By Elias Munshya wa Munshya
One of the most comedic characters of the movie Madagascar is the self-proclaimed Sovereign of the Madagascan wildlife, King Julian. In real life, however, we have another King Julian. This time it is Julian Assange, an Australian who styles himself as the king of “holding governments accountable.” In fact the motto of his wikileaks organisation is “open government.” He says that he is fighting for open governments all over the world. Wikileaks has indeed, as a whistleblowing website, been instrument in exposing American government corruption. It had been instrumental in pointing out specific matters of government cover-ups in its operations. It was quite instrumental in exposing the fact that the Apache helicopters deliberately killed Iraq civilians in the long running Iraq war. Those efforts at exposing specific government corruption and cover-ups are commendable and should be encouraged. But the latest episode, which wikileaks has dubbed “Cablegate” is ridiculous and should be condemned by all. This is for several reasons.
First, the so called Cablegate betrays the function and role of legitimate whistleblowing. Whistleblowing is an activity that should be directed towards specific illegal matters that a government or any government body engaged in. However, with the latest 251,000 cables are not explicitly revealing any specific corruption. In fact, the major driving force behind the cables is simply to leak them because King Julian can. In the context of Zambia, we need whistleblowers to expose corruption at State House and in ministries. But such exposition must be specific. It would be ridiculous for someone to leak thousands of files of government communication, simply because they can.
Second, King Julian is wrong because his Cablegate has exposed more human gossip than anything else. It is definitely sexy and interesting to expose how ambassadors gossip about Gaddaffi’s blonde nurse. But that it just what these cables are, gossip. I must here mention that gossip is necessary to the healthy function of human society. The least as well as the greatest among us need a little gossip. We all need a little filling in the blanks, and a little bit of conspiracy theories to thrive. And in so doing we want the assurance that our gossip will be private. However, exposing what these world leaders where saying behind each other’s back is ridiculous because it exposes the most common and bane element of humanity. We all want our gossip to be secret. But when someone comes up with the power to expose all that gossip, he becomes an enemy of humanity. And that it is what King Julian is potentially becoming.
Third, King Julian is pontificating himself as a good man. For him, he feels that governments and the people behind them are trying to do evil to the world. And as such the world needs a saviour like him to save it. But there is a saying that says that he who comes to equity must come with clean hands. When King Julian comes out to expose the skeletons of governments and the people who serve in those governments, he forgets that he too is just human who equally has even worse skeletons. Of course, the most ridiculous of the whole Cablegate affair is that while King Julian was busy championing for more open governments, he had some serious opening to do with two Swedish women. One accuses him of having sex with her, while she was sleeping and another accuses him of not using a condom when told to do so. This is so much more for the man trying to hold governments accountable.
And now King Julian is threatening to release even more embarrassing cables as long as the Swedish and the British police continue to victimise him with these allegations. For him then, the 251,000 cables are a way to blackmail the governments into dropping the rape charges he faces. May be he needs advice that the next time he needs a leak, he had better wake her up and use a condom if she so asks. At least the American government did not get the chance to demand that he wears one when he illegally accessed the 251,000 cables. Or maybe it is okay because the American government is in fact not a Swedish woman.