Frogs in lipstick
LESOTHO will probably never have a tabloid newspaper but that doesn’t mean scandalous news remains hidden.
Basotho will always find ways to scatter the lurid details. Of course Facebook and Whatsapp have made their job easier.
They have saved us of the cost of having to travel to another village or town to dish out the latest gossip to a friend, relative or a random stranger we meet in a taxi.
Yet there are thousands of other Basotho who have no access to those social media platforms or phones.
These continue to do it the old-fashioned way: whisper the damn news to one person and the whole village will know it by nightfall.
A rural girl, Muckraker has always known that the best gossip doesn’t come from elders but the children of the village.
To know the latest scandal, especially those about fornicators, you don’t have to interrogate the little souls.
Just go to aloe shrubs in the village where you are sure to stumble upon fresh news scribbled on those sky-blue leaves.
You will know who is doing what to whom in the village. You will know who is sleeping at which house when their wife is away.
If the aloes don’t have the juicy gossip, you can visit the VIP toilet at the nearest school.
Written clearly in human manure will be some of the choicest gossip about students, teachers and chiefs.
If you want to know what the principal is up to then the toilet’s walls are the place to look. Phew!
But over the years Muckraker has also discovered that even seemingly innocent games like morabaraba can deliver good gossip.
With nothing at stake, except vain pride, some men can spend a whole day moving those tiny stone on a board. All that labour earns them mere bragging rights.
At times the games can be extremely emotional as some men don’t take lightly to being outclassed on anything, even a silly game that doesn’t require much acumen.
Some matches have been known to turn violent. Yeh, you heard that right. A Mosotho man can pull out a machete at a morabaraba game.
That is partly because our men, especially those bereft of some height, have short fuses.
Yet there is a bigger reason why fights happen at morabaraba games. Gossip! “Motlo! Ke tla u metletsa ngoan’a moloi”. “Ke tla u ja mph!” “ke tla u ja joalokaha ausi’au a jeoa ke ’Nyeo.” Amid such banter dirty secrets are unveiled. Hang around a little longer and you will know who is sneaking into whose house in darkness. You will know who likes to wait for the chief’s daughter on the way to the village well.
You will know the true paternity of the son Thabang has always thought was his firstborn. You will know why the chief always favours the widow across the valley.
The point is that morabaraba is more than just a board game to keep boredom at bay. To some it is a platform to send a message to opponents and villagers whose guts they despise with passion.
It is a chance to pass snide comments against those you think are getting too big for their shoes. In a way, this is how Basotho fight their battles.
Nothing is straightforward.
For reference you should see how our politicians are going to behave in the next three months. Here we go again.
Another election looms in this little country of ours. Soon zealots and bumpkins will be ululating and gyrating at rallies.
Eyes agog, they will endure the scotching heat as they listen to politician poop shameless lies about each other.
It’s going to be an unrelenting blitz of lies and propaganda on the impressionable minds teeming in this country.
Mendacities will be our fodder for the next three months as politicians jostle for our votes. Aluta continua! We are marching to yet another contest of morons.
We have no choice but to pick someone from the heap of tosh that is our politicians.
Those of us who know better are in a predicament of sorts: we are damned if we vote and screwed if we don’t.
We all have to vote.
So we firmly hold our noses, dip our arms into the political gutter, pull out whatever maggot we can grab and plonk an ‘X’ against its name on the ballot.
But never be under any illusion that this is a battle to make this country a better place. When those in power claim to be seeking a new mandate what they really want is more time to line their pockets.
When those in opposition say they want to lead us they mean they want an opportunity to trouser our money.
The political battles have never been about pulling this country from the clutches of poverty.
It has never been about making the future better for our children.
What is gullying though is that our people keep galling up the same old tosh politicians are foisting on them.
The result is that we keep recycling the same old buffoons who have no clue about taking this country to the next level.
It is not a contest of ideas, policies or ideologies we are going to have in the next three months.
Rather it is a beauty contest of frogs we have tried to beautify with lipstick and mascara.
Sadly, we keep hoping these frogs will turn out to be something desirable and useful because they are in make-up.
Speaking of elections, Muckraker feels for Mokola and his party. Some ABC people have been fretting about Mokola’s legacy.
They say their party’s partnership with the AD might be as toxic as the one with the LCD which ended in tears. They say he cannot be trusted because he is a cunning fellow.
They are wrong.
It is the AD that should fear the ABC. The AD is still largely an idea. It exists because Mokola says it does.
Beyond the regalia, the Facebook posts, numerous interviews and a bunch of zealots, the AD remains an idea.
Its structures in the villages are still germinating, if at all they have been sown.
The AD is therefore counting its blessings that the ABC has even agreed to form a government with it.
But here is the problem: the deal was based on the idea that there will be a palace coup in parliament and Size Two will meekly fold his arms and retreat to his lonely camels.
That plan looks like it is about to be upended because Size Two wants an election.
And an election is something the AD is just not ready for, no matter how much it expresses its eagerness to go to the polls. So why should the AD be afraid of the ABC?
Well, Uncle Tom knows that he has the upper hand in this election and the AD is just a mouse in the battle of titans.
Once there is an election the deal that would have seen Mokola moving into parliament for a few months is dead.
A victorious Thabane would not want to play second fiddle to a walloped Mokola. Mokola will therefore have to take the crumbs Uncle Tom will fling his way.
But remember this is Uncle Tom we are talking about, a shrewd man who knows how to turn the tables.
Once the results are in this false romance between the ABC and AD will have to be renegotiated.
It will not be a negotiation of equals but that of a master and a servant. Uncle Tom has always wanted to rule alone because he knows the dangers of having spoilers in the government.
He knows how small parties, with a few seats and voters who cannot even fill a bicycle, can hold a whole government hostage.
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