Muckraker: Poor Lucy

Muckraker: Poor Lucy

EVEN those with tummies brimming with jealousy will admit that Lucy Liphafa, the long suffering Auditor General, is a stunner.
She is a smashing beauty with a glowing smile that can pacify even the most restless baby.
In her heydays, so goes a rumour, village mothers would clamour to have her as a babysitter because they were sure that their babies would shush while they work in the fields.
What makes hers a compelling story is that she has a good head on her shoulders too.
That is rare in a country teeming with empty heads hawking their looks, hoping that some dimwit would be dazzled enough to push them up the ladder or append their signature to a nuptial certificate.

You know those loud and vain characters that climb on everything they lean on like bean plants.
Lucy has reached the pinnacle through hard work and effort.

That is why it is gulling to watch her being subjected to relentless witchcraft by governments. Witchcraft is when you appoint someone to a job you neither respect nor give a hoot about.
As auditor general Lucy is supposed to be one of the most respected and dreaded officials in government. Yet she is a butt of cruel jokes in government corridors.
That’s because her annual audit reports are quickly consigned to the nearest bin.

Lucy will work hard to verify transactions, pinpoint dubious deals, expose fraud and name those with their paws in the cookie jar but nothing will change.
So while Lucy screams her head off the chariots of incompetency, thievery, indolence and mediocrity march on with unbridled gusto.

Many civil servants consider her lucid reports minor irritants that should not be allowed to interfere with their core business of thieving and snoozing on the job.
Lucy will expose the rot and make recommendations but they will continue to loot state funds hand over fist and pee on financial regulations.
That’s precisely because Lucy’s reports have never warranted much attention from the government. They pay her to produce audit reports they treat with brazen contempt.
For years she has warned of a battalion of hungry rats within the government vaults but no one has been listening.

She has told us that there are some people who deliberately confuse the government’s kitty for their piggy banks but we laugh off her concerns.
Lucy has pleaded with government officials to cuff their hands when it comes to state funds but others are, instead, praying for additional pairs of hands.
The result is that our finances are a horrible mess no one is prepared to clean.

Each government pretends that it wants to clean the muck but ends up being swallowed by it.
The state’s finances are a sewage pond that sucks in any government that wants to clean it.

Lucy gets top marks for her ability to smell the tosh in government offices. She however scores zero for her naivety. You see, any other accountant would have pulled the middle finger on the government and hit the road at the speed of a Greyhound (the dog, not the bus).
Yet Lucy keeps bashing her immaculate face against a wall, hoping that the government will see that her work matters.

She must be a stoic optimist to think someone will take her reports seriously.
Muckraker has some sisterly advice for Sister Lucy.
Moratoua Lucy, it’s time for you to have mercy on yourself.

Don’t bother writing those reports because your masters don’t give a rat’s behind what you say. There comes a time when a sister has to surrender. This is the time for you.
This business of working with so much verve as if your salary comes in the MCC’s rubbish truck will haunt you when you retire.
After 60 you will feel your bones aching and head pounding. They have to because you have subjected them to so much abuse as you perambulated government offices to interview slow minds and look for non-existent invoices, receipts and delivery notes.

You will age faster than makeup can sort out, my sister.
The problem is that you will not be able to justify your spectacular aging because no one will remember how hard you worked.
After toiling on this thankless job you will realise that work done is zero. You will not be able to tell people what your hard work amounted to because there will be none.
And at the rate at which the finances are bungled, you will find it embarrassing to remind people that you were once the auditor general.
The best you can do now is to stop this mundane business of writing new reports every year.

Simply keep a template to which you change the figures every year.
You can make up the figures because no one really cares to read the reports apart from a few bored journalists.
Most journalists don’t even understand what you mean when you talk about bank reconciliations, surcharge and ledgers.

Even if you only change the cover page of the report the journalists will not notice because they think with their fingers.

There was pandemonium in Mafube when Muckraker lost one of her grandfather’s goats. Within minutes villagers had scattered into the mountains in search of the little animal.
And a few hours later the goat thief was being spanked by the elders.
It did not take long for him to start singing.

He brought the goat the next morning, complete with its two ears and four legs.
The lesson: things don’t just vanish.
The only thing that vanishes is a fart but even that can be traced to the source if you act quickly.

Yet the police are telling us that Makarabo Mojakhomo, a whole woman, just evaporated from a police station.
Muckraker knows that a police officer will spend a sleepless night if he loses a M10 note.
He will rummage through the house until he finds it.

Muckraker has never picked a lost M5 coin at a police station.
But we are being told that a whole woman disappeared at a police station. We could be rolling with laughter were this not a serious matter.
Muckraker is still waiting for the punch line to this sick joke.

Previous The politicisation of the public service
Next Becoming a people time will forget

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