my child,

is love in action.

Every time we love,

every time we give,

it’s Christmas”

Dale Evans Rogers

I said it on these pages before that the trial of Ralph (or is it Raphael?) Kasambara, one of Malawi finest – if not most controversial – lawyers, would not be without theatrics.

Allow me to gloat a bit for it seems I am being vindicated already. But let us come back to this Ralph – if not rough – subject a little later…

…So it is that season again.

To some Christmas is a season of reflection, to others a season of love and giving.

But, if truth be told, to the majority of us, Christmas is time to make merry. In fact most of us unwittingly take out the ‘Christ’ in Christmas and throw in an extra ‘s’ to enjoy ‘mass’ parties, if you get my drift.

Those of us who are Christian re-live the nativity and, despite playing for thousands of years, it somehow still feels fresh each passing year. We sing the same Christmas carols we sang when we were toddlers over and over again with the same gusto. But, somehow, we never seem to tire of them.

Christmas is, however, not only for Christians. Everyone everywhere in the world has a piece of Christmas in them. Even if you do not believe in Christ or his big Dad, the Big Kahuna in the skies, you still somehow feel Christmas.

So a merry Christmas from the muckraking community!

Now back to Ralph and the business of the day…

I argued before that the trial of Ralph Kasambara would not exactly be free and fair because of his personality. He is to us what Johnnie Cochran was to America. (Remember the OJ Simpson murder trial?)

My namesake is bound to have stepped on some judges’ toes while bedazzling others. Most of our judicial officers must have interacted with him either at the law school or in courtrooms.

The theatrics begun right from the start. He not only refused to be addressed by his abbreviated name ‘Ralph’ but also refused to be identified by a chief or a tribe. I am Malawian, he said.

To boot, his list of preferred witnesses is awesome. He wants President Joyce Banda and her sister, Cecilia, in the witness box. He also wants a senior minister and ruling party official and a self-styled prophet to testify too. Why he wants the President and her sister in the witness box is stuff for steamy speculation.

Let us say nothing about his intriguing bail. The courts sent him out on bail but refused to release him to the world. Legal minds argued that this was legally in order but for lay people like me that was non-bail, full stop!

Then even before his attempted – or is it conspiracy to murder? – trial takes off he begins pursuing principal people to his case. He accuses the guy he is said have tried to kill and the other guy in the related cashgate case of intimidation.

Paul Mphwiyo, whose shooting on that September night changed the terrain of Malawi politics, and Oswald Lutepo are key to Ralph’s trial and the cashgate imbroglio. Taking them to the cleaners will surely have a huge impact on his case and the whole cashgate affair.

It was therefore not exactly surprising that Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) Bruno Kalemba decided to intervene. Legally the DPP, as the country’s chief prosecutor, has the right to take over prosecution of the duo.

But your guess is as good as mine that Kalemba was not exactly motivated by the law to intervene here. Need I say more?

Now Ralph will obviously challenge the DPP’s action thereby adding more drama to the already dramatic case.

I am not sure about his innocence or culpability in the case proffered against him. But what I am sure of is that whatever outcome from his case my namesake will bring out the Ralph we know. I have seen him in action in court outside the dock. He pulls no punches, he takes no prisoners. From inside the dock he will remain the same Ralph we have known all the years.

Whatever outcome of the case someone – not Ralph – will come out bruised. Watch this space.

As they say in showbiz, we ain’t seen nothing yet.


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