What did the PCCB Act target? THE dust is beginning to settle since the bilateral discussion between editors and other media stakeholders on one hand, and the director of the Prevention and Combating of Corruption Bureau (PCCB) on the other. What transpired was a sure sign that something has changed, that from its earlier position as a source for plenty of what this or any other investigative newspaper was doing, the PCCB is now marking out its territory. This shift in sentiment falls in line with changing atmosphere that government as a whole is becoming a bit edgy or shifty as it faces questions from all sides, suddenly. They say in Kiswahili panapofuka moshi panaficha moto, in which case there is little reason for the government and ruling party to resort to smoke brigade measures each time something comes up, insisting that there is no fire. That is what happened last week in Parliament when Kigoma North MP Zitto Kabwe was spelt out his marching orders for more or less one hundred days out of the legislature. It is in the same vein that PCCB has declared that no corruption exists in the Richmond deal, and now clause 37.1. This particular provision, were it to have started to apply immediately and take up all interesting subjects being investigated by newspapers, would lead to a blackout on most investigative reporting.. But as the provision shows, it is entirely up to PCCB to decide what it must now put a stop to its being reported by newspapers, save in the auspicious event of a statement by the PCCB spokesperson, or a grand interview with the director general. The press doesnt live with such investigative reporting so it counts its chicks. As one editor pointed out at the media-PCCB meeting, for all practical purposes the anti-corruption watchdog has fully, entirely ended its role as a collaborator in informing the public on corruption or investigating leads, and into an adversary. It is doing so because donors forced the organ to play a higher role than it was designed to do, having to follow up and prosecute cases of grand corruption, and it will be remembered that Denmark withheld 4.7bn/- due for its budget support for 2007/08 until the PCCB law was approved in Parliament. This sort of pressure was rather high for the government, so it adopted the legislation to get donor aid. Under such circumstances it should have been expected that the government was going to put the necessary safeguards on the Act, to ensure that it isnt compelled to prosecute this or that case because of great public demand. That means where a case is beginning to weigh a little heavily on it, then such a case will have to undergo a media blackout, and this way only low key or low intensity cases of presumed corruption will be getting media coverage. That might be sufficient for the government, not to put a blackout on the manner public coverage occurs but creating safe areas in some key investigated matters. That is why an impression is being created that only one major case that has caught the public eye for a while was expressly targeted under 37.1, namely the radar deal question whose investigation could become embarrassing for top level authorities at some date. It is probably in government interest that some shadowy figures named in the deal, who it seems were picking flying habits a bit uncharacteristically, continue flying or be coming back slightly unnoticed. Saying they were here the other day would amount to an offence.