The fear of losing power

Whether the Prime Minister was conscious of what was going on in the office he headed or not, Joseph Muscat is in a fix. He is – at least – either an idiot or an unwilling accomplice

Joseph Muscat has put himself  in an ambush of his own making
Joseph Muscat has put himself in an ambush of his own making

Aung San Suu Kyi who was once seen as a beacon for universal human rights as a principled activist willing to give up her freedom to stand up to the ruthless generals who ruled Myanmar for decades – and even was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize – is said to have once explained that: “It is not power that corrupts but fear. Fear of losing power corrupts those who wield it and fear of the scourge of power corrupts those who are subject to it.”

Fear of losing power – and its collateral benefits – must have been the motivation behind those who ordered and orchestrated the murder of Daphne Caruana Galizia.

A very sordid story is being revealed by the testimony that the pardoned middleman – Melvin Theuma – is giving in the compilation of evidence against the three men who were accused of carrying out the murder allegedly ordered by Yorgen Fenech who is being separately accused of this crime.

But the most serious aspect of the allegations made by Theuma is the obvious connection between Fenech’s alleged crime and the centre of power – people in the Prime Minister’s office itself.

Whether these people let power corrupt them, or it was the fear of losing power that corrupted them is a moot point. It could be a bit of both.
Some of Melvin Theuma’s revelations are more than just shocking. As I said, they continue to expose the involvement of people working in the Prime Minister’s office – Malta’s centre of power – in this crime.

Theuma revealed that Yorgen Fenech warned him of the impending police raid in Marsa where the three accused were arrested. Only a few people were privy to this information and Fenech’s source of information, in this instance, must have been someone high up in the corridors of power.

Theuma also said that a certain ‘Kenneth’ from the Prime Minister’s office went to his house asking him to send a message to the three murder suspects. It seems that this was Kenneth Camilleri, a former traffic policeman, who serves as one of the Prime Minister’s security men. He has even accompanied the Prime Minister on some of his overseas trips. More notoriously, he had also accompanied Neville Gafà on a controversial trip to Libya.

In fact, Theuma mentioned two members of the OPM staff in his testimony. The other person is the Rabat Labour mayor, Sandro Craus, who is also the head of Customer Care in the OPM’s office. According to Theuma, Craus contacted him to tell him he had an appointment with the PM’s Chief-of-Staff, Keith Schembri. During this meeting Keith Schembri ‘gave’ a job to Theuma who started to receive wages, even though he never went to work – wages that were no longer dished out after the 2017 election.

According to Theuma’s testimony, he had another meeting with Keith Schembri besides the one in the OPM’s Office. This seems to have been a dinner of sorts in Ħaż-Żebbuġ.

This evidence is damning. It points out to our Prime Minister’s office being involved in an incredible exercise of obstruction of justice – to say the least.

Politically, there is no doubt that Muscat’s decision not to fire Minister Konrad Mizzi and his CEO, Keith Schembri, was a serious misjudgement that has put Muscat in a very awkward situation – so awkward that it leaves him no alternative but to resign immediately.

But this does not explain the involvement of people in the Prime Minister’s office in Yorgen Fenech’s alleged crime – an involvement that has been revealed by Theuma’s testimony.

This is much more than a misjudgement on the part of the Prime Minister.

Do we have a situation where the Prime Minister was unaware of what was going on under his very nose? Were those who were trusted by the Prime Minister to support him in the day-to-day administration of his Office and in his endeavours to push his policies, actually working more in their own interests than in the country’s interest?

Was the fear of losing power – that these people could have had – a motivating factor in the obvious synchronisation between their actions and Yorgen Fenech’s?

The fear of losing power has indeed corrupted the Maltese state.

Whether the Prime Minister was conscious of what was going on in the office he headed or not, Joseph Muscat is in a fix.
He is – at least – either an idiot or an unwilling accomplice.

Either way, Joseph Muscat has put himself in an ambush of his own making.

If looks could kill...

This is the heading of an opinion piece written by former PN Candidate Ivan Bartolo – of ‘6PM’ fame – published in the ‘Times of Malta’ last Wednesday in which he recounted what happened when he had a brief chat with PN leader, Adrian Delia, during the protest in Valletta last Sunday.

In his words:

“While I was near Delia and chatting with him, I spotted a few friends in the crowd. I believe I know their political elegances [sic – allegiances] and, in this regard, we are on the same side. When I spotted them, I immediately waved at them, I was genuinely happy to see them.

“If looks could kill, I’d be dead by now. The eye contact and body language were a complete message of disapproval of me chatting and exchanging views with Delia.”

Bartolo continues on saying that this incident disturbed him so much that he “started walking opposite the crowd and left.”

Bartolo’s message was that this sort of attitude in the current circumstances does not make sense.

I would say that people deciding with whom others are ‘allowed’ to talk is the antithesis of the freedom that these demonstrations are meant to be fighting for. But I will not digress.

Bartolo rightly stresses that at this moment the restoration of Malta’s integrity is paramount and we cannot afford wasting time ‘giving each other negative looks’ and refusing to allow ‘political maturity to prevail.’

Bartolo is completely right. As he puts it: “We must rise above our differences and face the challenges ahead.”

Alas, I sense that Bartolo’s plea will vainly fall on too many – if I am allowed to utterly mix my metaphors – short-sighted, deaf ears.