John is your boss

John is your boss

IT was only a matter of time before John Xie, the de facto Sherriff of Maseru, cooked up another stinker. He has been farting on Basotho for decades. He doesn’t need any provocation for he genuinely believes this country is his spaza shop.

Forget this delusional nonsense about Lesotho being independent.
It is just hot air to make us feel better in our misery under John.
Nyoe, nyoe, Lesotho’s borders should extend to the Vaal River. Holy dung!
We are bellowing about perceived historical injustices yet we have a man defecating in our wells. Yet instead of telling him to go hang we are gulping the water and even marvelling that it has a sour taste.

We all know the dangers of ululating at a crazy man at a funeral.
Egged on, he might molest or pinch the corpse. That is what Basotho have done to John. Little wonder he had grown a long tail. Ours is a dubious distinction of being colonised by an individual.

While others are moaning about China and America taking over their countries we are crying about an individual shoving us into his pocket.
Not even the Covid-19 crisis could stop John from dipping his hands into the cookie jar.

The man never allows a crisis to go to waste. So while the lockdown had us stranded in our homes John’s money printing machines at the Manthabiseng Convention Centre were in overdrive.
Working overtime and sweating on the printing machines were politicians and some civil servants. You know you have a perverted mind when you rob your own people to feed a stranger. Let there be no mistake: There are politicians who have made it their vocation to help John screw this country. In return they are rewarded with pittances.

After reading the details of John’s stinking convention centre deal you are tempted to believe that our government employees are either naïve, daft or both.
Stupid is a more appropriate word but the rules of decorum prohibit its use on breasted women and bearded men. While the public anger and anguish at the scandal is noted, Muckraker believes it is based on a narrow understanding of the magnitude of John’s tomfoolery.

That much is clear from the way people are fixated with the fact that he was charging the government M53 000 per day. The trouble with that line of thinking is that it misses the deeper nuances that really matter.
If your anger is against the quantum then you are probably amenable to a small charge.

So maybe M3 000 per day is more palatable to you. Yet that should never be the argument.
To persist on that path would be to confuse the bush for a forest.
An apt analysis should look at the whole deal as just a thieving project.
Let’s get into it then. Suppose you own a house where a tenant pays M3 200 per month. Now, a natural disaster then leaves you homeless and you ask your tenant for a room in your own house. The tenant charges you M5 300 per day. Only a confirmed and unrepentant idiot would accept such a deal. This is precisely what happened in this John scandal.

The government was renting its own property from John. Phew!
The government gave John’s company a contract to manage the Manthabiseng Convention Centre. In return the company paid the government M32 000 in monthly rentals which translated to M384 000 a year. John would then lease the building to Basotho and make a handsome profit. When the government wanted to use the centre John charged M53 000 per day. And against all logic, shame or sense of proportion, someone in government decided that this was a fabulous deal and agreed to it. Several things arise here.

First, it is clear that John’s company was not going to make a cent from the centre during the Covid-19 crisis because all public events had been cancelled.

So it was John who needed the government and not the other way round.
He could either allow the government to rent the building or earn nothing for the next few months. Yet when the government officials entered the negotiations with John they behaved as if it was the government that was desperate.

So John went from earning nothing from the centre to making M53 000 per day. Let that sink in. Now curse if that riles you.
The government had all the cards in the negotiations but disgustingly handed them all to John. Second, nothing would have stopped the government from using the centre for free.

After all this was a national disaster. The contract with John could have been cancelled on the basis that there was a national disaster.
The contract said each party could give a 30-day notice if it wanted out of the deal but given the circumstances an immediate eviction would have been justified.

To successfully sue, John would have had to quantify the amount of business he lost when the government was occupying the building.
The man would have been hard-pressed to come up with even M500 as his loss during that time there was zero business during the lockdown.
Third, it’s not as if the government did not have options. Nearly every hotel and hall in this country was vacant during the lockdown.

Any hotel company would have jumped at the opportunity to have someone renting its property. In any case, there were many unused or underused government buildings.
The old State House is empty. The new one is underutilised and its not-so-useful tenants could have been moved into a smaller place. 

After all, there were no foreign diplomats to entertain during the crisis.
Fourth, let it not be forgotten that the convention is a national asset. Whether it is run by a private company, a donkey, goat or a ministry is another issue.

The best John would have received is a reprieve on his monthly rentals to the government. If that was considered unfair then the government would have paid John M32 000 per month, the same amount it was receiving from him.

The government agreed to pay M4 million to rent its own building for 77 days from John. Over the same time John would have paid the government a measly M80 000 for leasing the building. Only a moron agrees to pay M53 000 per day to rent his own building from a tenant he is charging M32 000 per month for the same property.

You need not be a business genius to see the inanity of that deal.
But this is not a mathematical issue. This is about corruption at its most disgusting level.
This is the stuff that makes you puke and soil your pants at the same time. Your bowls just let go as soon you hear the story.
John has pulled the middle finger on both the government and Basotho. He is peeing on their heads as they ululate. This BS has to stop at some point.
It is not funny anymore. John has been allowed to defecate in the village well for far too long.

But we must never be under any illusion that anyone in the government will stop this tosh. Nearly all politicians in this country, whether in government or opposition, are stuck in John’s pockets. Size Two had his daughter’s wedding funded by John. Yes, that idiom spewing former prime minister was not beyond freebies from dubious characters like John.
It is because of John’s money that DJ Waters had a memorable birthday.
Uncle Tom once stayed in John’s house for months. He later rewarded John with a plum position in his office.

Nearly every party that matters in Lesotho has received funding from John.
He has funded campaigns for both national and party office.
Many politicians, including those in the government and in parliament, have eaten free groceries from John’s Jackpot Supermarket. John has funded the STI treatments of dozens of politicians. They are all beholden to John. He is their master. The permanent prime minister. While politicians come and go, John remains in charge.

Any politician who claims to have never received a cent from John is a lying bastard.
The man himself has bragged of financing (read that as bribed) every politician in this country.
In his warped thinking the convention centre deal is nothing shocking because the politicians and government officials were just returning a favour.

That is why he has the nerve to sue the government for that outrageous rent. He has grabbed the politicians by the balls and they will move mountains to make sure that he is paid.

Nka! Ichuuuuuuuuuuu!

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