On Friday, the judiciary in Malawi got in its bloodied claws a high-profile victim in the name of rich business man, Thomson Frank Mpinganjira.
To all those who cared to see, Mpinganjira was never going to be acquitted from the case of attempting to bribe five judges in the presidential election matter because he was a mouse in the court of cats. When it comes to this, a mouse cannot win a case despite the quality of its arguments or despite that it is innocent. I am tempted to think that it is highly likely that Mpinganjira himself knew this would be the outcome.
First of all, the case was reported to the ACB by the Chief Justice himself in late 2019. In addition, witnesses in the case on the part of the State were the five judges he is alleged to have tried to corrupt. Finally, the one presiding over the matter was a fellow judge as normal.
So, it was a court house full of cats licking their pawns against one mouse whose misfortune was to be rich, famous and probably on the wrong side of political thinking. Guys, there is no way Mpinganjira was going to walk away from that court proven not guilty, even if he was to be innocent.
It is my considered opinion that Mpinganjira is a victim not of what he attempted to do but of a judiciary attempting to prove to the world that it is less corrupt and has a good moral standing. I am using “less corrupt” because some judges in Malawi are very corrupt and have no moral uprightness, they are accusing Mpinganjira of. This is a fact!
Not too long ago a voice note circulated on social media of a police man complaining that one senior judge who he was providing security at his house assaulted him under the influence of alcohol and left him with injuries for which he was treated as an outpatient at a hospital in Blantyre.
This is one example of the many cases of moral inappropriateness of some of our judges and lawyers in Malawi. I dare say that Malawians have evidence and if there was an opportunity in life for people to say what the mischief our judges and lawyers are involved in, it would be the from the rising to the setting of the sun where people would provide evidence of corruption, unfathered children, sexual assaults, twisted judgements and the devils knows what.
While he was being questioned in the case, Mpinganjira alluded to this when he asked the judge to recuse herself from the case because of numerous improprieties which included that the judge made various offers to Mpinganjira if he was to get a favourable outcome of the case. Of course, the judge refused to recuse herself but how convenient was it that the judge decided not to clear herself on this matter when she was delivering her judgement on Friday and instead dwelt on the money which Mpinganjira had shelled out to politicians?
The point I am making is this that while our judges have been doing ostensibly a commendable job upholding our growing democracy viz-a-viz deliver justice, their personal and professional record has too many holes punched in by numerous improprieties that obfuscate their fairness at justice delivery.
The real problem we have, in my opinion, is there is no one to police them. I am cognizant of the fact that there is a Judicial Service Commission which I am told is supposed to be the policeman but show me one case which that commission has even presided over to censure a judge for misconduct.
I see journalists suffering from lawsuits, forced to run apologies and retractions and getting reprimanded from their mother bodies and from everyone who thinks journalists are there to accuse and vilify. The President, Members of Parliament, Councillors are under the constant eye of the public court every day of their lives and judgement is passed at the next election.
On the other hand, the judiciary is some secret cult that is policed by none as it wallows in personal and professional mischief and distortion of law and justice.
Yes, we embraced democracy but our democracy is not balanced as long as certain sections of government are accountable to no one but themselves as if they are God and as a consequence, we shall all be victims of their machinations and always be found guilty in our innocence.
That is undemocratic and evil. Those scales of justice must balance for once.