The best jokers in town

The best jokers in town

EVERY country has a permanent all-weather joke.
It doesn’t have to be funny to gain national currency.
Just a little selling and repeatedly telling it will thrust it into the national joke basket.
And the people will howl and roll with laughter.

Lesotho’s trending national joke is called the Ombudsman’s Office.
Its boss is Leshele Thoahlane, the man who used to run that toothless Chihuahua called the DCEO.
Come to think of it: there is no much difference between the Ombudsman and the DCEO when it comes to inducing uncontrollable laughter.
There will be a day to explore the comical nature of the DCEO.

For now the thunder has been stolen by the Ombudsman’s office.
Say what you may about the police, at least they are still feared.
Never mind that what makes people shiver is not their competence but the zeal with which they break bones, bash faces and knock heads.
So when someone says they will call the police someone is bound to listen.

The same applies to our parliament whose indolence is legendary.
They still make some laws and can pinch ears here and there.
Look what brother Mochoboroane is doing with the Public Accounts Committee.

It will be a scandal if not one civil servant has peed in their panties during those grilling sessions at the PAC.
So when someone says I will tell the PAC you know you might be subjected to some roasting that will be witnessed by your children and friends on TV.
The beauty about those PAC MPs is that they don’t dress you down.

It is their questions that will make you start taking off your garments like you are performing at a Tease Club.
With each question you drop a garment until you are nude.
Thereafter you become a go-go dancer.

Our courts are lethargic but at least they still have some authority.
The village chiefs still have a bite in them for they can deny you a lengolo la morena, without which you might not open an account or get that NMDS grant.
Where is Muckraker going with this?

Well, try telling someone that you will report them to the Ombudsman.
She will laugh you out of your house or the bus stop.
That’s just how pathetic the Ombudsman’s role is.
His office evokes neither fear nor sympathy.

There is no reverence, whether feigned or forced.
Even rats in Thamae know that the Ombudsman’s office is a blind cat.

Given this sad reality, it is depressing that Thoahlane thinks so highly of his role and office.
He actually thinks that his job matters and some people look forward to hearing what he says.

He refuses to accept that he sits in a rocking retirement chair from which he tries to bark instructions to people who know that he is incapable of nothing more than the sound he makes. Recently he clambered Hilton Road to whine to parliament about the Roads Directorate and the DCEO.
In his ha re eeng Thaba-Tseka bag were two cases he thought were serious matters.

In one case he cries about the Roads Directorate thumping its nose at him.
In another he moans about the DCEO pulling a middle finger on him.
The first case is of one junior chief who said the Roads Directorate owes him some money after it used his land to store its equipment.

The second is of some police officer who claims the DCEO denied him a job he deserved.
There is a reason why both cases found themselves before the Ombudsman: both cannot last a sneeze in a court of law.
The chief’s case against the Roads Directorate cannot make it to the Small Claims Court.
The policeman’s case will not be entertained in the vicinity of even a village court.

That leaves the Ombudsman’s Office as the only joker in town with an ear for such humdrum cases. It is the only office fit for such mediocre errands.
Curiously it performs such chores with astounding vim.
But don’t be fooled to think their vigour has anything to do with justice.
The ultimate goal is to justify the budget from the government.

Someone in the village might have asked Thoahlane what he does for a living.
“I am the boss at the Ombudsman’s Office,” he must have said.
“What is that? Is it a type of Litolobonya or Pitiki,” a puzzled villager could have asked.
Of course Thoahlane would have been dumbfounded by how little is known about his office.

So in the weeks that followed he combed his office for some reports to give to parliament.
He wasn’t looking for cases in which his recommendations were ignored because that is the fate of every matter he has handled.
He will spend hours listening to evidence and days writing reports that will be swimming with maggots at the bottom of a VIP latrine before he has his next meal.
Thoahlane was looking for cases that would shock the MPs into action and attract coverage.

The point being to justify his relevance and to remind the powers-that-be that he is not snoozing through to Sunday.
For all his scouring he came out with those two small cases.
All of which happened years ago.

That could reveal what Thoahlane and his subordinates have been doing for months: basking in the sun on a holiday while pretending to be busy.
If they were working they would have stumbled upon more serious cases of injustice.
Yet it might be just that no one who has suffered a serious injustice brings their case to the Ombudsman.

The Ombudsman’s office is that silly uncle in the family who has weird solutions to serious problems.
You tell him you have problems with your wife and he takes you to a bar for drinks.
Then in a drunken stupor he starts telling you about his favourite wrestling superstars.

Thoahlane’s office is that aunt who thinks all your problems have something to do with you having refused to buy her a seshoeshoe.
“Mmmmm you see. If only you had bought me that dress the ancestors would not have forsaken you like this.”
His office is like that clever-by-half friend who always has an idiotic plan to serious problems.

You tell her that you are broke and he asks if you have five rand to go bet at Gbets or Soccerbet.
The only reason why Muckraker doesn’t laugh at the Ombudsman joke is because it is an expensive joke.
It is the taxpayers who have to sustain such funnies.

Sadly, Thoahlane and his people think their comedy is cheap.

Nka! Ichuuuuuuuuuuu!

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