Muckraker: Manamolela’s roasting

Muckraker: Manamolela’s roasting

ANYONE who has had a cursory interaction with Lehlohonolo Manamolela, the Wasco boss, will tell you he is a hefty and loud man.
He is just like that: a man of imposing frame and a loud mouth. Nothing wrong with that. In a country teeming with venerate gossips feigning politeness and decorum we probably need more of Manamolela’s ilk. This will be a better place if we are all as frank and a tad crude. Frank talk, as they say, doesn’t break friendship. It was with that appreciation of Manamolela’s character that Muckraker rubbed her hands in glee at the prospect of him facing the Public Accounts Committee (PAC).

That committee, as many might know, is the new bulldog in town.
Haughty public servants have been reduced to despair in those hearings. Some have shed a tear or two as the MPs roasted them.
Who remembers the official from the Master of High Court who was cut to size minutes after playing on Facebook? Yeh, that one was so badly toasted that he bolted out of Facebook faster that he could say “PAC”.

Now Muckraker sees him dragging his sorry self in town, head hung on shoulders. The PAC spanked him so hard that he lost his self-esteem. What remains is a shameful face with the word ‘loser’ tattooed on the forehead. Worry note about his name for he is not hard to pick from a crowd. In any case, there is no point in rubbing pepper on his gapping wounds.

Such is the power of the PAC. It trims your wings fast and you fall with a thud so loud that even your friends will not help but chuckle.
Still Muckraker thought such a fate would not befall Manamolela. Here was a man with the hide of an elephant and a shell of a tortoise.
Here was a man who is not moved by barking dogs because he rides his chariot with verve and class. Muckraker will tell you now that she regrets holding Manamolela in such high regards. It took just a few minutes to defang Manamolela. The aura he exudes drained out of him.

Just the mention of some tender he is alleged to have awarded to a dubious Chinese company was enough to send the man tumbling off his high horse. From there on it was open season as Manamolela rolled on the questions instead of answering them. Blah, blah, blah, blah and blah.
It was such a pathetic sight watching a whole man stuttering and stammering.

At that moment the man could not even spell his name under pressure. Even if one of the MPs had asked his name Manamolela would have struggled to remember it. “Hana lebitso la ka ke mang? Eka re Sono kapa Mojakisane? Oho! Balimo, ke lahlehetsoe ke mehopolo! Eish, I will need to verify those details with my accounts department.”

“You want to verify your name with your accounts department?” an MP would have asked. “Yes sir, a lot has changed since I got the name. Maybe my chief can help with that question. Ha e lale, makoala re none,” Manamolela would have said.

You may laugh until your voice is husky but the reality is that this was a man squirming under pressure. You don’t know how merciless the PAC is until those MPs are starring you in the eye and mining answers out of you with a jackhammer.
Many have left those hearings with suicidal thoughts. Others have lost their marbles while some have just laid there, buttocks naked, as the MPs took turns to unleash their sjamboks.

The lady from the Lesotho College of Education pleaded for time. She said she needs until June to get her story straight. The PAC will be waiting for her in that winter month. The officials from the Ministry of Local Government found themselves being grabbed by police officers after they allegedly tried to pull a fast one on the MPs.

Yet Muckraker never thought the mighty Manamolela would crumble so fast and in such spectacular fashion. Clearly his lieutenant at Wasco had shoved him into a lion’s den with just a pocket knife in hand.
The MPs had thoroughly researched the issues while Manamolela thought he could just bamboozle them with some jargon. They knew more than he knew.
The more he tried to explain himself the more ridiculous he looked.
Muckraker knows that Manamolela likes his whiskey. He probably drank it even when the people were screaming about the worms in their water.
He probably had some whiskey the day of his famous shouting match with that overrated and garrulous radio presenter who was eventually rewarded with an undeserved diplomatic post.

But even if Manamolela had drunk all the whiskey bottles from Franks’ Offsales, Browns Liquor and Twisters there was no way he was going to forget the torrid time he had in that hearing.  No amount of liquor would suppress that kind of misery. He just shrank in the chair as the MPs tossed him around like a hot lekoenya (interestingly he is rumoured to have an appetite for those flour balls).

After hours of turning him on the grill the MPs promised another session this week. That encore was supposed to happen on Wednesday but someone threw spanners in the works. Minutes before the hearing was cancelled Muckraker had seen Manamolela and his team sweating outside parliament.
Manamolela was holding his tummy saying something about the wall around the parliament was blocking his way to the bushes.
But before we celebrate Manamolela’s troubles we should remember that he is neither the first nor the last to be hauled to the ambers. As Muckraker writes this there are many civil servants concocting excuses to avoid the hearings.
They are having nightmares.

Some have taken long leaves while others are consulting sangomas and prophets on ways to wriggle out of the hearings. There is a ritual galore in the villages as senior civil servants try to appease their ancestors so they can watch over them when they appear before the PAC. Goats and sheep are in trouble these days.

The PAC has come in handy in marriages too. The other day Muckraker overheard a wife and a husband argue at the mall.
The husband was winning the argument until the wife said: “Shut up or I call Mochoboroane on you.”
The husband, an accountant at one of the ministries, quickly went on voicemail.

Yet the PAC’s new found oomph should be seen in the proper context. The committee is seen as the new sheriff in town because the real sheriffs are just silly excuses of sheriffs. The police are too busy breaking bones and cracking skulls to deal with the rampant corruption and fraud in the government. Fraud and corruption are sophisticated crimes. Our police have more muscle than acumen.
Don’t you dare mention the DCEO because that one is just a hopeless fart.

The only time they are in the news is when they are singing the same old song about lack of resources to investigate cases. And when they do get the money they are globetrotting, chasing cases they never prosecute. Remember the hot air about Nikuv? Khetsi is having the last laugh.
They are busy chasing the wind. Muckraker cannot wait for the day the PAC calls them for a hearing. Mmmmmm! Phew! They better call Manamolela for tips.  By the way, the PAC presents a business opportunity for innovative young people. How about a business of training civil servants on how to deal with the PAC?

What about therapy of the post-PAC-depression.

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