The real problem  with ‘Maesaiah

The real problem with ‘Maesaiah

YOU will be an unalloyed dimwit to defend ‘Maesaiah Thabane following the fiasco she caused at Maseru Private Hospital last week.
But it will be unfair to lynch her solely on the narrative peddled by radio stations, newspapers and social media.
It is a fact as stubborn as a mango stain that most of those pillorying her were not at the hospital when she allegedly clobbered ‘Manthati Mabothile.
There is therefore ample room for speculation, exaggeration, rumour-mongering and outright lies. All of which are national staples.
Lacking from the post-match brouhaha is the First Lady’s own version of events. Predictably, that vacuum has been filled by testimonies from Mabothile, the hospital and some who think they know what happened.

And those versions seem plausible because ‘Maesaiah is being judged on history. When you are despised it is easy for people to concoct tales about you.
The issue ceases to be what you did but what people think you are capable of doing because you have done similar things in the past. ‘Maesaiah is therefore probably a victim of her own reputation. Hoist by her own petard. Felled by her own legacy.
Yet even if that is the case it will be unfair to bludgeon her based on what we think she is capable of doing and not what she actually did.
Muckraker will tell you that even if the stories from Mabothile and the hospital management match it doesn’t mean they make sense. We are told that ‘Maesaiah lost her cool when Mabothile told her to calm down.

Mabothile’s exact words to ‘Maesaiah are not being mentioned.
Two things are now in dispute. The first is that the hospital manager was not on the scene when fists flew and hair was pulled out. The second is that Mabothile was drunk.
So here we are: the information we have is coming from a person who was not present and a victim who admits that she was high.
We can be charitable to the manager’s account because he is hearing it from people who were there. Still, that does not mean that what he says is entirely truthful because his subordinates have a duty to protect the hospital’s reputation.

It’s therefore possible that they are selling us a sanitised version of the story.
Mabothile’s version is weird on several levels. She admits that she was drunk but claims to clearly remember what happened.
She gives an almost minute-by-minute account of what transpired. Although intoxicated when her hair was rearranged Mabothile remembers vividly that she merely told ‘Maesaiah to calm down because doctors had already attended to the victim.

She also recalls that her hands were in the pocket when she approached ‘Maesaiah.
Most importantly, she remembers that she was stoned.
Muckraker is not a detective but she knows what beer can do to a human mind.

It’s either Mabothile is a genius or she had discovered the secret to gulping gallons of beer and still keep her senses.
Her clarity about what happened is astounding for someone who admits to have been smashed when she was spanked in that hospital.
What we have in Mabothile is a woman who claims to have been sloshed but insists that she did not provoke someone. In short, we have a drunk who tells a lucid story in which she was just an innocent victim of a supposedly deranged woman.

It is tempting to believe her story because people always root for the underdog.
In this case Mabothile is way below a small fly. She was pummelled by one of the most powerful women in the country. The First Lady, who has a reputation for being cheeky, threw a tantrum at a private hospital and lost control of her hands.
Clearly, she has not covered herself in glory.

But we should also look at this from other angles.
Curiosity enriches the mind. From the onset Muckraker will say she doesn’t doubt that the First Lady did a Jackie Chan of a drunken Mabothile.
What she finds hard to believe is that Mabothile was spanked for telling the First Lady to calm down. It’s probably not what she said but the state in which she said it.
You walk into a hospital desperate for news about an accident victim and the first person who comes into your face is some stoned woman telling you to calm down.
And she is stinking of liquor while showering your makeup with putrid saliva.

She can barely stand on her own but she has the guts to tell you to calm down. Muckraker is not saying ‘Maesaiah should have plucked Mabothile’s wig but she understands.
There is a lot that could have set ‘Maesaiah on the path to a boxing ring. It’s possible that the only way ‘Maesaiah could defend herself from Mabothile’s foul smell of alcohol was to pull her hair. Mabothile might have told ‘Maesaiah to stop parading her hunky (Uncle Tom) at a hospital.

It’s possible that in her drunken stupor Mabothile might have winked at Uncle Tom. Or she was getting touchy-feely like all drunk people are prone to do.
Worse, she might have asked Uncle Tom if he doesn’t want a second wife. The possibilities are enumerable. ‘Maesaiah might have known Mabothile as a bully from Grade 2.
She might have caught Mabothile looking at Uncle Tom like she wanted to swallow him and disappear. Can that be condoned? No! Is it understandable? Yes!

The problem is not that ‘Maesaiah beat Mabothile. It is rather that a whole First Lady could descend to that gutter level. And herein lies the crux of the matter.
‘Maesaiah sometimes forgets that she is now the First Lady of the country.
So she is wont to dishing out instant justice to those who irritate her. That is the village style of dealing with fools.
We all do it but when we get to a certain level we should stop it.

But let’s cut ‘Maesaiah some slack for she is still trying to relate to power. She is not alone on this one. Wives of pastors are bullies in the villages. The chief’s wife is always ready to insult you.
Even the boss’s wife thinks she can tell you what to do even at a company where her husband is just an employable dismissible like you. This power thing happens even at fato-fato.
Mabothile’s problem is to have entered the hospital drunk and start telling other sober people to calm down as if her beer had already calmed her down.
It is never the responsibility of drunks to tell sober people to calm down. The rule is clear: once you are drunk you lose the right to advise other people on anything.
Anything you tell sober people is considered a sign of your error of judgement. For if you were so smart you would have advised the barman to stop piling you with beer before you lost your faculties. That is why drunks are locked in another room when sober people are discussing issues. Those issues can include the subject of drunkenness.
Drunks are never asked to advise people on the dangers of drunkenness. That is why you will never see drunks speaking on adverts warning people about the pitfalls of drunkenness. The reason: they cannot be trusted with anything.

There is a silver lining for both ‘Maesaiah and Mabothile here. Mabothile should thank ‘Maesaiah for bringing her back to her senses. Lessons don’t come this potent. She is lucky that ‘Maesaiah did not beat her to a pulp because that could have happened. There is nothing as prudent as beating a drunken woman at a hospital. You split the face and the nurse jumps in with a bandage. You break an arm and the victim is quickly thrust into a plaster.

When she passes out the drips are ready to bring her back too. It is a sign of mercy to beat someone in a place surrounded by doctors and nurses. The pharmacy at Maseru Private Hospital is open 24 hours. There is always a wheelchair by the door.
The real scandal would have been to beat someone at Tšepong Hospital or Queen II. At Tšepong you know the doctors will demand that your victim joins the queue and get those white stickers even as blood oozes from every hole.

At Queen II you know that the doctors will tell the victim that they have no painkillers or bandages for the victim. ‘Maesaiah should thank Mabothile for resisting the urge to allow alcohol to take charge. Mabothile could have gone haywire and beaten her blue right in front of Uncle Tom.
Drunks have a way of embarrassing sober people and they don’t have to try hard.
Mabothile didn’t even have to throw a punch at ‘Maesaiah to win the fight.

She could have simply stripped naked and started chasing after Uncle Tom through the hospital. In that drunken state she could have simply peed on one of ‘Maesaiah’s vehicles.
The worst that could have happened was for Mabothile to start peppering ‘Maesaiah with stinging blows.
Of course the guards would have arrested her but Muckraker does not think the matter would have gone far. ‘Maesaiah would have been too embarrassed to tell the police that she was beaten by a mere drunk. Even if it had reached the court Mabothile would have won hands down.

She could have argued that she was drunk and therefore not in charge of her actions.
Either that or she could have simply argued that she did not beat the First Lady but some woman who started a fight.
And if the court asked why that is so she would have twisted her face and shrugged her shoulders and said: “Ah, well, she was not behaving like a First Lady.”

Nka! Ichuuuuuuuuuuu!

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