The thieving thugs in high heels

The thieving thugs in high heels

TO see that we are sick in the mind look no further than the recent brouhaha over catering contracts for the King’s Birthday celebrations.
For years there was an unwritten agreement that catering companies are selected on the basis of their district. The idea was that companies from Mafeteng feed the people at the celebration in Mafeteng.

The motive was to empower local companies.
But someone along the way became both greedy and corrupt.
So district companies started robbing the government with vulgar prices for small jobs.

Jobs that would cost M10 000 suddenly ballooned to as much as M200 000, all in the name of empowering district companies. Cakes made from Lesotho Flour Mills’ flour and Wasco’s water now cost as much as M50 000. The witchcraft had been sanitized in the name of empowerment.
Affirmative action had been twisted.

It did not matter that the cakes had been baked by LEC-powered ovens.
It was not enough that the cakes still tasted like makoenya or bread sprinkled with a little sugar.
The point was to swindle the government in the name of the King.
Catering companies were committed to milking this government.

But this year someone smart decided to put spanners in the works.
Instead of using districts as the basis for awarding the contracts the person used the price of the service.
It meant that the most competitive prices won the job.

That was a brilliant idea but it sabotaged some thieves who were already warming up to clobber the government. The reaction has been robust, with some people threatening to pee and defecate on food prepared by people from other districts.
Some said they will strip naked at the celebrations.
Muckraker doesn’t mind the defecation or the peeing.

What scares Muckraker are the unshaven nether regions that will insult our eyes if there is a free strip show at the celebrations.
Because most of the catering companies are owned by women it clearly shows that we have thugs in lipstick, manicure and stilettos.
These are the same ‘she’ robbers who spend most of their time accusing men of corruption on call-in-programmes on our garrulous radio stations.

Even if the government had called for proposals to make makoenya for the King’s birthday the catering companies would still have found ways to inflate the prices.
To them it’s not the service that matters but to whom they are providing it.
These are the same people who screamed loudest when the King was named in some misdirected lawsuit brought by some desperate politicians.
“Hands off our king,” they bellowed.

Yet today they insist on using the King’s name to rob the government.
The hypocrisy of it all is flabbergasting but it is to be expected. We are dealing with a people who have morsels of manure in their sick minds. Phew!

We are a country capable of spectacular bouts of tomfoolery and mediocrity. And we don’t have to break a sweat to show it because we have perfected the art of parading those talents to the world.
It’s as if each of our two million people has mastered the drill and can dish out the staple without provocation, persuasion or prodding.
Even when we momentarily disappear from the horseplay and ineptness the world doesn’t hold its breath for it knows it’s only a matter of time before one of us comes back with a bang.
The current lull in shenanigans is, therefore, not shocking to the world.

It’s been long since we had the usual mischief in government. SADC is not screaming its head off about us and the army’s long tails seem to have been cut to size.
The police are grappling with the ‘Makarabo scandal but they have largely kept their zeal for torture and other crude interrogation methods in check.
Despite some muffled grumblings from some bitter comrades there seems to be an uneasy peace in Uncle Tom’s government.
There is a tacit agreement among the partners to avoid rocking this leaking boat.

The opposition is making some noises but not many are listening. And Ramophosa has been promoted to a position that does not include dealing with mundane issues like Lesotho’s manufactured and self-inflicted chaos.

Yet we know that someone somewhere is cooking up a stinker that will push the country back into the headlines.
5, 4, 3, 2…the countdown has begun.
We are never far from the cliff. Like little monkeys we dangle from weak twigs, hoping they have the strength to withstand our reckless swings.
As Muckraker writes this some nonentities are nudging toward the headlines.

Just three weeks ago a fringe group with a nondescript name started clowning its way into the international arena by reviving an old non-issue.
The group gathered at the British High Commission offices in Pretoria to dispatch what it thought was an earth-shattering missive to the Queen of England.
Unimaginatively named Basotho Petitioners, the group’s solo agenda is to push for the revision of the borders drawn in 1854 when the hoodlums of that time contrived and connived to pocket land to which they had no title.

The thuggery is well documented even though it was written by the same ruffians.
The Basotho Petitioners is correct to argue that huge chunks of land were dismembered from Lesotho by the Boers with the tacit approval of the English Monarchy.
The group thinks the old woman, that is the Queen of England, can right this centuries old injustice.

Muckraker has never had the honour of meeting the Queen but she knows the woman has nothing much to do with her life apart from being pampered with largesse from her people’s taxes.
It is therefore highly unlikely that a bunch of excitable fellows moaning about the sins of her forefathers would disturb her peace.
The petition is likely to land in a dustbin outside the Royal Palace.

And it’s not that the Basotho Petitioners don’t have a point.
It’s just that they are coming too late when the world has changed dramatically. They might have been heroes in the 1920s. But coming in 2018, they are just makebates seeking expired relevance.
It is a notorious fact of international law that colonial boundaries are permanent injustices countries have to live with. Therefore, no amount of petitions to the Queen of England will get the boundaries amended.

These stirrers of pyric quarrels are unlikely to elbow their way to the highest podium because they are flogging a dead donkey.
As they send epistles to the Queen they should also remember that their forefathers too are accused of snatching land from other people. Southern Africa was not a vacuum when their forefathers strayed into this territory.

This land we call ours was nicked from someone who displaced someone who filched it from someone who pilfered it from someone.

In any case, it’s not as if we have exhausted the little land the colonialists left us.
Most of the arable land in this country remains unused. We don’t have a shortage of land but a dire lack of people who have ideas to produce from it.
The clamour for land is not based on the fact that we have been squashed to the rugged terrain.

It’s simply because we find solace in marching back to yesterday when others are galloping to tomorrow.
That is why every debate about the future of Lesotho includes the idea of reclaiming our land from South Africa as if that is feasible.
It doesn’t matter that there is no chance of this wet dream coming true.

The idea, though, is not to achieve anything but to be seen to be standing for something.
So once in a while we are reminded that there is a pertinent historical issue we should never forget. We are told the Free State Province once belonged to Lesotho.
Long fingers are pointed in the direction of Vaal River to illustrate how far our boundaries stretched.
The sum total of those noises is zero. We are confusing activity for progress.

We forget, too, that even if the rest of Southern Africa was called Lesotho and we alone inhabited it there was nothing much we would achieve because we have a skewed mentality. The huge gullies that have scarred this little country will be all over the place.

The problem is that we want more when we cannot make the best out of the little we have. The result is that we are forever chasing pipe dreams.
Someone pass me a hankie!

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