MUCKRAKER: JP’s bitter pill

MUCKRAKER: JP’s bitter pill

MUCKRAKER has been watching Teboho Mojapela (JP) making a spectacle of himself.
There was a time when the show was spectacular. You could chuckle your way through dreadful days just by reading what JP had to say. He had bite and wit. Oh, it was a show to behold.

But something awfully wrong happened along the way. Suddenly JP started getting vile. Instead of pinching he was plucking morsels of flesh.
He wasn’t tickling anymore. The laughter has turned into repugnance.
We have to cover our noses when he opens his mouth for what he says is stinking. Muckraker’s late grandmother used to say if you ululate at a fool bathing in the middle of the road you should not be shocked when he swallows the soap.

JP is not there yet but his behaviour now borders on madness. What causes this are twin diseases called bitterness and loss.
JP has both. He is bitter because he was used like a disposable nappy by the ABC. He finds it hard to believe that a party of people he thought were slow and desperate outwitted him.

When the party needed money for the campaign JP was there to deliver. He was the all-weather benefactor.
The Father Christmas who would sneak into the house on December 24 and leave wrapped goodies under the Christmas tree.
Hungry, the ABC gobbled every cent he flung its way.

How could the party not take money it knew was coming from its members in the first place? There was a simple logic to the gusto with which the party swallowed JP’s cash. It is common knowledge to even rats in Ha Pita that town dwellers are the ABC’s most loyal supporters.
It is also well-known even to the herd boys in Mokhotlong that it is those people who have sustained JP’s moneylending business.
Through exorbitant interest rates that will shock even Shylock, that greedy fellow in The Merchant of Venice, JP has poked more holes into their already perforated pockets.

He sucked them dry. As their plight worsened, the people began to look for a political messiah. The ABC was the horse on which they were going to ride to the Promised Land. The problem though was that the horse called ABC was hungry. Political campaigns cost money and political parties are not businesses. So when JP came into the picture with his seemly unlimited resources the ABC embraced him. They kissed him as well.

JP opened his wallet with vigour and let out the moolla. Soon the party was bouncing with cash. The congress movement, even after stealing from the government, could not match the opulence.

There was never a question as to why the party was guzzling JP’s money because the rationale was clear. JP was giving back what he had ‘stolen’ from the ABC supporters with his eye-watering interest rates.

If the businessman had another agenda the people he was helping did not care. Now was the time for them to get something from JP, a man who takes, takes and takes until your pockets are empty and your head is spinning. Indeed there was no harm in getting something from a Shylock especially when it doesn’t come with an interest.

The problem though is that JP did not see this as a donation. He was keeping meticulous records of every penny he gave to the party.
A scrupulous businessman he saw this as an investment.

He did not say what he wanted in return because he thought it was obvious one good deed deserves another.
After all, there is nothing for free in the world. It turns out that the ABC and JP were not on the same page. They were in Genesis while he was in Revelation.

That much became clear after the elections when the ABC started treating JP like a plague. Where he thought a cabinet position was being prepared for him the ABC people were looking for a bus under which to shove him. Where he thought the ABC people would lick his shoes, the party was finding ways to lock him out of the feeding trough.

To JP this was patently unjust but to the ABC it was simply politics. JP’s hope of being treated like a VVIP disappeared when Uncle Tom wedded Maiseah. There JP was, looking all important and thinking he was the third star of the show after the groom and the bride.
Then as the food was served JP found himself dipping a plastic spoon in a fomapaki. His humiliation had been completed. The VVIP stood for Very Very Irritated Person.

The gravamen of his complaint is that the ABC has been ungrateful. If Thabane could not give him a cabinet position then he could have at least pretended to treat him with some respect.

Thabane gave him neither, hence the palpable anger he is exuding. We may never know how much JB assisted the ABC but what is clear is that the man feels cheated. To him this was an investment that has brought no dividend.

His fight back is to lash out at the party, Uncle Tom and his wife. He has now formed his own political party. Socialist Revolutionaries (SR), he calls it without smelling or seeing the irony of a Shylock leading a socialist movement. He will be leading socialist revolutionaries who are swimming in debt.
It would have been funny were it not so sad. I will make everyone a millionaire, he tells his adherents who cannot tell the toffee and tosh.

JP will continue to flirt with politics for as long as he is angry. There will however come a time when he will get bored. When that happens he will get back to what he knows best: making money from the poor. His zealots will go back to being his clients.

Lastly, Muckraker would like to warn colleagues in the media to go slow on bootlicking. It is not good for their health. The battalion of scribes who have entered the bootlicking business has exponentially grown in recent months. What has triggered this avalanche of bootlicking is not clear. It could be hunger or greed or just a propensity for sycophancy.

Still there is no rationale for the brownnosing we are witnessing in newsrooms. It is such a sorry sight watching once respected reporters and columnists stampeding each other to pummel politicians with superlatives.
Try this next time you feel like an urge to flatter a politician: take a deep breath, close your eyes and imagine how many other people are licking the same boot you are about to lick. Consider the hygiene of that endeavour. Disgusting!

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