The phone started vibrating and shooting up all types of colours into the dark room where she was sleeping soundly.
She was startled as the phone rarely rings at this time of the night. She raised her head and craned her neck towards the side table where the sophisticated instrument was strategically placed.
It was 1.31 AM. Who could be phoning at this time of the morning or night?
There was a surprise waiting for her. There was no name or number displayed on the phone. ‘This is strange, she thought. How could this be? Should she pick up this call at this time, a phone that does not display a name or number? Her phone is programmed to identify the caller no matter where in the world the caller is located. Inspector General of police Kakoma Kanganja got the technology from Interpol. The President has the ability and a few other chosen ones.
It appears there is new technology that bypasses all that. I better know who this is, she reasoned. She began to shake with fear which she immediately cast aside. It is a mere phone call. It must be important. It is not as threatening as some actual physical intruder in the house. She could handle any intruder on the phone, known or unknown. Besides she had a hunky of a man lying beside her.
She extended her hand and picked up the cell phone, swiping it to open it. She tiptoed out of the bedroom and into a sound proofed room specifically installed for her. She also didn’t want to disturb the man.
Damn! The sweet dream she had been rudely interrupted from was amazing. She steadied herself, swallowed hard to wet her mouth and throat both of which felt dry.
“Hello,” she calmly directed into the cellphone. “Who could you be at this time of the night?”
“Madam Siyuni, it is Pamela Gondwe. You know me very well and I thought I should call you immediately after you just had the meeting in which my name came up. I want to make it clear without mincing any words that if you arrest me, charge me and send me to trial, you will be making the worst mistake of your life. When I say ‘you’ I don’t mean you as an individual, I mean the government of Zambia and former Barclays Bank and insurance companies and the Zambian banking industry.’’
Gondwe was speaking at the top of her voice and at supersonic speed preventing Siyuni the Director of Public Prosecutions of Zambia from saying a word.
“WOW WOW. Not so fast Ms Gondwe. I don’t know that well other than what I read in the papers. First things first. How did you get my number and secondly what are you talking about and how did you know we were talking about you? And who especially are you referring to? How do I call you? MS. or MRS.?” “Doesn’t matter to me. I am called all types of ways,” was the answer.
“Don’t worry about how I got your number. Of all people in Zambia you must from the beginning have known or ought to have known that I have friends in high places just like you do. It must also be no brainer how I would know that you talked about me this past evening, madam Siyuni. But I warn you, I am not gonna be a sacrificial lamb or stepping stone for people’s glorious careers and famous dinner table and restaurant talks around Lusaka. I can ruin a lot of lives if you do arrest, charge me and send me to trial, to repeat what I have already said. I am surprised Inspector General of police, and heads of the ACC and DEC have not briefed you but they are not stupid, or are they?”
“Calm down Ms. Gondwe. What are you talking about?’’
“Siyuni, don’t play innocent or dumb with me. You had a strategy meeting last evening where you had received instructions on how to handle the privatisation issue involving one Hakainde Hichilema. All types of people were present from the OP down to the most ruffian and dirty cops and cadres that you trust and have used before. The IG, DEC ACC and Edith Nawakwi sent their people there. After planning how to go about the explosive issue of privatisation and the role or non-role of Hakainde Hichilema, you diverted to talk about how embarrassing it was becoming to the government of Zambia, especially law enforcement agencies and the President that I was hiding in plain view and I am bringing disrepute to law enforcement in Zambia as I was allegedly showing off that I had friends in high places and that by arresting, charging me and sending me to trial without bail you would be disengaging me from the dangerous image that was being drawn. Don’t make that mistake. You will regret.”
“Madam DPP, it is not personal. It is survival. The government is trying to cleanse its image in the privatisation matter, a matter that only comes up at election time to extend and launder corruption on innocent people who were not in government. Even that issue will crush and boomerang on those who are bringing it. The farms Nawakwi bought, Cold Storage and the President. Same with my issue. Heads will roll from top down. You think I did what I did for nothing?’’
Pamela Gondwe continued,” I was told everything that took place there. Madam DPP you know why I haven’t been arrested. But you were there entertaining the thought, in fact encouraging the discussion. I can’t understand also why the people from ACC and DEC were participating in this idle talk. And the people from OP were num. Why? IG Kanganja knows where to find me. DEC and ACC know where to get me. You know where to get me. “COME ON BRING IT ON. I TRULY NEED SOME KIND OF CATHARSIS.’’
Gondwe was breathing fire into the cellphone. Was she afraid of being arrested nonetheless? The DPP was scratching her head. This was all new and news to her. No one had ever approached her about this. This past evening is when she knew Pamela Gondwe was in town as an open secret. Has the DPP been keeping the wrong company? There must be a reason why she was kept out of the loop.
Should she reveal to Pamela Gondwe that she didn’t know any of all this stuff or should she play along?
“Ms. Gondwe, I have to let you know that I operate under a totally different level of legal machinery. I am not subject to the influence of anybody. My office is set up to be totally independent and not subject to the pressure or influence of any authority. Not even the presidency. Let’s leave it at that.”
“Not subject to pressure or influence of any authority. My foot!,’’ thundered Pamela Gondwe. “Cut that crap out. What were you doing in that meeting plotting and you agreeing to charge Hakainde Hichilema with some shit arising from some privatisation issue from three decades ago? How many presidents have we had so far? CHILUBA; MWANAWASA; BANDA; SATA and lastly only towards the end of the LUNGU presidency is this issue developing legs and only because NAWAKWI brought it up. Whose influence and pressure are you dancing to on the privatisation issue? Your so-called independence is a phantom. What happened to the acquittal of Chitalu Chilufya? No pressure or influence of any authority. You sure have some unknown independence or some dark pressures and influences. You couldn’t even appeal the decision on some ground. You make the ultimate decision. Even the Chitotela case. You refused to appeal a clearly wrong decision. Some independence, madam. Your LLM thesis on this subject is better written than your behaviour in that office.”
Gondwe continued, “Let me not digress. Like my issue, DPP, many people are going to be raked over the coals, should you succumb to arrest me or Hakainde Hichilema. But let me speak for myself. It is interesting though that my issue came up at the tail end of your discussions about how you collectively were going to get rid of the Hichilema threat through the calculus of the privatisation issue!”
“Ask yourself what is in it for Nawakwi, for the President, etc. Who got their wealth legitimately in comparison: HH as compared to the President, to Chitotela, to Chinese, to Chilufya, to Nawakwi, to Lusambo, to Kaiser Zulu, etc? Pause and think and exercise your independence. Public relations is good but not at the alter of wrongful and deliberate persecution. Know that what you are doing to HH is persecution and not prosecution. And HH will emerge as clean as a whistle and your people will be bankrupt and exposed while the government lawyers and the voters will be the victors. The voters will know who they have kept in power, Kleptocrats. Go ahead and make his day. Be the instrument of his electoral victory. Cleanse him unwittingly.”
The DPP was dumbfounded. This kid Pamela Gondwe knows too much. And so much. Should I set an interview with her, the DPP thought.
“Let me help you, madam DPP, as I let you go back to sleep. Do you think I could collect that huge amount from Barclays Bank without some people in higher up places knowing? How could I leave Zambia like that without any help form higher ups? How did I reenter Zambia? The IG, ACC, OP and DEC know I am around. You the DPP knew I was around. The shit is gonna hit the fan if you arrest and charge me.”
Pamela Gondwe was finished and hung up the phone. A cold sweat was enveloping the DPP’s body.