Madness on a lorry

Madness on a lorry

BACK in the days in Mafube Muckraker used to wonder why students become unruly as soon as they entered a bus.
They would sing, shout profanities and stomp their feet. Suddenly we became uncontrollable rascals.
We even had nicknames for the drivers. Muckraker’s favourite was a chubby man with short arms like Donald Trump (the dimwit Americans call a president), who seemed to have a grudge against soap and water.

Some mischievous students speculated that a sangoma had told him that he would have an accident if he bathed before driving.
But his hygiene did not matter as long he gave us memorable rides on the chicken bus our stingy headmaster insisted on hiring for tournaments.
In any case the suffocating fumes from the engine always helped to neutralise his stench. What mattered to us was that ride that came twice a year.
Something in his bus drove us into frenzy. Even the reserved Sesotho teacher who rumourmongers said was a Pentecostal zealot would lose it as soon as she entered the bus.

After her long and loud prayers Miss Holier-than-Thou would gyrate as if she had just received her one way ticket to Heaven.

In Maseru Muckraker would see the same spectacle among construction workers in lorries.
She witnessed how seemingly decent family men would lose their manners as soon as they clamber a lorry. They whistle, ululate and even break into vulgar laced songs.

Muckraker thought this was a preserve of overworked builders and impressionable students until a Eureka moment hit her one day.
Only later in her adulthood did Muckraker understand that it was mob psychology.
She discovered that there were striking similarities between what happens when men are in a lorry and how we behave as a country.
Indeed this country operates on mob psychology. This country is like a lorry of construction workers. Enter it and you lose your mind.
For evidence of this look no further than the brouhaha over the so-called reforms.

As if on cue the whole country has jumped onto a bandwagon called Reforms.
We are going agog over reforms as if we have stumbled upon something spectacularly new.
Like the lorry people we are bellowing and singing. You would think that it was that Botswana judge and his battalion who first introduced us to the concept of reforms.

Yet if truth be told, we have always known that at some point our security forces, civil service, constitution and judiciary will need to be reformed.
Even as we were cobbling up that makeshift constitution in 1993 we knew it was an emaciated little cow desperately in need of fattening.
It has always been clear as a goat’s behind that our army will need to be fastened to a tree with a chain of reforms.
Not even mitigated fools would mount a fight against efforts to make our police more professional. If you needed a SADC commission to tell you that the civil service has to be reformed then you have no business having a brain.

You must have been perennially high on something illegal if you cannot see that our judiciary system is pathetic.
You have a brain the size of a punctuation mark at the end of this sentence if you didn’t know that this country needed reforms pronto.
Yet here we are, riding on a packed bandwagon again.

True to our nature as esteemed gossips we have seized upon reforms. Debating the reforms is our new pastime. Thanks to the SADC commission our unemployed youths have something to discuss while basking in the sun.
Our indolent civil servants have found a new vocation. Suddenly they are keen to come to work because that is where they get new insights into the reforms.

Idle minds that perambulate the social media have been jerked from a slumber.
Hello, dunderheads! When was the last time you were so excited about a national issue?

Those who have followed Muckraker’s article know that her analysis is never far off the mark. Her words are always prophetic. And unlike those so-called prophets like Bushiri, Muckraker doesn’t do it for ching-ching. Now mark this day (September 14, 2017) for you will remember her prediction about the so-called reforms.

Her gut feeling is that they will not amount to much. Interest groups will sneak their nefarious schemes on the agenda.
Politicians will work overtime to molest the reform process so it suits their plans.
No politician will stand by while some people connive to whittle his power.

The MPs will huff and puff to keep their privileges and even add more feathers to their already comfy nest. We are entering a new era of tuff wars.
Where others see an opportunity to change the course of this country others see a chance to consolidate their power and privileges.
In the end we will have reforms that speak to the interests of the few rather than the urgent needs of the country.

The final document will read like a divorce settlement. Its purpose will be to distribute power and privileges. To well-meaning people this process will end in tears. Muckraker is aware her prophetic words will elicit some angry and garrulous reactions from some zealots but she doesn’t give a rat’s about their emotional instability.

She wasn’t there when they slipped and knocked their heads on the floor.

Muckraker will confess that she likes police spokesperson Inspector Mpiti Mopeli. He is more proactive than his predecessor.
But over the past few weeks Muckraker has begun to feel sorry for Mopeli because he is being asked to do the impossible: defending an institution that keeps marching on the wrong path.

It is tough to spin your way out of allegations that the police are using brutal interrogations methods on suspects.
Thus far Mopeli has mastered the art of calling torture victims shameless liars. He doesn’t say it in those words but it’s clear that is what he means.
Hearing him speak, you would think our police are victims of malicious people. Muckraker knows that accusing a victim of making up things is the first tool of crude propaganda.

Remember the same defensive talk under the immunisation debacle a few months ago when the then minister of health called the mothers of the suffering children wretched liars.

The pictures on social media were of some sickly children from countries not of us, he said.
To his credit the minister beat a hasty retreat after a thunderous public backlash.
Muckraker suspects that our police will go the same route but not before it tries another propaganda trick.
If people keep saying they have been tortured the police will soon start accusing them of injuring themselves.

The alleged victims, the police will say, whipped themselves and deliberately bashed their heads against walls to manufacture evidence of police torture. Muckraker is yet to think of what the police will say for those who claim have had their genitals pulled during the torture.
Will they say such people pulled down their pants and bruised their genitals just to fabricate evidence against the police?
Or they will say those people probably got injured during some kinky orgy somewhere?

Given the history of our police it is possible that before they own up to their shenanigans they will try one more horrid trick.
They will probably torture those who are claiming to have been tortured so that they deny that they were ever tortured.
That way torture becomes an instrument to silence those who claim to have been tortured. So torture will beget torture.

That time is coming soon. Prophetic again? Yeah, I know!

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