When spin doctors keep spinning

When spin doctors keep spinning

FORGET the brouhaha over a salary review for teachers, soldiers, cops and spies.
The people who deserve a salary increase are the dozens of spin doctors with the unenviable task of communicating the government’s messy decisions. Every day they scramble for something plausible to explain the government’s bungling.
Former journalists are being asked to smear lipstick on a frog and call it Miss Lesotho.

As their employer remains unrepentant in pushing the frontiers of mediocrity, even the most skilled spin doctors are beginning to look silly. Most are now entangled in the web of the tall tales they spew in defending a government that is out of both depth and strategy.
What is at stake is not the government’s reputation because it never had one from the start. It has always been a mishmash of men and women who were promoted to positions of incompetence.

It is the spin doctors who are squandering the little that remains of their morsels of reputations.
Every word they utter to defend the government’s tomfoolery is like an extra pair of scissors shredding their integrity. Each word they use to defend the state’s chicanery is like a bucket of manure to further soil their reputes.
Smart people, hired for their talent, skill, eloquence and a dose of bootlicking, now look like hopeless dunderheads. Just look at the First Lady’s spokesperson, Silas Monyatsi, the hugely talented media professional with dozens of accolades in his cabinet.

A few months ago he was making decent films and documentaries but now he mops the tosh strewn in the corridors of power. He is getting late night calls from journalists asking him to undo bunkum not of his making.
If the Feselady pummels someone, as she did at a private hospital, he has to meticulously explain (spin) that it is the victim’s face that hit his boss’s waving hand.

Because he speaks for an unpredictable and fiery client, Monyatsi has to keep a ha re eng Thaba-Tseka of answers by his bedside. He needs fresh tales to explain away his client’s kung Fu tactics. He could say the victim injured herself when she fell after a sudden seizure during an argument with the Feselady.

Or the victim beat herself in a feat of anger after being cheerfully greeted by the Feselady. Or he could claim that the victim’s swollen lip is a result of her shouting during an argument with the Feselady.
The victim’s red eye was caused by a nasty allergic reaction following gentle advice the Feselady was dishing to her during a minor disagreement. He has to keep cobbling more stories for his boss.

Last week, Monyatsi cooked up some late night fiction when asked why the Feselady was dragging along a bid entourage to the United Nations’ General Assembly in New York.
Of interest to journalists was why her team included a personal aide and a social worker.

Muckraker was not party to the conversation but she can speculate that Monyatsi took a deep breath before spinning the yarn.
“They will be doing chores like ironing clothes for them, sometimes cooking because the Prime Minister may want to be cooked for. As you may know, these services are provided for the VIP people of the status of the First Lady and the Prime Minister. It is like that in all the countries where I have been,” he said.

Muckraker will tell you this was a bizarre story told with a straight face for Monyatsi is a brilliant actor too. First, Monyatsi is telling us that the Feselady and Uncle Tom have a special diet that American hotels cannot make for them. Muckraker can only think of a special papa ka lepu dish.
He is therefore telling us that the government is paying thousands of maloti for someone to travel to New York to make papa ka lepu for the couple. It’s hogwash because we all know that the Feselady lost her appetite for peasant food eons ago. She is not the type to munch anything made from phoofo in America.

She would rather die than be seen swallowing balls of papa in America. Just because she enjoys Muvhango doesn’t mean she likes what the characters eat.
And we all know that no sane person gets the government to pay a M150 000 First Class ticket for her to eat papa in a foreign land. Nada!
She too likes to take some selfies surrounded by sushi, caviar and bottles of champagne. Imagine our own classy Feselady taking pictures of herself eyeing a mountain of papa in New York. It can’t!
Now that we have dismantled this personal-chef-from-home twaddle, let’s turn to Monyatsi’s baloney about the First Lady and Uncle Tom needing maids to iron their clothes.

The couple is likely to stay in a posh room at a breathtakingly expensive hotel. That means they will have hotel staff on call to cater for the most trivial of their whims.
They might as well get massages and their teeth brushed. Getting their clothes ironed is the least of their worries because that is a standard benefit at any decent hotel.

They are not going camping in Qaqatu. Monyatsi should tell us what garment of the Feselady and Uncle Tom will need washing during that week.
And even if there is such apparel, he should explain why it requires two people on expensive tickets to wash.
It is inconceivable that the Feselady packs dirty clothes so they are washed by her personal aide and social worker in New York. Still, that doesn’t justify his attempts to undermine personal aides and social workers by calling them maids and cooks. Social workers should be furious that he is calling them maids.

It is a notorious fact that social workers are highly qualified professionals.
The truth is that this is just another state-funded junket for the personal aide and the social worker. No amount of spinning will change that.
They will be in New York to shop and watch the tall glowing buildings. Nothing more. True, they will serve tea and carry the madam’s purse but their core business will be to shop, marvel at the lights and take selfies.
What irritates Muckraker is not that civil servants have no qualms with the government paying for their useless travels but that they never learn from the countries they visit.

Most have been to the best cities in the world but they never copy anything from there. They see how other cities are built but they will never take the lessons to transform Maseru, their village of a city.
They will come back with Gucci bags (fake ones anyway) but contently squat in VIP toilets. Such is the witchcraft we see everywhere.
The exposure that comes with travelling will never change their village mentality. They will still pee in alleys and spit gaggles on the pavement. It is true that you can never buy class.

It infuriates Muckraker that they never seem to save for the lean cow moment when their government capsizes. A few days after losing their jobs they will be back to their old miserable selves, jostling for a seat in taxis, gobbling makoenya and heading back to their villages.
There are those who use the per diems to start the silly businesses of piggery and spaza shops but the rest just munch the money as if it’s some concoction to boost their libido.

So we should not fret when their bums are on cozy First Class seats or their purses are brimming with the Benjamin’s. Soon they will be humbled and it will not matter what state-sponsored opulence they enjoyed.
Of course, they will still wear their expensive outfits to funerals and speak eloquently about their trips but the reality remains that they are finished. The feasts of yesterday don’t pacify the hunger of today.
Yet we should never be naïve to assume that this freeloading will end.
Even those screaming about these junkets might join the shindig soon. That is who we are. Our protests and shrieking at wasteful expenditure is not based on principle.

You are angry because you are not the ones enjoying this state pampering. It hurts you that you have been a spectator to this government-money-eating frenzy. When our turn comes you will surely equalise. And when others scream you will remind us who remain on the peripheries that it’s your turn to eat.
So cut the hypocrisy and wait for your chance at the feeding trough.

Nka! Ichuuuuuuuuuuu!


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