Muckraker: The education of Maliehe

Muckraker: The education of Maliehe

YOU cannot teach new tricks to an old dog.
So they say. And that is quite true especially for dogs.
But old people do learn new tricks. There are old people getting up to monkeyshines they never dabbled in their teens.
They learnt the trickeries when their heads were already awash with snowy hair.
At times it is small lessons like how to dance kwasa-kwasa or gwaragwara.

But there are times when the education just hit an old wrinkled face like a thunderbolt.
The recipient of that late but thundering lesson is Motlohi Maliehe, the former tourism minister, who was recently yanked out of office.
The lesson is that arrogance is not a political strategy. And even if it was, it’s not really a working strategy.
Watch now as Maliehe pounds the streets of Butha-Buthe, jobless.

But that is only lesson 101 of his course and it’s not that important because Maliehe is way past the ‘I beg to apply position’ age.
If he is broke he will just hobble along and hope he wins lotto before he kicks the bucket.
He probably has some savings stashed somewhere under his mattress.

The real education is on the intricate relationship between power and the bedroom.
You will be a daft one to pretend that Maliehe was fired for his crusade against corruption as he claims. This has nothing to do with sleaze or even the perceived power struggle in the ABC.
Nada! Nor is he a victim of some scheming cabal of young turkeys that want to wash the party of old horses.
Maliehe is jobless today because he walked into Uncle Tom bedroom and defecated in a corner.
The stink of his deposit is what angered Uncle Tom.

You may ask how he could have performed such a despicable act.
Well, he attacked ‘Maesaiah Thabane in broad daylight and then walked with his head held high when he should have been grovelling for clemency.
Power, as Maliehe learnt late, lies in the bedroom.

Here Muckraker means power in the broadest sense. The bedroom rules in churches, stokvels, burial societies, Tupperware projects or families.
If the madam doesn’t like you then you are history. If you disturb the boss’s madam you are history. Maliehe chose the wrong target for his political attack.
He could have attacked Uncle Tom himself, his uncles, sisters and grandparents.

He could have aimed his salvos at Uncle Tom’s goats, pigs and ducks. He could have peed on the ABC emblem and called the whole coalition government a bunch of thieving thugs.
Still Uncle Tom would have ignored him like a minor irritant.
The trouble is that he went for ‘Maesaiah, the apple of Uncle Tom’s eye.

Muckraker is yet to find an impressionable fellow to trick into a marriage but she is well versed with matters of the heart.
No one has ever won a war with the bedroom.

Men have thrown their mothers under trains to keep peace in their bedrooms. They have denied their children, the very one they sired in bedrooms, because of the bedroom.
Men have been estranged from their relatives because the bedroom politics dictate so. Muckraker is not suggesting that you should ingratiate yourself with the boss’s Mrs.
The idea is to keep your distance. Speak no ill about her.

Appreciate that she can end your career. Know that your future can be discussed and clobbered during pillow-talk.

Of course Basotho men will deny this because they like to portray that lousy macho persona in public. Nyoe, nyoe, nyoe, ’na ke monna. Nyoe, nyoe, nyoe ha ke laeloe ke mosali. Just shut up already.

We know how you mellow when your ears and other things are killed. Zip it because everyone knows that you are like a baby when little things are whispered to you. The only reason you have not robbed a bank for her is because you have neither the skill nor the imagination to pull off such a complicated scheme.
If you haven’t bought her a house or a car it’s because you are broke. The heart and the mind are willing but the pockets have holes.
So just cut the crap about being a tough guy immune to pillow talk.

As someone who had breathed his fair share of this earth’s air, Maliehe probably knew this already. He just needed to write a supplementary exam on the course.
Maybe it was a refresher course. Or one of those government workshops were civil servants pretend they are learning something new because the boss who is paying their per diems is watching them like a hawk.

Still it was important for him go through the process because it teaches the young ones a thing or two. It’s never a bad idea for old people to be guinea pigs so that the young can get an education.
His mistake was probably to overestimate his bond with Uncle Tom. You see, they have been comrades for decades. They were together in the nocturnal meetings that birthed the ABC. You could say they are brothers from different mothers.

“We are the last remaining stalwarts,” he likes to say when he hears the sound of ululations as he bludgeons the First Lady.
All that is true but it doesn’t conquer the bedroom. It is child’s play when it comes to matters of the heart. A man will abandon his friends and relatives for a woman.
It doesn’t take years like building a political party or the Lesotho Royal Palace.

The heart just has to tinkle and tickle before comrades are shoved under a bus.
To show that Maliehe is probably green behind the ears about these matters you just have to hear him whining about Uncle Tom not answering or returning his calls.
He obviously doesn’t know that if the First Lady is in charge of what Uncle Tom can wear it means she can also control whose calls he answers.
Uncle Tom is no longer the sneaky type. He is not going to sprint to the bathrooms to answer his phone.

The phone sits there on the table where everyone can see. And when it rings it announces to everyone that Maliehe is calling. Then ‘Maesaiah can simply tell him not to answer by giving him that look. The look that says “don’t answer that fool”.
The eye that says “pick that phone and you sleep in the spare bedroom tonight”.

All men know that look. Maliehe was naïve to think Uncle Tom would behave otherwise. The education of Maliehe is complete.

Muckraker thought she knew English until she stumbled upon the word ‘Golpista’. What made it stand out was where it was used.
It was in a lawsuit Thuso Litjobo has filed against Bokang Ramatsella for defamation.

It’s an irony of breath-taking proportions that a garrulous man is suing another garrulous man for slander.
Litjobo is seeking M6 million in damages from Ramatsella. That’s like demanding M6 million from Wasco or the Lesotho Bus and Freight Company, both known for being broke rather than their core business.

Litjobo accuses Ramatsella of calling him a reckless rascal who takes pleasure in toppling governments. That alone would have sufficed but Litjobo’s lawyer, KD Mabudu, went for the biggest Thesaurus.

There he pulled out the word “golpista” which simply means ‘a leader of a coup’.
Now, KD could have simply said Litjobo is unhappy with Ramatsella for calling him a Lekhanya but he went for ‘golpista’ instead.
The word can also mean swindler, scammer or fraudster.

But in this case KD had a ‘coup leader’ in mind when he reached for that word.
Let the education begin. Golpismo is the doctrine that advocates taking power through coups. Golpisti is the plural for golpista. If the coup leaders are two or more women they are called golpiste. Smarter now? You are welcome!

Now imagine this word being explained to Litjobo. The instructive word here is ‘imagine’. Muckraker wouldn’t want to be the teacher. She can only hope that those who undertake this endavour have the spine for it.

It might be six months before an attentive Litjobo finally nods his head and says: “O, kea bona!”. Hana u itse goalpost kapa goalpoint?
Still that is not the point Muckraker is labouring to make. The crux of the matter is that KD Mabudu is the one who should be sued for alleging that Litjobo could have found the word ‘golpista’ in his head.

In what corner of Litjobo’s head did ‘golpista’ reside? Which street of the mind? Which donga, KD Mabudu?
Litjobo must sue his lawyer for accrediting him with the sophistication he doesn’t have. The enemy is within earshot comrade Litjobo.

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