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Muckracking Exra:Ralph in the dock

If truth be told, if we have celebrity lawyers in Malawi Ralph Kasambara is one of them. My namesake has the aura that can mesmerise any magistrate or judge any time even when he is spewing out pure gibberish.

Despite his relative youth, Ralph is up there in the stars with Malawi’s veteran lawyers, the Mordechai Msiskas, the Khrishna Savjans and the Michael Bazuka Mhangos of this world.

So I was not particularly surprised with the theatrics that surrounded his arrest and subsequent appearance in court. Hey, did he not have the audacity to call Abiti herself to the witness box? Did he not say he is ‘Raphael’ and not ‘Ralph’? My!

I hear he even refused to name his village and traditional authority? Wow!

But on the latter, I am with my namesake. I always have issues with the police and the courts seeking to know my tribe, my village, my TA. What is the point? Can my postal or street address not suffice?

Or do they want to gather statistics as to who are the most troublesome tribes in the country? Is that not tantamount to profiling people according to tribes, a colonial mentality?

Be that as it may, Ralph, the lawyer, has ‘been there, done that’. He has been Minister of Justice and Constitutional Affairs. Indeed, he has been Attorney General, not once, but twice.

And he is an SC – Senior Council – to boot, the highest accolade any Malawian lawyer can aspire for.

Surely he was at a vantage position to tell the system that these archaic formalities were not only useless but nonsensical as well, and, therefore, of no consequence. He could have initiated change of what he now believes to be useless formalities.

I know Chief Resident Magistrate Ruth Chinangwa must have been bedazzled to have the whole Ralph Kasambara before her. Did he not teach her law at some point? Otherwise Her Worship should have slapped Ralph – or is it Raphael? – with an additional charge of perjury for lying.

Surely Chinangwa must have known that Ralph is busy campaigning to become a Member of Parliament for Nkhata Bay West. Surely he cannot bid for Parliament without paying a courtesy call to the traditional authorities in the area, Timbiri and Kabunduli.

Ralph was just playing games. He knows his village and his TA.

But he has a point; let us do away with this tribe, village or TA thing. Are we not all Malawians? Let us be satisfied with the postal or residential address of where I am domiciled the moment I am at variance with the law.

By the way, with the risk of being in contempt of court, Ralph’s trial will never be fair. He will certainly be before a judge he taught at some point or had crossed paths with. The judge will either be intimidated or vengeful; whichever the case Ralph’s trial will never be fair.

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