Someone pinch Uncle Tom

Someone pinch Uncle Tom

MUCKRAKER almost toppled off her stool when she heard Uncle Tom accusing Professor Mahao of being too ambitious.
That’s the most ridiculous label a politician can slap on the other.

That this was coming from a man who hobnobbed with political administrations of all manner makes the irony extra thick.
Uncle Tom has been in almost every type of government Lesotho has had since independence: dictatorship madness, military junta poison, transitional administration and congress tosh.
In desperate times he even married some congress party leper called the LCD.

This was only six years after his acrimonious exit from the party he said had lost its way and was corrupt.
Today he sits in government with Mokola, the man he once vapidly despised and even accused of instigating his exit from the LCD.
Uncle Tom has been in government for more than half a century. This is a man who recently celebrated his 80th birthday but said he still wants to rule.
He said: “I know how to campaign, and I can win elections. I am not tired yet. I will say when I am tired; I will retire and go to my home in Ha Abia and enjoy my pension. I have a young wife, what more can a man ask for?”

So there you have it: Uncle Tom is still raring to go even at 80 yet he has the nerve to accuse a much younger chap of being too ambitious.
According to Uncle Tom a 50-something who wants to be a deputy leader of a party is more ambitious than an 80-year-old who has been in government for 50 years but still insists on staying on. You have to admire the old man’s ability to conveniently ignore the meaning of hypocrisy.
Even if you ignore his political career, there is ample evidence that Uncle Tom is an extremely ambitious man.
For proof of this look no further than the Feslady. Let’s break it down.

The tradition has always been that you marry within your age group. A man can marry someone five years younger. That’s fine. He can also marry someone two or three years older than him.
That’s close enough.
But when the age difference is more than five tongues start to wag.
Uncle Tom pulled a middle finger on that tradition to marry someone nearly 40 years younger.
Now that’s what being “too ambitious” looks like.

No one is saying Uncle Tom should have married someone close to his age. That’s not our business.
We know there are some stunning 70-year-old ladies out there.
Perhaps he could have gone for 60-something yellow bone.
Maybe a 50-something stunner would have fit the bill.
There are ravishingly beautiful 40-something women out there.
Yet all these are just moot suggestions because Uncle Tom got himself a 30-something fine-looking woman. Uncle Tom didn’t want the wrinkled type in his age bracket.
He refused to allow age to restrict his choice of a partner. He broke the shackles of tradition.
That’s what ambition is all about: refusing to be confined.

Muckraker has never thrived on rubbing it in when her wise words come to pass. Yet there are times when the temptation is seductive.
Take for instance, Tefo Mapesela’s abrupt sacking as acting police minister last week. It happened a few hours after Muckraker warned the garrulous minister of the ominous danger of cutting the circuit between his brain and mouth.
She was clear that when the dung hits the fan a cunning Uncle Tom would shove the minister under a bus and whistle as he strolls away.
The echo to that counsel had barely sounded when Uncle Tom clobbered Mapesela in the most spectacular fashion. One moment Mapesela was haranguing police bosses in a tense meeting and the next he was being handed a phone.

The name “Feslady” was blinking on the phone but a cheeky Uncle Tom’s voice screamed into Mapesela’s ear.
The mighty was being trimmed to midget size.
Uncle Tom told the stunned Mapesela that he should immediately stop the meeting because, as of that moment, he had been fired as Acting Police Minister.
Those in the meeting have whispered to Muckraker that Mapesela shrunk as he squirmed from Uncle Tom’s tongue lashing.
They say instead of announcing that he had just received his frog-marching orders Mapesela asked for directions to the nearest bathroom.
Then with his face in his hands he staggered out of the meeting. Of course the police bosses knew the minister needed time to grieve.
Here was a man who had just tumbled off a high horse and landed on his face.

It was possible that the man’s bowls could have been shaken after Uncle Tom screamed into his ear.
And so they watched as the minister trotted to the bathroom where he allegedly remained for minutes. When he eventually returned Mapesela looked like a man caught who had been caught with his hands deep in the cookie jar.

His threats to fire some officers had just evaporated like a fart.
Power, especially the borrowed type, is fickle.
He who appoints can ‘disappoint’.

The mistake of the Mapeselas of this world is to pretend to know where power resides. They think just because they have been allowed to carry a tiny packet of power means they own it.
It is this naivety that explains their gull to run their mouths when allotted little power.
In politics you are only as useful as the one holding power says you are.
You are only useful when he who owns the power thinks you are usable.

The powerful only rent out morsels of their power to others so that they can do their bidding.
Most politicians forget that the lease to that power can be cancelled at the whim of the owner.
They brandish it as if it’s their own.

Mapesela will soon know that being in close proximity is not the same as ownership.
Borrowed power can keep you warm but can also scotch you.
You would think Mapesela would zip it after his wings were clipped but he is not that type.
Instead of hiding somewhere to recuperate Mapesela was soon lashing out at the Feslady, telling her to stay in her land.
That sounds brave until you realise that this was a powerless man being reckless for nothing.
He might soon be pounding the streets, jobless.
Watch the space.

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