Muckraker :Madman on dagga

Muckraker :Madman on dagga

EVERY morning, for the past three years, Muckraker has been dropping coins into the palms of a mentally ill man who stands at the last traffic lights to the Maseru Border Bridge. It’s a routine Muckraker has never missed unless she is dead broke. Muckraker has a strong bond with the poor man. There is a silent understanding between us even though we don’t know each other by name.
A smile always beams from his face each time he sees Muckraker’s jalopy. Muckraker is his sister and he is Muckraker’s brother. The sister who always leaves something for fat cakes. That’s just how we roll.

But some three weeks ago the relationship took an about-turn. The brother started giving the sister a cold shoulder. When Muckraker tries to give him coins the man would move on to the next car. Then things got worse last Friday. As Muckraker approached the traffic lights the man started running away.

And so for the whole of Saturday Muckraker wondered what wrong she had done to the man. It was so unlike him to refuse money, no matter how small. The answer to that question came on Sunday afternoon while Muckraker was cleaning her car. There they were, the Botswana coins she amassed on a recent visit to Gaborone, overflowing in the cap hole.

Unbeknown to her Muckraker had been dipping her fingers into that cap hole to get some coins for her brother at the traffic light.
So with time the brother had realised that those coins were useless in Lesotho and therefore there was no reason to receive them.
First he tried to ignore Muckraker, hoping she would realise that her donations were useless. When that failed he began to frown.
Still Muckraker did not get the message until last Friday when he decided enough was enough. He simply bolted away from the car.

Where are we going with this tale, you may ask. Well, it turns out that our politicians could learn a lot from the brother at the traffic light.
Unlike our politicians he has learnt the futility of doing things that don’t work. It took him a few days to realise that Muckraker was giving her coins no shop in Maseru was willing to accept. He understood that there was no point in loading his pockets with Pula coins that only work some 600 km away.

He might not know that they are coins from Botswana but he sure knows that he has no use for them. Our politicians are yet to understand this simple logic of life: If it doesn’t work stop it and move on to something that might work.
We live in a country that has been thrust on a dizzying merry-go-round. Things look like they are changing but the reality is that they remain the same.

Muckraker recalled the story of the brother at the traffic light when she read Mothetjoa Metsing’s letter to the government secretary. It was actually a response to Uncle Tom. In it Metsing bitterly complained about the way Uncle Tom’s government has treated him since it came to power.
What triggered the letter was the government’s nerve to ask him to return home from exile and participate in the reforms dialogue.
The pith of his letter was that he will not return until SADC guarantees his security. In making this declaration Metsing was also speaking for Mokhothu and Mokhosi who have also fled the country.

Now, here is the real curious aspect of that letter. Uncle Tom could have written the same letter to Size Two and Metsing some eight months ago.
Metsing’s concerns are exactly the same as the ones Uncle Tom, Brother Maseribane and Aunty Keke raised to Size Two and Metsing when they were in exile. In fact there is no evidence to suggest that Size Two did not receive a similar letter from Uncle Tom back then.
It could as well be that Metsing just took Uncle Tom’s letter, changed a few things and plonked his name at the end of it. There is no compelling evidence to dispute that Metsing plagiarised Uncle Tom’s letter.

The similarities are striking. Uncle Tom used to speak on behalf of his comrades in exile just like Metsing is doing now. Uncle Tom said the same when he was invited to the reform dialogue organised by the government.
Metsing is asking for SADC guarantees just like Uncle Tom did back then. Uncle Tom used to say he doesn’t trust the government’s sincerity in inviting him back into the country. Metsing is singing the same tune.

This boils down to the fact that our politicians never learn from either history or their experiences.
Metsing does not see the irony in complaining about his plight because he has somehow forgotten that not so long ago he was getting similar complaints from Uncle Tom.

He doesn’t see the hypocrisy in demanding SADC guarantees when not so long ago he was flagrantly dismissing Uncle Tom’s demands for the same.
Phew! In the same vein Uncle Tom doesn’t see the irony in receiving a letter from Metsing complaining about the same treatment he was moaning about a few months ago.

He is not perturbed that Metsing is in exactly the same situation he was in a few months back. It doesn’t prick his conscience that Metsing is now clamouring for the same guarantees he refused to give him when he was in Fickburg. It needs no neurologist to know that the reforms dialogue is now being stalled for the same reason it was stalled under the previous government. Metsing is now holding Uncle Tom’s government by the balls because he knows the reforms will haemorrhage credibility if the opposition leaders are not there.

Uncle Tom used the same trick a few months ago. The point here is that our politicians are doing the same thing over and over again but are hoping to get a different result.  The losers are the people who have suffered too long under regimes that insist on repeating the mistakes of the past one.
We writhe because we have politicians who don’t see beyond their noses. It is inconceivable that Metsing did not know that he was going to suffer the same fate when he was arrogantly dismissing Uncle Tome’ security concerns. Similarly, is it implausible that Uncle Tom has not learnt from experience that life is like a wheel. Read your history again: nothing that has happened in this country is new. It’s the same old tosh.

So here we are in a gridlock again. Unable to move beyond the political ping-pong we resort to a mixture of demands and insolence. Metsing is not going to come because coming back weakens his hand.  The reforms are an unnecessary irritant that seeks to undo the system that has benefitted him. Uncle Tom is not going to bend to Metsing’s whims because doing so will portray him as a congress-kisser desperate for unnecessary reforms.
There are hawks telling him that Metsing must suffer for making him suffer. Its tit-for-tat, the game played in the kindergarten playground. Like the pap at Peka High School, you eat what you get. Work done equals zero.

Madness is when a whole parliament fumes to block Zodwa from coming to show off her thighs while citizens take more than ten hours to cross the border. State-sponsored blockade is happening on the South African side of the Maseru Bridge Border but our good-for-nothing MPs keep discussing mundane issues like Zodwa.

It boggles the mind why Speaker Motanyane would allow parliament to be reduced to a crèche under his watch. He has allowed the MPs to wallow in the gutter for too long. There is unconfirmed speculation that he has joined them in the mulch.  The gobbledegook that has dominated those sessions is astounding.

Motanyane should have lost his temper at such tomfoolery. But week after week he sits on that exaggerated chair as if he is marvelling at what a sick joke the sessions have become. “Order, order, order,” he shrieks in his piercing voice while the MPs threaten to rearrange each other’s faces.
Debate on important issues has been shoved aside to make way for utter nonsense.  One of those issues they should be discussing is how South Africa has placed an unofficial blockade on our main borders. We are now marooned in a little kingdom because South Africa just feels like doing it.

Muckraker is stunned that our politicians are on voicemail over the insanity happening at the border.  It takes hours to cross the border and more hours to come back. South Africans have decided they don’t want us in their country and they don’t want us to leave their country once we enter it.

The overrated clerks they call immigration officers behave as if they are doing Basotho huge favours by stamping their passports.
Yet South Africa should not be the target of our anger. It does what it wants with its borders. The people we should blame are the politicians who refuse to do anything about the problem.  Until they get off their bums and stand up to Zuma and his people we are screwed.

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