no water pump, no oil filter, no gear box. You start wondering whether when the vehicle was being involved in the ‘accident’ all these things were missing. Did the vehicle not have an oil pump when it was being involved in the accident? You learn the hard way that such was the reason they sold you on ‘as is’ basis.
Let us move on to the Cashgate buses. We can sell them through open bids. We can assume they are in one piece. Chances are that any selling of these buses will court controversies. People will want to buy them for a song. This has been our nature, has it not been? It will be difficult to sell these buses because not many people can raise K100 million for one bus or close to it. But I have a solution Mr AG. Let the President, the champion of higher education in Africa donate, on behalf of our government, give these buses to public universities! n