Politricks and carrots

Politricks and carrots

MUCKRAKER is tickled that Uncle Tom had the audacity to offer Prof Nqosa Mahao a diplomatic post.
The offer had all the hallmarks of political chicanery, bravado, desperation and a tinge of naivety. It was a brazen attempt to send Mahao to Siberia whence his political career would rapidly fizzle.

Once Mahao was outside Uncle Tom would have split his camp by offering similar trinkets to his comrades.
A ministerial position here and a PS job there would have been enough to dismember the faction. He would have lit a bonfire and asked Mahao’s friends to switch their allegiances if they wanted to feel the warmth.
Then he would reclaim his power and pull the middle finger on the congress battalion that has been banking on Mahao’s faction for the numbers to topple him in parliament.
With the commander captured, the faction would have imploded to spew the spineless opportunists it shelters. For Uncle Tom, that would have been an act of political genius.

The only trouble is that Uncle Tom misjudged the professor’s hunger. Uncle Tom’s trick can only work on the likes of Sekatle (the turncoat) and Maliehe (the flip-flopper).
Mahao also knows he holds the cards. For months, he has been spanking Uncle Tom up the hills and down the valleys. He caught him by the ears in February but Justice Mahase quickly jumped into the fray.
She smeared Vaseline on Uncle Tom’s ears and Mahao lost his grip.

Uncle Tom bolted again but Mahao was snapping at his heels and caught him again.
This time Mahao borrowed a pair of pliers from Justice Mosito, gripped Uncle Tom’s ears firmly and is refusing to let go. The old man is writhing in excruciating pain while the professor drags him back to his senses.

Justice Mahase will not be jumping in with her Vaseline because some people are already gathering charcoal to roast her.
Uncle Tom still thinks he can wriggle out of this one. Such obstinacy has always been the demise of our politicians. They refuse to accept that they are cornered and finished.

Uncle Tom himself can only blame himself and groupies around him. Uncle Tom probably thinks he is still in his prime and can still unleash a thundering kick on political opponents. But even goats and cockroaches know those days are long gone. He is not a spring chicken anymore.

Agility and energy have left his limbs and veins. Yet even if Uncle Tom is ready to face the reality of his rapidly waning political fortunes he will still have to deal with vultures around him.
The scavengers who see him as their meal ticket. The hangers-on who keep driving a tired old man because they know that without him they will be hobos. The maggots in the political cesspool.

Good-for-nothing freeloaders and bootlickers. Scroungers! Instead of allowing Uncle Tom, a man who has loyally served his people to live his last days in peace, they will squeeze the little that remains of his energy.
Mahao would have been a fool to accept such a blatant bribe.

Age and momentum are on his side. He can afford to wage a war of attrition. There is no point is accepting some foreign errand when the ultimate prize is within his grasp. The only man standing between him and power is an 80-year-old man.
You don’t need to have mastered basic biology to understand the logic here.

For years Deputy Prime Minister Monyane Moleleki (Mokola) has meticulously cultivated a reputation as a shrewd politician.
He has watched, possibly in amusement, as comrades bludgeon each other in the dark political alleys while he steers away from trouble.

There is no doubt that he might have secretly encouraged many comrades to ruinous decisions.
He has probably set them on each other while keeping his hands clean.
Little wonder he survived a lot of political tornadoes. He is a sly schemer.

But once in a while there comes a time when even the most cunning operator meets his match.
As age has caught up with his bones and mind Mokola is being forced to taste the same bitter medicine he dished to other comrades. And he doesn’t like the taste.
MEC leader Selibe Mochoboroane is the man forcing Mokola to imbibe the concoctions. Last week Mokola told a Taung rally that Mochoboroane is stealing his thunder.

He accused the Young Turk of stomping his turf in stolen shoes. Mokola said both the shoes and the turf belong to him.
“My friend Mochoboroane must stop wearing big shoes that do not fit him,” Mokola said.
“People should not dance with shoes that do not belong to them”.

Mokola was livid that Mochoboroane is stealing his ideas and passing them as his.
That way Mochoboroane has been able to steal Mokola’s thunder for bringing electricity to villages.

The allegation is that Mochoboroane hides somewhere in the Taung hills and waits for Mokola to start a project in the area.
Then when Mokola is done with the projects he descends to the villages, drum in hand, claiming to be the one who did the work.

It takes months for word of Mochoboroane’s thievery to get to Mokola because he is too busy with the mess in the coalition government.
By the time he gets a chance to leave his babysitting chores in the government, Mochoboroane will be basking in stolen glory.
The villagers will be singing his name over hopose while imploring his ancestors to give him more years. Prayers would have been uttered for Mochoboroane. Songs of praise would have been composed for him.

No villager will believe Mokola when he says it was him who brought them power.
To the villagers it is Mokola who is bum-jiving in stolen shoes. He is the desperate politician pinching Mochoboroane’s ideas.
Mochoboroane has denied such treachery but Muckraker thinks there is some truth in Mokola’s allegations. What she will not accept is Mokola’s overdone grumbling. He has no monopoly over politricks. In

politics there is nothing horribly wrong with nicking both ideas and credit.
Politicians do it all the time. It doesn’t matter who builds the road or clinic as long as you can convince villagers that it was you. What matters is how you sell your lies to the villagers.

If your story is convincing then you are the one who delivered the goods. A seasoned politician, Mokola should have learned that trick by now. Muckraker suspects he knows the game and has played it for decades but is just bamboozled by the skill and speed with which Mochoboroane is doing it.
He has been accustomed to outwitting the dunderheads in the congress movement for decades. Now he has met his match. Game on!

And it’s not as if Mochoboroane is using a brand new trick. For years, Lesotho’s politicians have stolen credit for bridges, roads, schools and clinics built by donors.
They are known to shamelessly hog the limelight at handover ceremonies.
The donor’s name is mentioned as a footnote after hours of saying “my government”, “my ministry” and “my party”. The real sponsors are elbowed off the podium as politicians stuff the stolen credit into their pockets.

Even if the benefactors try to emphasise that it is their ideas and money being used the minister will always twist the facts. It is not for seniority that ministers speak last at handover ceremonies.
It is meant for them to have the last word to leave their indelible lies about them or government being the brains behind a project.

Mokola, therefore, has no right whingeing about Mochoboroane’s tricks.
In any case, Mochoboroane can also say that Mokola should not be claiming credit for government projects because he is not using his own money. He didn’t pay for even a plug in the electricity project.

The real sponsors are the taxpayers from whom the government gets the money. Mochoboroane also has a right to claim some credit because he is part of the government by virtue of being an MP.
Because the taxpayers are not there to claim the thunder they deserve anyone in government can steal it.
It’s a fair game. Mokola should sharpen his propaganda skills instead of screaming about Mochoboroane. Neither the shoes nor the turf are his. Let’s play!

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