Corruption trials appear to have seized the world this weekend, taking along with it former presidents in South Korea, South Africa and Brazil. Park Geun-hye, immediate past president of South Korea moved from the presidency to the prison. And she is to be there for 24 years unless the status quo is reversed, judicially or politically. Her punishment is for the broad charge of abuse of power and bribe taking from big business. The former president has been jailed notwithstanding being the daughter of General Park Chung-hee, one of the military leaders who laid the foundation of contemporary modernisation of the country. Her impeachment early 2017 and subsequent trial and imprisonment suggests a country where the institutions are working and where everyone has his or her day in court, irrespective of who one is.
From South Korea, it is to South Africa where the system could not shift the trial of another immediate past president, Jacob Zuma in deference to Mrs Winnie Madikizela-Mandela who died on April 2nd, 2018. But Zuma is still strong, with his supporters taking spaces and with him using the court room to make claims. The dynamics of intra-class war in South Africa which is very similar to the fragmentation in Nigeria makes it difficult to predict how it would all end for Jacob Zuma and whose case takes us to Brazil where another former president, Luiz Inacio da Silva, aka Lula.
An warrant has been issued for his arrest in connection with commencing his 12 year jail term. The corruption trial has been dragging. He is being given the privilege to turn himself in and that is the drama whose outcome the world is watching after the deadline expired Friday. He is holed up in a fortress with thousands of workers ready to fight. His is not such a straightforward case as there are those arguing that it is a programmed move to undermine a major symbol of Left politics who has already been projected to win a landslide victory in the race for return to power later this year. Lula was a performer and a force for the popular side in power from 2003 to 2011 during which he lifted millions out of poverty. He is still appealing the judgment.
So, what do all these say about corruption? It suggests how complicated it could be, especially the question of who is giving, who is collecting and why it has got a lot to do with being in power.