NUL rascals and chicken farmers from China

NUL rascals and chicken farmers from China

MUCKRAKER did not receive her enlightenment at the National University of Lesotho (NUL). But that does not nullify her ideas about the university. A lot has been said about the quality of graduates being spewed from that valley.
That is a subject for another sunny day. So is the scandalous way successive governments have sought to shove the university to dangerous levels of kwashiorkor while at the same time insisting on calling it an institute of national strategic importance.
On this wintry day Muckraker is standing on the dwarf hills of Roma to bellow at the students for their tomfoolery. In her hand is a long sjambok with which she will spank the spoilt rascals.

In those lecture rooms, rotting from years of neglect and a bit of vandalism, we have little men and women with an exaggerated sense of self.
Even in good fights the little people have a way of missing the broader picture. They are random in both words and actions. To them trees are forests, hence their battles are never convincingly won.

They are forever leaping from one war to the next because they fight narrow and in piecemeal.
It’s as if they have to keep some fights in the bag because fighting them all leaves them with none to wage tomorrow. They derive their relevance from manufactured combats.

Yet with time their battles, especially against the university management, have become more and more trivial. They are skidding down a slippery slope on their bums. For the past three weeks they have pelted the management with boulders over a graduation gown tender they claim has been molested to benefit some Chinese lady.

In itself the fight has some juice as it involves allegations of corruption but it is the solution they suggest that relegates the battle to baffling levels of gobbledegook and mendacity. Taking themselves seriously, as they are wont to do, the students are now demanding that the registrar resigns from a job to which she was appointed without their input.

So serious are the students that the secretary general of their class monitors (SRC), Thato Ponya, (Student Representative Union) has dispatched a rude epistle to Registrar Liteboho Maqalika-Lerotholi. In it Ponya tells Maqalika-Lerotholi to resign for alleged “incompetence and corruption”. Maqalika-Lerotholi, whom Ponya incompetently repeatedly calls ‘register’ in his short but grammar-rule defying missive, has not been given a chance to defend herself even to the class monitors, never mind that she doesn’t answer to them.

The university has not charged her for any transgression. Ponya and his battalion have not ventured to provide any proof to back up their scurrilous allegations against her. Instead they have barked, barked and barked. So according to the students Maqalika-Lerotholi should just resign because they said so. You need to be either demented or high on something illegal and potent to think you can instruct someone you did not hire to resign. It is a sign of rank idiocy to think you can fire instructions at a person who doesn’t report to you.

There is a history to their misdirected zeal. For your years NUL students have been pampered with undeserved attention. With time they have filled their heads with large doses of ego instead of books. Like a royal and loyal butler the management has indulged them.
It has squirmed at the sight of power drunk rascals howling insults at anyone who refuses to give in to their trifling demands.
To the students everyone, from lecturers to senior government officials, is their porter. They are getting room service for which they don’t pay the going price and a decent tip.

The little tyrants have terrorised lecturers to give them free rides in courses (They call it the scope of a course, a sophisticated way of giving students a list of questions that will be in the exam). They have harassed the management to bend to their wilful tendencies.
Time and again they have threatened governments with violent strikes and badly written petitions. That this delinquency is coming from people getting a decent education on the cheap is gulling.

Take away the government sponsorship and most of them will be tramps in the streets, cattle herders in the mountains or thieves in the villages.
Most come from families that cannot afford to buy them second-hand underwear yet they have the nerve to yell profanities at the management and the government.

It is by the grace of our Maker that some of them have set foot at a university. Elsewhere in this world most of the students would not even qualify to do Standard 5. If NUL were to slightly jerk up its admission requirements most of them would not be allowed in the vicinity of the university. There would be a checkpoint near St Michaels to send them back home. A little gratitude is therefore in order.

Muckraker has heard some of the students claiming that education is a right. That notion is a result of poor comprehension of what constitutes a right.
The students will never fully understand such intricate matters because they are always snooping around for petty fights.
Tertiary education is a privilege in Lesotho. Only primary education is a right in this country and even that comes with a qualification on which primary school you attend.
Those granted an opportunity to enter the NUL gates after government paid their tuition should therefore immediately sprint to Mzalas Complex, not to drink but to thank their gods.
Maqalika-Lerotholi or anyone in the management should not shiver at the sight of the letter from the students. It is a fart at the mercy of a little breeze.
It has neither the sting nor staying power to linger around for as longer as it takes to say “rubbish!” The brats have their priorities skewed.
Their battle should be on pushing the government to increase the subvention so they don’t learn in run-down lecture rooms.
They should be haranguing the government to release more money for research so they don’t leave the university as glorified Form E graduates. It should anger them that the laboratories in the science faculty are not up to scratch.

As for the resignation of Maqalika-Lerotholi the students should start their own companies or universities if they want to order people around. Or better still, they can just mould their own human beings from clay.  Does Muckraker hear the students fuming with anger at what she has just said? Well, she doesn’t give a damn what rascals do. Unlike the management and the government, Muckraker can match the students at their thuggery.
They just have to name the time and place if they want a brawl with this daughter of Mafube. A word of advice: Muckraker doesn’t fight people who have not hired an ambulance to be on standby and don’t have funeral cover.

Hooray! Yan Xie (John) has just become a civil servant. It was only a matter of time before he laid his hands on some lofty title from which he can pull the strings.
He now has the longest title in the history of this country: Lesotho Head of Special Projects and Prime Minister’s Special Envoy and Trade Advisor on China-Asia Network.

Only Sundawana can decipher to us what that title means. What is clear is that the title was created specifically for him.
Kudos to the Public Eye for getting Xie to talk about his new job. “Yes, I can confirm that I have been appointed. I, however, have not signed a contract as yet so I am not sure what my new job entails but I already have an idea of a poultry project,” Xie said.

So there we have it: The man’s first whisper into Uncle Tom’s ear will be about starting a chicken project.
Nothing spectacular or original, just feeding chicks for six weeks with mash and water.
Obviously,Uncle Tom did not need a special envoy and advisor to give him such a mundane idea.
But of course that is the level at which Xie thinks we belong.

We have all been sitting on our brains waiting for special envoy Xie to tell us that a fowl run is our only way out of poverty. We are then supposed to bum jive at his innovation. Muckraker is yet to confirm rampant allegations that Xie is a man of dubious character. But if his first idea is to start a chicken project then the job is obviously too big and its title too long for him.

Soon he might give Uncle Tom ideas on car washes, 4+ones and chisanyamas. With that title the man can claim to be in charge of everything. Any title that has “special projects” in it should be treated with suspicion because it can mean nothing or everything.
Handed to an unscrupulous character is can be the master key to every door in the government.
Held by a fool, it can be a retirement zone in which to doze off while waiting for the next pay cheque. Xie is not daft.

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