Muckraker: Sensational mischief

Muckraker: Sensational mischief

LAST Thursday we woke up to what might be the most sensational newspaper headline this year.
“King fumes over border harassment,” screamed the headline plonked brazenly on posters scattered across this fake city of ours.
Curious, Muckraker dashed to the nearest shop to get a copy of what sounded like a fantastic scoop. After all exclusive stories are hard to come by in a country where journalists hunt in packs like jackals.

Muckraker’s excitement however turned into disgust when she realised that this was nothing more than some sensational tosh concocted to bait unsuspecting readers. Although the story was correct to point out that the King had been harassed by overzealous South African police officers at the border there was no iota of evidence that His Majesty had fumed in any way.

He might have been irritated but he sure did not fume. If the King did fume then the reporter had an obligation to state how he fumed.
Did he sneer at the officers as they searched his car? To whom did he fume? What did he say during the fuming? Those questions were not answered in the story because the idea that the King fumed was a creation of the journalist or sub-editor.
The 1131-word story does not mention anything about the King fuming. Only the headline makes that allegation without any substantiation in the story.

Readers are advised to treat any unsubstantiated allegation in a story as false.
So here readers should treat the allegation that the King fumed as a blatant lie. A sick attempt at fake news.

Muckraker will not claim to know the King but she can tell you he is not the fuming kind. He is not even the one who complained to the government about the incident. He is a mild-mannered gentleman who knows how to control his emotions.
The idea that he fumed comes from those who are used to dealing with riffraff characters who think shouting and throwing tantrums solves problems.
It is a creation of those used to seeing their bosses behaving like certified idiots hauling insults at colleagues and other people for no apparent reason.
They are used to emotionally unstable adults in suits.

Manufacturers of such stories measure the king according to the yardstick of what they are exposed to. They cannot comprehend that there are some powerful people who don’t see any reason in pushing their weight around.
Just because you are used to people fuming does not mean everyone is susceptible to fuming.

The pith and marrow of Muckraker’s argument is that the King did not fume despite the humiliation he suffered at the hands of those dimwits they call police officers in South Africa. Anyone who says he fumed should provide evidence.
Muckraker understands that some people are pissed at what the King was put through but they should not use their assumptions to give the story wings it does not have.

It’s bad enough that a Head of State was humiliated. But those who tell the story with exaggerated imageries are not different from those who humiliated the King.
They are creating the impression that in the heat of the moment the King opened his window to engage the offending officers.
They are telling us that after that encounter the king furiously dialled the Minister of Foreign Affairs to register his disgust.
The King is not in the business of engaging in trivial disputes. He has never been one to come down to the gutter to deal with rascals.
He is a mild tempered man who does not need to raise his voice to validate himself. It is encouraging that the newspaper quickly realised its mistake and retreated fast.

The same story carries a different headline on the website.
“Lesotho fumes over ill-treatment of King Letsie,” the new headline said. Now, that’s more like it even though the story does get even close to prove the fuming.

Muckraker is being charitable here because even that headline is misleading. Foreign Affairs Minister Lesego Makgothi sounded calm when he spoke about the issue. It is highly unlikely that the two letters sent to South Africa had any fumes in them.

The only fuming in the story comes from a petition by some obscure character called Clifford Lesego demanding that the South African government and its people respect the King and Basotho. Even that petition did not sound like it was written by a furious man.
It wasn’t even a threat because the man seemed resigned to the fact that South Africa will continue to ill-treat Basotho.
“RSA should know that they can mess up with us as much as they want but NOT with our King,” the petition said.
Those who received it probably looked for the nearest shredding machine.

Still on the same issue Muckraker is stunned by the vim with which some political activists have jumped to the King’s defence.
While there is nothing wrong with defending the King political animals should take care not to be seen to be trying to score cheap political points.
More importantly they must remember that there is a history to any event. How you react to the event is usually judged according to how you reacted to similar events in the past.

The same people who are now screaming at the South African government over the King’s harassment have watched, arms akimbo, for years while His Majesty was humiliated by politicians.

Time and again our Prime Ministers had hid behind the law to get the king to do their bidding.
The return of Lieutenant General Tlali Kamoli and the removal of the Lieutenant General Maaparankoe Mahao were signed off by the King at the behest of Size Two.

Now the congress people are mischievously arguing that the decision was correct because the king assented to it.
They speak as if the King had a choice. Yet we know that it did not matter whether he agreed on or not because Size Two was going to do it anyway then pretend that the King had approved.

But according to the congress people a nefarious political act is legal because it has received a royal signature.
The congress people who are throwing toys out of the court today did not raise a finger to protest at such abuse of the king. There was no need to because they called the shots.

The same people also watched silently as Size Two launched a massive war to remove Justice Mosito. To achieve his dubious scheme Size Two once again turned to the King. Anyone with two senses knew that removal was as political as that of Lt Gen Mahao.
Does Muckraker hear the supporters of the current government chuckling as she lists Size Two’s shenanigans? Well, they must keep their bums down and drink some water because their government too has been up to the same tomfoolery.

The attempt to reappoint Justice Mosito is said to be legal because it has been signed off by the King. Yet we know whose fingerprints are all over that government gazette. Again they pretend that the King was in on that scheme.

Let’s drop the political blinkers and admit that our politicians have abused our King more than what the South African imbeciles did a few weeks ago.
They have turned the King into a rubberstamp. We know that Justice Mosito’s appointment was controversial in the first place. The King was made to sign it off even when there were questions.

His removal too was signed off even when it was clear that it was a political game.
His return has been approved even when it clear that it stinks.
We have turned the King into a commuter because it has taken subsequent governments eight years to build his palace. That is the height of humiliation.

Before we pelt the South Africans with stones we should also ask ourselves why it is that our King still drives 1400 km in another country as if flying is obscene.

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