Edward Zammit Lewis has become an easy target, not that he was a tough one, to begin with, of endless jokes at his expense.
Jason Azzopardi had already hinted some time ago that one government Minister had confided in Yorgen Fenech, the man accused of killing a journalist, that he thought his own supporters were idiots, “ġaħan” to be precise.
There was a flutter of “Surely not I, Lord?” for a while until the story was shelved in the Jason-Azzopardi-invented-it comfort box resorted to by people who still look for reasons to disbelieve the glaring truth.
Yesterday, Yorgen Fenech’s lawyers continued their effort in court to silence anyone that dares speak of Yorgen Fenech with anything but fawning praise. To their application to ask the magistrate presiding over the compilation of evidence against their client they attached copies of the conversations they were so keen to keep secret.
Malta Today bravely published them until it seems, they were brow-beaten into withdrawing them by someone threatening them with jail time for contempt of a court order.
But in these days where people watch news websites for yet another catastrophic revelation around the corner, the images of the text messages had been on the website long enough for someone to take screenshots and share them till kingdom come.
Puts a new meaning in the term “public interest”, doesn’t it?
In those messages, Edward Zammit Lewis was nudging Yorgen Fenech in a series of unreplied messages like a teenager stuck in a barely requited relationship. At one point, Yorgen Fenech replies, acknowledging nonchalantly Edward Zammit Lewis’s breathless flirtations. Encouraged by this, Zammit Lewis gushes with self-pity, complaining he is under-appreciated, frustrated by the fact that candidates less deserving than he believes himself to be, have made it to Parliament while he hadn’t.
And then, the clumsy touch that is the hilarity du jour, where he says that the average Labour voter does not look for a smart man such as him to represent them in Parliament, but, idiots that they are, would rather vote for someone who’d rather do them favours than enlighten us with their unbearable smartness.
In public, politicians who fail to get elected, blame themselves. In private they blame the voters for not knowing what they’re missing. In private conversations with their constituents, politicians trying to get elected promise all sorts of favours. In private conversations with anyone else, politicians who fail to get elected declare their disdain for clientelism.
Edward Zammit Lewis is less a prototype of the fish out of water politician seeped in pathological contempt for the voters he has volunteered to represent, as he is the archetype. By all means, then, laugh, but this is not the most important issue.
The real issue here is that Edward Zammit Lewis was having private conversations with Yorgen Fenech after evidence had already been published that showed Yorgen Fenech owned 17 Black, the Dubai company that was shown to be Keith Schembri’s and Konrad Mizzi’s “target client” or the source of the bribes they were due to receive in Panama.
The Daphne Caruana Galizia inquiry found Joseph Muscat’s Cabinet ministers collectively responsible for doing nothing after the Panama Papers revelations and the 17 Black exposure to ensure Keith Schembri and Konrad Mizzi (and the people bribing them) faced justice.
That makes the minister you never heard of having any connection with Yorgen Fenech share in the collective responsibility. He does not know it yet because he proudly declared he hadn’t yet looked at the inquiry findings, but that turnip, Silvio Parnis, like all his other colleagues in Joseph Muscat’s Cabinet, has been convicted for this by the inquiry.
On top of that collective responsibility, Edward Zammit Lewis is now exposed for an aggravation. He not only did nothing about Yorgen Fenech facing justice for the corruption he had already been exposed for. He was Yorgen Fenech’s bitch. And not the only one at that.
Now that’s not a laughing matter. Especially since every day Edward Zammit Lewis stays on as Minister of Justice and the people’s Deputy, we are truly what he thinks of us: Ġaħan.