Goodbye Talla, welcome Qoo

Goodbye Talla, welcome Qoo

MUCKRAKER will terribly miss Motsamai Talla, the garrulous radio presenter who has now joined the diplomatic corps.
Talla was a special breed of presenters who could conjure something outrageous and silly but still manage to whip people into a frenzy.
Talla’s programmes provided irrefutable evidence that some sections of the media had not been captured but swallowed.
Yet to his credit Talla never pretended to be in the business of dishing out credible news.

The ethical dictates of balance and objectivity were nuisances to be ignored like a fart.
What you heard on his programmes was what you got: pure propaganda. And he did not deliver it with any class or skill.
His was whoopla without a whiff of deodorant. He didn’t spice it. He served it raw.

There is always something to admire about people who are honest even in their wayward ways. Talla never sought to portray himself as a journalist because he is not. His business was to shore up his political masters and he was brazen about it.
That is something to be admired in a media fraternity teeming with party activists masquerading as journalists.

There are dozens of them unleashing propaganda couched as news. Sadly, they are yet to be rewarded for their troubles. They might have sold their souls for a song.  That is the danger of joining a bandwagon of bootlickers too late. By the time you stick your tongue out the boot will be submerged in saliva.

To be noticed you should do something spectacular like working your way up the master’s legs with your tongue. You have to get to the nether regions fast. The problem though is that the place is also crowded and there is a long waiting list of lickers waiting for a chance.
Talla was at that “place” before everyone else. He didn’t introduce journalists to the concept of bootlicking but he showed us how it can be done with passion.

Talent, he taught us, is nothing without verve and conviction. By the time others mastered the art he was way ahead in the game.
Little wonder his political masters have now pummelled him with a diplomatic position. That is not scandalous because governments have always rewarded those who help them get into power.

Those who are pillorying Talla for being pampered with a position in China are therefore being hypocritical.
The diplomatic corp has always been a shelter for party functionaries. Even Size Two used it for that purpose. He had relatives scattered in our embassies across the world.

The only downside to Talla’s appointment is that he is being posted to a country that has zero tolerance for motormouths.
So as soon as he lands in Beijing Talla will have to learn to keep his mouth under a tight leash. He will have to zip it or he will be booted out of the country. The Chinese value work over talk. They respect thinkers over blabbermouths.

Hold that beak Talla or you will get a thundering kung fu kick that will send you back to the dusty streets of Maseru.

It was obvious that after being bludgeoned at the ballot the opposition would take some time off to lick its gushing wounds.
And so Muckraker anxiously waited for the months for the opposition to recuperate. They had fallen with a thud. Bloodied and confused, they retreated.

Their recovery was, of course, delayed after the police allegedly beat former minister Tšeliso Mokhosi to a pulp.
Mokhosi later told Muckraker’s colleague that he was subjected to all manner of torture including some too embarrassing to mention in public.
“Those police officers are cruel I tell you. The next person they take will not come out alive,” he said after he skipped the country.
He said they beat him so badly that a doctor said his blood pressure was so high that he was about to have a stroke.

He was put on a ‘drip’ and just as he was showing signs of getting better the police took him back for another round of beating.
When they took him to a doctor again they were told his blood pressure was so low that he was about to stroke.
That is how “sophisticated” our police’s torture methods are: they confuse even the blood pressure.

There are those who might want to make a joke out of the man’s ordeal. Such dark humour is permissible but to claim that a whole man manufactured such gory details is just plain nasty.
Given the notorious history of the police it is highly likely that Mokhosi was subjected to some sort of ill-treatment. We may debate the extent of the beating but we should not dismiss the allegation that something was done to him.

So Muckraker was not surprised when the opposition leaders started scampering for cover. The mean boys were in town and they were ready to pounce.
As the terror died down Muckraker began to see opposition leaders regaining their voices. Even Size Two pelted the government with a few words, condemning the alleged torture and accusing Uncle Tom of mishandling the reforms.

That was a start. So Muckraker waited for more noises from the opposition. Size Two and his comrades had probably regained their mojo after a forced sabbatical from microphones. A hint of that came last week when the opposition called a press conference promising some earthshattering news. Hungry for some dramatic news, journalists scrambled to the venue to find Serialong Qoo ready to roar.

Yes, you heard that correctly Qoo, of all people, was the one perched at the high table. Muckraker became frightened that this was going to be a damp squib. Qoo does not have a reputation for being an astute political strategist. He is neither an orator nor a thinker of note.
He just bumbles along. This is a man still shocked that he was once a minister in his Majesty’s government.

It doesn’t matter that he was booted out before he could properly thank his ancestors for the fortune with an extravagant celebration.
He is still nursing the ‘injury’ suffered after Size Two hit him with a ministerial position. Sitting among journalists Muckraker prayed that Qoo would not be the one to lead the press conference.

But as the prayer was on its way to its destination Qoo’s mouth opened and words came tumbling out.
We are planning a vote of no confidence against Uncle Tom, he said. What shocked Muckraker and perhaps other smart scribes was not the news but that the speaker himself did not seem convinced by his own words. It was as if he was being prodded to say it.

We will pile pressure on the new government until it gives in to our demands, he added. It was as clear as a goat’s behind that Qoo was not the right person to be speaking. He was a lame messenger too timid to even speak loudly.

Whether the opposition had the numbers to get rid of Uncle Tom’s government was vaguely answered. We were told that some disgruntled government MPs will work with the opposition. The mathematics of it all was not explained.
Muckraker does not know where Qoo went after the press conference but she suspects he retired to a nearby toilet to bemoan his poor performance.
He probably gave himself some slaps for not having looked more serious.

He had been sent to deliver news that many people thought was a ruse. It’s not that it’s impossible that the opposition can get enough numbers to topple Uncle Tom. The issue is that the opposition itself is not convinced that it can achieve this.
It’s not even a solid political strategy. They are just clutching at anything that brings them back into the political arena. Relevance is what they seek.

If this motion was anything serious the opposition would have started screaming for parliament to reopen. Its leaders would have been shouting on radio stations and opposition zealots would have started clamouring to be on the streets.

Yet if the confidence motion is a scare tactic designed to unsettle Uncle Tom’s government then Qoo’s effort was not entirely hopeless.
Even with his coy announcement Qoo got the government to respond. First to enter the fray was the AD youth league with an assurance that all was well in the government. The problem was at the grassroots but the leadership is still on good terms, the AD crèche said.

They were followed by Minister Joang Molapo of the Machabeng accent who called the announcement a publicity stunt.
Molapo said the motion had no basis before warning the opposition of the dangers of going for a new election.
So there we have it: the government has been spooked by Qoo’s banter. There is not much laughing here.

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