Our amateur spies

Our amateur spies

THE trouble with this country is that it is teeming with amateurs. Wherever you look there is some novice pretending to be the real deal. A Mickey Mouse police officer thinks he is a detective.
Judges, who elsewhere in the world would be court messengers, want to be referred to as ‘Your Lordship’.
Did you know that most Standard Seven teachers in Lesotho would dismally fail a Standard Seven examination?
Soldiers who have never been to a battlefield or even a peacekeeping mission brandish guns as if they are going to war.
In 1998 most of them were hiding in holes, ceilings (like rats) and mountains when the South African army invaded Lesotho.
A few days earlier they were testing their mediocre shooting skills on innocent and unarmed people.
Holy crap! Some principal secretaries are just jumped up political functionaries who should not manage even a queue to a VIP toilet. Most ministers cannot spell their names under pressure.
The average employee is functionally illiterate. Going and coming are the same to them.
Let’s not forget the proud bunch from the so-called private sector. They speak as if the private sector is synonymous with competence. Yet their companies remain pathetic spaza shops scrounging from one day to the next with zero growth prospects.

They speak as if corruption is a monopoly of the government yet their companies are furiously rigging tenders and cutting corners. Watching their haughty lips dancing you would swear that there is a booming private sector in this country. Most businesses have no life away from the government’s emaciated breast.
It’s all a mirage concocted by those desperate for the world to believe they are a special breed.
Your fingers and toes are enough to count the number of proper private companies in this country. The rest are just fly-by-night hustling gigs with smiling receptionists. Get out of here!
Then there is the so-called NGO sector, if at all it’s a ‘sector’. The people there behave as if they are some headmaster of a rural school full of unqualified teachers.
They are lecturing everyone about competence, transparency and integrity while their own organisations stink. They talk about independence while passionately pandering to the whims of their funders. Pretending to be neutral when they are vigorously playing both sides of the table. Double agents!
Then we have the small group of expatriates who won’t shut up about the virtues of their countries. You would think they have just landed from some heaven.
We should never forget our African brothers who speak so glowingly about their countries, the very ones they left. Nyoe, nyoe, nyoe in my country we do it like this. Nyoe, nyoe, nyoe Basotho are this and that and this.
Muckraker always cuts such numbingly boring conversations with one question: “So why the hell are you here?” The blank faces that follow are priceless. You will hear some silly story about “opportunities” and “skills”. It’s all tosh.

We also have people with a nauseating habit of starting every statement with a reference to their profession. “As an accountant blah, blah and blah.” No one cares until you have invented your own accounting system. Remove your lazy fingers from Pastel.
“As an engineer nyoe, nyoe and nyoe”. Just zip it until you have invented something useful.
All winter you were basking in the warmth of a heater imported from China. A heater, by the way, is a simple circuit.
“As a psychologist blah, blah and blah”. Tell us what psychological condition makes the Feselady behave the way she does before you gloat about your qualification.
“As a statistician nyoe, nyoe and nyoe”. Yet you cannot even count the goats in your village.
“As an ICT expert, blah, blah and blah”. Thola Morena! We are still waiting for your own version of Microsoft. Until then you should keep your rants away from Facebook, a company started by a 20-year-old in his college dormitory when you were already hammering the daylights out of keyboards in some corner office.
Facebook is now worth nearly a trillion United States dollars while you haven’t moved, will not move and can’t move.
Yet you still walk around with a spring in your step, installing antivirus software on computers and troubleshooting mundane glitches. We didn’t send you to school to install Windows 98.

Where is Muckraker taking you with this? Well, she is on a journey to the shabby building next Victoria Hotel (is that even a hotel?).
There you will find the National Security Service (NSS), the home of probably the most overrated charlatans in Lesotho.
This week these pathetic imitators of James Bond 007 were picketing at their offices, bellowing about salaries. A day earlier, one fellow was waffling on a local radio station.
A microphone thrust in his face, he forgot he is talking about national security. By the time he finished emitting his drivel the poor microphone was damp with his spit.
The presenter should have just shoved the microphone down that throat to shut him up.
The garrulous chap was busy undermining our national security in the name of labour activism.
Then the next day the goons went out in full force to advertise their disgust at the government.
They were telling everyone who cared to listen that they are spies, busy peeing on the very idea that theirs is supposed to be a highly secretive job.
In other countries spies are dead scared of being exposed but at NSS they take pride in exposing themselves without provocation. There they were toyi-toying like villagers. Screaming like those Biblical pigs.
You have to admire their naivety.

Yet we should not be shocked by such clumsy antics. Our NSS agents have never been known for being discreet. You see them at press conferences. They are the sullen guys who sit in the corners and never ask questions.
Their dressing sells them out: Long ties and oversize jackets.
The idea that a skilled spy must blend with the crowd is foreign to them.
Start a conversation with them and they will quickly tell you they are from the NSS.
Surprisingly, these are the people we expect to protect the country from its enemies.
Fellows with no regard for the sensitive nature of their assignments.
Overrated Form E chaps with no special skill apart from scribbling notes.
There is no point in being a spy known to be spying.

Muckraker has had the misfortune of sitting next to some of them at press conferences.
Most lack the basic listening skills.
“What did he say?”
They would ask as they spit into your ears until there is a little Maqalika Dam.
“What is the name of the lady speaking?” “What is her title?”
Someone call Masanta for prayers.

Muckraker hears that Tefo Mapesela is furious about her article last week. He is so angry he will not speak to thepost again. Calm down my crush!
Muckraker has a short message for the hunky minister.
Phephi moratuoa oa ka. Ke u rata tota! Tloho ke u tšoare ka litsebe, ke u sune. I want to kiss those chubby cheeks. ’Metee!
On that note Muckraker implores Mapesela to join her in that beautiful chorus from Steve Kekana’s hit song: “Banana ba ntšoara-tšoara, banana ba ntšuna-tšuna, ho le monate koana ha Sekekete!”
Eish, those were days in Maputsoe. Anyone who doesn’t know that song is boring.
As uninteresting and uninspiring as the new State House.
It lacks character and it’s too massive for nothing. Class and taste cannot be donated.

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