It’s back to Vaseline

It’s back to Vaseline

THERE are long faces in town this week. The reason: SADC forces will be leaving soon. No.
SADC blessers are on their way out. Those soldiers have fed families in this country.
They have genetically intervened in clans too. Such generous Sugar Daddies, they have been.
But now they have to return to their wives and families.

Here they will leave broken hearts and big bellies.
It was good while it lasted. Their nyatsis are back to the grind and ground.
Yet you will be horribly wrong to think that it’s only the nyatsis who will miss those per diem-laden comrades. The shops that sell weaves are in trouble. So are those that sell cosmetics.
Pray that the saloons will survive their absence. Oh dear! What will Edgars, Foschini, Clicks, Woolworths and Jet do without SADC money?
Muckraker commiserates with the sisters who now have to relearn the route to machonisas.
But a part of her is glad that this shindig is coming to an end.

Vaseline users were now singing about Neutrogena, Revlon, Ponds, Oil of Olay, Nivea and Clinique. Muckraker’s heart goes to those sisters who have to relearn the smell of Pretty Woman perfume. They will realise that a beer is a beer when you cannot afford classy stuff.
No more cocktails and ciders.

Finally, Muckraker can get back some of her friends who had deserted her after they were hitched by the SADC officials.
Money has a way of changing friendships. When the SADC soldiers started dishing out the dollars the friends said they cannot stand the smell of fat cakes.
Nyoe, nyoe, nyoe there is a funny smell at Pep stores. KFC is too oily. The Chinese sell rotten meat. Mobicel is a horrible phone. The saloons downtown are too stuffy. 4+1 taxis stink. Basotho men are stingy (True that).

Those were the good times that were never meant to last but changed people all the same.
Now as we prepare to bid farewell to the Sugar Daddies we should pray that their beneficiaries have the courage to come back to earth.
Soon they will troop back to their humble selves. Without the SADC soldiers we are equal in the eyes of Shoprite. Poverty will not discriminate.

Uncle Tom is in a political storm manufactured from his own house. Irony is an odd thing.
The trouble Maesiah stirred in the ABC is coming back to haunt Uncle Tom.
The problem with kitchen politics is that its heat eventually transfers to rallies and conferences.
And in most cases the Mrs, the instigator, is never at those gatherings to shield the hubby from the inferno of the furious masses.
Uncle Tom learnt this the hard way when he was heckled by a mob at the party’s conference in Quthing at the weekend. They called it a ‘sabbatical’ conference, more like an introspection retreat for the party.

Yet as the conference descended into chaos Uncle Tom and his lieutenants quickly realised that this was a workshop on dealing with a mishmash of riff-raff and disgruntled zealots. The great unwashed of the ABC came out in full force to vent.
For months they have been screaming their heads off on radio. They have been bellowing uncontrollably in the bars and taverns. They have been cursing at funerals. They whispered at stokvels.
If insults could kill Uncle Tom and his wife would have embarked on the journey to their Maker months ago.

In Quthing they had Uncle Tom within arms’ reach and they were going to offload their bile on him. It took the muscle of Uncle Tom’s bodyguards to drag the enraged fellows from the conference.
Days later Uncle Tom is slowly grasping the lessons of that ambush workshop. He must learn fast and write the corrections quickly because this is likely to be a very hot season for him.
If he doesn’t want to be put through the humiliating tutelage he must hire the fire brigade to put out their fires. The police here will not help because they douse fires with budgets and tea cups.
We have a pathetic excuse of a fire brigade that cannot even control a candle fire.

So unless Uncle Tom has the means to import firemen he has to swallow his pride and get taught a thing or two. Thuto ke thuto!

What made the whole Quthing spectacle particularly sad is that Uncle Tom had to face the wrath silently for no word from his sweet tongue would have saved him.
It is never prudent to partake in a shouting match with a person whose drinks you don’t serve (you have no idea how intoxicated they are).
And when that person has no reputation to protect the risk is double. Put that person in a mob and the risk trebles. A political schemer of note, Uncle Tom has imbibed that lesson with gusto.
But that is not what inspired his silence. What thrust him into voicemail was that no answer seemed right. He could not be seen to be separating himself from his madam because such betrayal has dire consequences back home.

In any dispute you should never go against the person who sleeps next to you.
Uncle Tom could not say he was a victim of kitchen politics without avoiding the risk of sleeping on the floor for months or squatting in a cold spare bedroom alone. Remember Lesotho’s winter ends in November.

Besides, such an admission would have portrayed him to be a weak leader leading from under skirts. Uncle Tom has always sold himself as an independent and strong-willed leader.
He could not slam the shrieking mob right back to its lowly stations because he would have been seen as a haughty leader now expectorating on the masses from the throne.
So there he sat watching the opera unfold, slowly at first and then furiously as tempers ran high.
Reason had bolted out of both the heads and the conference room. When it was all done he gathered himself to deliver a decent speech but it was clear that the effects of the haranguing had been slow to leave him.

Henceforth Uncle Tom finds himself fending off stinging jabs from his people. The Quthing drama has triggered an open season. He is fair game.
It shows that the anger against him is not imagined but real. There is a camp baying for his blood. There are those who say Maliehe, the man recently fired from Cabinet, is the kingmaker.
That might be true but only to the extent that he is the face of the discontented in the party.

In reality he is an opportunist riding on the wave of anger against Uncle Tom and his better half.
He has spotted a chance and he wants to squeeze into power. He might not amount to much, though.
Indeed Uncle Tom has never been this vulnerable. He has always thrived on exuding the persona of a strongman marshalling his troops and whipping malcontents into line.
His grip on his party is however slipping. He is bereft of his sjambok.
And it’s not that he has changed much or that the strength has left his bones. He just happens to have too many things on his plate. He is dealing with a government full of dubious characters stuffing their mouths with state funds.

Some have been accused of stealing government money hand over fist. The corruption is fabulous. That this thievery is happening at a time when the government is broke makes Uncle Tom’s headache worse.
At home he has his hands full with a young beautiful wife who is as strong-willed as he is. She knows what she wants and she will get it. And she has no time for people like Maliehe who want to divide Uncle Tom’s attention. She has pruned those who have been hanging on to Uncle Tom.

Threats have been clobbered on sight. You can disagree with the way she does her things but she will prod on with vim.
In the party Uncle Tom faces discontent from people disappointed by his government’s indolence and infuriated by his wife’s actions. In his prime Uncle Tom would have juggled these conflicting interests with dexterity but he is no spring chicken any more.

It’s a pity the troubles have mounted when he only has the energy to fight one battle at a time.
Maybe he needs to smear himself with Vaseline to slither out of these troubles.

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