To understand why Robert Abela wants to muzzle the press, one can simply get to know who he is and this is not a difficult feat. Robert Abela is a very shallow and simple person, predictable and easily scrutable. Behind his fictitious narratives and all the pretending, there is an open book riddled with battles and insecurities.
Robert Abela was never active in the Labour Party during his youth. He was neither active in the Labour Party throughout his adult life. People knew about his existence by virtue of his father, George Abela who was made President by Lawrence Gonzi’s Nationalist administration. George Abela was made President after receiving very generous consultancy retainers from the Nationalist government which he then passed on to his son, Robert. Lawrence Gonzi’s strategy was to appease George in the best way possible so as to keep him out of the political battle and in many ways it worked. Robert Abela was never part of the opposition movement against the Nationalist government when Labour was still in the Opposition. He was nowhere to be seen and literally a nobody.
When Labour entered office, Robert Abela sought to enrich himself even further by expanding his government retainers, most of which for work which he never actually did. You can also find a long list of government retainers that Robert and Lydia Abel received during Joseph Muscat’s administration on Daphne’s website. For most of the activists and delegates in the Party, Robert Abela was just an opportunistic hanger-on, who never dirtied himself politically and always used subsequent political situations to enrich himself. Many of us joked he was the “Labour-Nationalist” of the Party.
All of this changed in December 2019 when Joseph Muscat took Robert Abela out of his hat to conduct his magic trick. Joseph Muscat was being forced to resign by rebel Labour Ministers and civil society, yet after being accused of meddling with Daphne’s murder investigation, and with serious corruption allegations against him, Muscat needed someone to back and cover him up. At that point in time Muscat was vulnerable and the eventual fall-out against him after resigning would have had serious consequences, even to the extent of risking jail time. Muscat needed someone vacuous, shallow, and easily manipulable to guard him against the eventual fall-out and Robert Abela was the ideal candidate for this role. Chris Fearne would have never made a deal with Joseph Muscat to cover up and protect him, but Robert Abela would definitely agree to that. So, Joseph Muscat fielded his own candidate for the Labour leadership race and overnight, Robert Abela changed from this opportunistic nobody to the future leader of the Labour Party – by Joseph Muscat’s own grace.
The first thing Robert Abela did when he took power was to purge many of his critics from the Party and the government – I was one of them. He didn’t necessarily want us pushed out, but rather wanted to have our morale broken, humiliate us, and then accept him uncritically as our benevolent leader who is doing us a favour by keeping us on. After accepting him uncritically, he would then delegate us to conduct his dirty work for him. I could have never accepted this arrangement where I would serve his interests instead of keeping to what I believed were the Party’s fundamental principles.
Robert Abela is not governing to improve the country or because he has a vision for it: he is governing for himself. Throughout his life, he has done nothing but pursues his personal interests exclusively before everything else and there is nothing which says or shows that as a Prime Minister he is doing anything different. People don’t change overnight and Robert Abela is changing but only for the worse. As he spends more time in power he is becoming more shallow, narcissistic, cruel and contemptuous. By now he feels that the power he has is entitled to him by nature. People like him who had miserable and shallow lives and gain immense power overnight are most times intoxicated by its effects and start becoming ever more narcissistic and cruel.
At this stage, Robert Abela has built a very myopic and self-centred vision of his political status which is nothing more than his own projection of greatness and “love for the people”. Anyone who dares to defy him or criticize him is going against his “people’s love” and thus, by default is an enemy of the people. His psychological development is very typical of any dictator or politician who abuses his position. To him, the importance of keeping him in power is related to the well-being of the people. In reality, this is a fascist trope which ends up with authoritarianism and this is what Robert Abela is trying to do to the press. Under this Labour government, the press is Robert Abela’s enemy and therefore the “enemy of the people”. It is also the same trope which is applied to the Nationalist MEPs who criticize the Labour government’s failures in rule of law at the European Parliament.