The  Palace  of Jokes

The Palace of Jokes

LET’S start with a quiz. Who was so distressed by Uncle Tom’s fall that she went to bed with her wig, gown and stilettos?
Tame your wild imagination because the answer is not that obvious.
It’s not the Feselady, her friends or the State House’s former nurses.
Your rumourmongering skills will not help you here.
The answer will come in a jiffy after a lesson on the pitfalls of the politics of bootlicking.

Lesotho’s politics will leave you reeling. Even if you consider yourself neutral the politics of this country will make your head spin.
If the toxic politics gives those who pretend to be in the fringes pounding headaches, you can imagine what it does to those in the thick of things.
You have to feel for those who emotionally invested in the All Basotho Convention (ABC) brouhaha over the past two years.

The heart is not meant for such high and unceasing drama.
Against all logic, advice and decency, this battalion appointed themselves Uncle Tom’s foot soldiers. They defended his shenanigans with unbridled vim.

Even their spouses have never seen them so passionate about something.
Lousy husbands and wives always make the most vociferous bootlickers. After all, they never allow family commitments to get in the way of political shrieking.
They never waste their voices on reading to their children and disciplining them.

For two years they committed in this self-allocated assignment that even Uncle Tom himself was shocked. They believed in him even when he didn’t believe in himself.
It is possible that at some point Uncle Tom wondered why these people so fervently believed in a failure like him.
When they waxed lyrical about his virtues and leadership skills, Thabane might have thought they were talking about someone else.
Even when he said he was as tired as a donkey they said “keep leading Papa”. When he asked to where, they said: “Anywhere will do Papa.”
“Take us to hell, a VIP or Qaqatu.”

And so he tried to hang on until July as if he was in charge of his own fate.
Observers like Muckraker and smart people like Professor Nyane were however clear that he was just being a cornered cantankerous old man gnawing at what is left of what used to be his immense power. In the end his protestations became hilarious.

“I will go when I want,” he said even as he was busy packing his bags.
By the time he said “I will leave in July” he was already at the gates.
All of which made his avowals sound as pathetic as those who believed them. Going he was.
Yet the zealots immersed themselves in the ABC’s stinking political morass and imbibed Uncle Tom’s statements like a South African who has not seen a Hansa in three months.

Look who is staggering and diving into pillars now.
Of course they were doing it to fill their tummies with crumbs from the high table of Uncle Tom, the Feselady and a cabal of jesters in their court.
But as the cookie crumbled, as it always does in tribal politics bereft of principle, the brownnosers found themselves scrambling for cover. Caught taking a dumb in a chief’s field, they hastily covered their faces, leaving the essentials exposed.

“Blame it on nature’s calling,” they said to the passers-by.
Without their beloved father (Uncle Tom) and mother (Feselady), they are orphans.
Some distant uncles have stolen their inheritance and are parcelling it to their own relatives.
They will say this is unfair but they are barking up the wrong tree.
The wheel had turned. Their ancestors had snoozed.
There will certainly be another chance in the next few months or years but for now they have to regroup, lick their collective wounds and mop their tears.

Muckraker offers them nothing but a lullaby.
Oi, oi oi, ngoana oa lla/ oa lla oa thola/ eitse ke etela Mpharane ngon’a ’me/ ka fumana ngon’a mokhotsi a kula ngoan’a ‘me/ ka tsoela ka ntle ka seka meokho ngoan’a ‘me/ ka nka kepi ka nyolosa thaba ngon’a ‘me/ oi, oi oi.

But as soon they are soothed Muckraker will say: Malauoa koto li peli!
Let the squirming continue.
In addition to headaches they are also having incessant diarrhoea.
Starvation and destitution will follow soon after.

Remember we have been on a journey to discovering the answer to the quiz.

Now the answer is within our grasp.
Take Mpilo Boulevard, go up the slope, turn right, drive for 100 metres, turn right again and drive another 100 metres before turning into an unmanned gate. Bingo! You are in the Palace of Jokes.
Now go up the stairs and ask for the main “Actress”.
Welcome to the palace that Justice Maseforo Mahase so badly wanted to manage but ended up pretending to be in charge.
She made it her calling to defend Uncle Tom.
When she ran out of grenades to fight Uncle Tom’s wars, she used both her wig and gown. Now she has been exposed. Having expended all her arsenals in Uncle Tom’s battles, the woman has nothing left to defend herself.
And so she waits for that dreaded “show cause letter” that is coming sooner rather than later.
She cannot hide in her chambers or in the stinking public toilets she failed to repair. The library cannot offer her sanctuary because the law books will remind her of what she should have done.
There is a lion at the Court of Appeal building.
She is persona non grata in other judges’ chambers because her penchant for meddling precedes her. They will obviously say “not hear magogo!”
Maybe the cave behind the MGC building would be her new office as she awaits impeachment. Muckraker insists that the not-so-new government resists the temptation to push her out. Firing her will only make her a martyr. She will claim to be one of the many judges pushed out by the government.

A class act would be to appoint a substantive Chief Justice and leave her as a judge.
That way she will have time to introspect and maybe repent. Wherever she goes she will have the U.T.C (Uncle Tom’s Comrade) initials on her forehead. In the meantime, the government should treat her well for she is recovering from the shock of losing her beloved boss.
The idea, though, is not to rehabilitate her but to allow her to wallow in her shame.

One of the most surreal moments in the past two weeks would have happened if Justice Mahase had sworn-in Majoro as Prime Minister.
If she had it her way she would have winked at Majoro. More like saying “come on son, let bygones be bygones. It was nothing personal”.
After the swearing-in she could have approached the new prime minister with an offer.

“Look son, I have always had a soft spot for you. You know that I am pliable. Use me please! I am at your service. I am yours, now and forever!”
Majoro would respond: “Thanks but no thanks mama. Your history as a loser is well known. You hold the record as the judge with the highest number of judgements overturned by the Court of Appeal. Go back to you chambers and wait for my letter.”

Previous Uncle Tom’s hollow wisdom
Next M3m to kill Lipolelo

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