Joseph Muscat has announced he will stay on until January, and then he’ll step down.

This is inadmissible and offensive to a country which calls itself a democracy. It is now crystal clear that he has been using his position of power to thwart the course of justice and wants to keep on doing that for the next five weeks.

This is the dangerous game he has been playing for a full three years, nine months, since the day Daphne Caruana Galizia first exposed his best friends, Keith Schembri and Konrad Mizzi, with secret companies in Panama. It’s the only game he knows.

On that day, February, 24, 2016, as Leader of the Opposition, I had stood up in Parliament and asked Muscat what action he would take.

From that moment on, if not before, Muscat knew or should have known, why his crooked friends had opened the companies, how much money they would syphon into them, for what reason, and crucially, from whom.

From that moment on, if not before, Muscat knew or should have known, that the pair would be getting kickbacks from Yorgen Fenech, the co-owner of the new power station which was Muscat’s main electoral platform in 2013 and that propelled him into power.

From that moment on, if not before, Muscat knew or should have known, the identity of the owners of two other companies, Egrant and Macbridge.

We knew little then and only got to know everything now. We could only suspect that there was a strong stench of corruption. And we were dead right.

But Muscat knew everything then, back in February 2016. If not before.

Instead of doing the right thing and firing his Chief of Staff and top minister, Muscat defended them and ensured that the police would not lift a finger to arrest or arraign them on charges of flagrant corruption and money laundering.

He did nothing because his hands were tied. If he had sacked them, he would have had to carry his own political responsibility and leave with them.

All our institutions, not just the police, stopped where Muscat’s corruption started.

That is why Muscat’s actions and inactions have clearly obstructed the course of justice.

And it gets worse.

Our country desperately needs to heal its wounds and re-unite. But there can be no unity without truth and justice

Instead of doing the right thing, Muscat engaged in a massive and vitriolic campaign to attack, demonise and rid himself of those of us who dared to stand up to his corruption.

Had Muscat done the right thing, Schembri and Mizzi would have been immediately arrested and arraigned for corruption and money laundering and so too would Fenech.

If this happened, Fenech would have been nabbed well before he was able to unleash his plan that led to Daphne’s horrific assassination two years ago, which is the charge with which he now stands accused, even if he denies any wrongdoing. Had Muscat done the right thing, Daphne would still be alive.

Muscat’s epic fall from grace on Sunday was, therefore, inevitable because his castle was built on sand.

His legacy will forever be one of lies and corruption that ultimately led to the assassination of one us and divided our nation. And as long as he stays in office, he will remain in a position to thwart justice, which is exactly what he has been doing all along. And avoid his own investigation.

That is why he must leave now, not in January.

Virtually, all Labour MPs have defended Muscat to the hilt.

They are now complicit in obstructing justice by their silence, their weakness and by their demonisation of those of us who stood up for the truth. They are part of the problem. They cannot be part of the solution.

Those of them who are preparing to throw their name into the leadership ring should reflect seriously on whether they really have the credentials and track record to take our country out of this filthy mess at this critical moment. We need to know why they have defended Muscat until yesterday. 

All this seems surreal, straight out of a Netflix series. And yet it is the nightmare that we have been living day by day since Muscat took office in 2013.

Fighting him and his cronies has been truly an epic David and Goliath battle. But we knew that we were on the right side of history. And we know that good always prevails. That is why we never gave up.

Now, our country desperately needs a fresh start to clean up our political system once and for all and to restore our country’s tattered reputation.

Our country desperately needs to heal its wounds and re-unite. But there can be no unity without truth and justice. Truth, not lies. Justice, not revenge. The time for truth and justice has finally come. On their foundations let unity be rebuilt.

At this historic moment for our country, I pay tribute to the martyr who gave up her life for our future, Daphne Caruana Galizia.

Daphne, we can never repay you. But we will never forget.

Daphne, you are the real Invicta.

This is what we started, with you.

Now, we’re going to finish it for you.

Simon Busuttil is former Leader of the Opposition

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