Just pay the bribe and shut up

Just pay the bribe and shut up

Heele! The news this week is that the Minister of Transport Tšoeu Mokeretla, came face to face with the rampant corruption in his ministry. And it wasn’t some senior trying to make millions from a tender deal but a front office chap telling the minister to pay him a few notes if he wanted some service.


The incident happened at the Hlotse Transport Department where the minister was seeking services while pretending to be a common Mosotho man of Hlotse.


Mokeretla immediately set the police on the official who is now at the risk of some small fine and losing his job. Muckraker was not impressed by the Minister’s exuberance. He immediately started screaming about the alleged discovery on radio stations, telling all who cared to listen that he had caught a government employee red-handed.

He should have paid the bribe and left like we all do.
But what irritated Muckraker more is that he was pretending to be shocked that some traffic department officials have the ‘C’ (for Corruption) mark branded on their foreheads.


Basotho have been talking about the rot for years. If Mokeretla didn’t know about the sleaze at the department, then it’s either he is hopelessly out of touch with reality or has just visited Lesotho from the moon.
It’s not the department official’s problem that Mokeretla doesn’t know how things work in his ministry.


In his defence, he can argue that he was just following the department’s protocol to be corrupt at all times.


His only mistake was to fail to recognise the minister. And that doesn’t require the involvement of the police to sort out. The chap can argue that he has poor eyesight and he wanted the bribe to buy spectacles. He is a victim of a government that pays its employees so little that they cannot afford to see opticians.


If his eyes are fine, he can also argue that he could not recognise Mokeretla because he cannot keep pace with Mr Softie’s never-ending cabinet reshuffles.


The minister is also overly sensitive. By refusing to pay the bribe, Mokeretla is asking for special treatment because he is a minister. He cannot be going around using his position to avoid paying bribes in his ministry.
He should pay bribes like everyone else.


In any case, there is no reason why the minister should be spanking a junior official for demanding a small bribe when the whole government is swimming in an ocean of corruption.


While Mokeretla was celebrating catching a small thief, his colleagues were busy stuffing their mouths and pockets with real money. They were probably laughing at him for being excitable.

Talk about chasing a rat when the house is burning.
Punishing petty thieves when the whole country is being looted.
Calm down and pay the bribe Ntate. We all do.

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