MUCKRAKER knew it was only a matter of time before someone screamed about something in Uncle Sam’s speech.
They are now clutching on point 17 of Uncle Sam’s inauguration speech where he said the government will “establish and publicise a corruption, theft and embezzlement amnesty programme in 30 days”.
The opposition is shouting and screaming, accusing the new government of plotting to forgive thieves.
The hypocrisy of it is astounding and the holier-than-thou attitude disgusting.
The same people now shedding crimson tears over the proposed amnesty were folding their arms while government money was looted hand over fist.
We are told that the previous government could not account for M6.1 billion.
Muckraker doesn’t believe all that money was stolen but there is no doubt that substantial amounts grew legs and marched out of the government’s bank account.
While that was happening the government, which is now the opposition, never raised alarm. Only the unlucky small crooks were arrested by the toothless bulldog called the DCEO.
They were probably nabbed because they were now competing with the big boys to steal from the government.
The rule is simple: civil servants should not steal too much because ministers and politicians hate competition.
Even former ministers who didn’t say a word to condemn endemic corruption in the government are now complaining about an amnesty whose modalities are yet to be announced.
Muckraker abhors corruption but is pragmatic. We have failed to catch and prosecute thieves in this country. Those caught have either been acquitted after the prosecution slept on the job or got away with trivial sentences.
It’s either we are unable to catch thieves or we don’t want to. Effect amount to the same. Over the past decade, there has not been any major prosecution for corruption. Nothing! Nada!
Dozens of cases have ended in embarrassing failure for the prosecution. Thieves have been laughing as they enjoy their loot.
Nothing deters other thieves from dipping their hands in the cookie jar. There is therefore nothing wrong with the carrot-and-stick approach Uncle Sam is planning.
If anything, it might help the country recover a few millions.
Nothing stops the government from vigorously pursuing those who think are too clever and hold on to their loot.
Other countries like Tanzania have offered the same amnesty to thieves and recovered millions. Revenue authorities, including our very own, use it for tax dodgers. The outrage over the suggested amnesty is therefore overdone.
So just cut the crap and wait to see if anyone will take up the amnesty offer before running your mouth. You were in government a few weeks ago. You were wining and dining with the same thieves. Drink some water and calm down.
Meet the new zealots
Someone should tell Uncle Sam and those around him that there is no political mileage to be gained from having an expensive car with South African number plates in his motorcade. And it doesn’t matter whether that car belongs to him or one of his companies.
The optics are just horribly wrong, especially when he is selling himself as a man of the people. Having fought for public office, Uncle Sam should stop behaving like a private businessman. Those around him should whisper to him that opulence is wrong for political leaders even if they are not using state resources.
Just like gluttony is considered wrong even if you are eating your own food.
Zealots defending that public relations boob know zilch about the power of perception in politics. It’s not about him having the cars and using them to save the government money. It’s about a prime minister of a poor country being seen perambulating the streets of Maseru in a very expensive car in a land teeming with poverty.
It’s about him being chauffeured in a car with foreign number plates. And yes number plates matter because he is not the prime minister of South Africa. It’s not like there is a shortage of number plates in Lesotho.
He can use any number plate as long as it is not foreign. Being driven in a foreign registered car is similar to him being seen in a Bafana-Bafana or Springbok jersey.
RFP zealots, both the originals and the Johnny-come-lately now screaming louder than the originals, should know that not everything has to be defended.
While they were bellowing to defend the public relations disaster, those around Uncle Sam were scrambling to deal with the shame. They understood the implications and how it would look to the public.
But the RFP’s unsophisticated blabbermouths on social media were adamant that there was nothing wrong. It will be years before they understand that their party gets more credibility by simply admitting mistakes and rectifying them.
Nothing is to be gained from playing the nauseating holier-than-thou game on social media. Some of them insist on behaving as if their party is still in the opposition.
They haven’t woken up to the reality that the standards by which their party, and the government by extension, is judged have dramatically changed. It’s time to govern, not scream on social media. Grow up!
Some excitable busybodies seem to have made it their vocation to pelt stones at anyone who criticises the government. You hear it from their whataboutism pervading social media. Muckraker has news for them.
This government is not their aunt’s. It belongs to all Basotho and every one of them has a right to criticise it.
That includes those wretched thieves in the previous ruling parties. Their criticism doesn’t have to be reasonable or justified. Uncle Sam is not the prime minister of the RFP but of the whole Kingdom.
Those who don’t want to hear him criticised should stuff their ears with manure because it’s about to get worse. Emotional charlatans should just get used to that reality.
Whoever told our police and the army that Basotho are thrilled with them running in our streets in the morning will not enter heaven.
Muckraker has had it to the back teeth with those morning jogs that block the traffic at the busiest hours.
There is always some zealous chap in front of the mob, barking orders at drivers to stop or use another lane.
His troopers will be trotting while belting out some Acappella discord that hurt our ears.
There is nothing impressive or entertaining about a group of men and women with chiskops running and singing in the streets.
It’s not a competitive marathon so nothing is interesting about it. It’s neither fun nor funny.
Just a bunch of men and women causing a pointless jam on our roads and causing noise pollution.
If they are not disrupting traffic they are waking the whole villages with their songs. Their hoooooo, hahahahahah, heheheheheh and hihihihihihi starts just after 6am.
Why a simple morning jog has to be accompanied by some shrieking, Muckraker will never understand. Suffice it to say they are irritating even to the most tolerant.
They should run silently at 3am instead of harassing our ears at 8am.
Maybe that will scare wretched thieves breaking into our houses while the police and the army snore. Or better still, they should just find some spots in the mountains for their morning exercises.
If they are as fit as they want us to believe they should be running up mountains, not the Mpilo Boulevard. They should be jumping over real boulders, not street pavements.
As for the police, those morning jogs don’t seem to be helping in their fight against the rampant crime in the country.
When was the last time you saw a police officer chasing a thief in Maseru?
In any case, today’s policing is not about chasing thieves but investigative skills, profiling, intelligence and surveillance. Muckraker is not saying officers should not be fit.
It’s just that the only time we see that the officers are fit is when they are torturing suspects to extract confessions or when they spend hours stretching their hands to collect bribes from drivers.
Ts’olo’s phuza face
The lesson from the Frazer Solar saga is that a country should never appoint empty heads to strategic positions.
Lesotho is being chased around the globe over a fictitious debt invited by Tšolo, a man who should never have been allowed anywhere near the cabinet.
We could have appointed a donkey to the cabinet because it doesn’t sign random contracts. A donkey would never write letters committing the government to dubious deals.
And even if it signs something with its hoof it would never come up with the same inane denials that Tšolo tried to sell us when confronted with a contract bearing his signature.
He said his signature was forged by the same man whose project he was touting in the cabinet and working overtime to secretly approve.
His other explanation is that he could not have signed the contract because he knows the procurement regulations.
Phew! He discovered those procurement regulations after negotiating with Frazer Solar and signing the contract on the government’s behalf. The other lesson from the scandal is that history repeats itself.
It reminds Muckraker of the time the white-man came to Africa, saw vast land he thought was unoccupied and seized it. They said they discovered Kome Caves and Malentsunyane Falls.
They thought they were coming into a country of primitive fools dressed in animal skins and fighting with spears.
That is what the Frazer Solar officials felt when they arrived in Maseru and met Tšolo. There he was, bumbling through Uncle Tom’s cabinet with a quart of Maluti hidden in his oversized jacket.
He would sip the beer from under the table and pretend to be paying attention.
The Frazer Solar officials instantly knew they had stumbled upon their village bumpkin (not pumpkin). He was exactly what they wanted. A man who could be pampered with beer and food until he sold his country.
After a few beers, Tšolo was saying: “Where do I sign? My hands are itching to sign something. Ha ke batle ho bora moreki!” He was saying this with his phuza face.
You could see from his letters to the company that he was now their man. Well pocketed. In one letter he almost shed tears as he explained how a contract that would transform lives in Lesotho had been delayed.
He was waxing lyrical about the project despite that the project had no feasibility study or financial projections. He doesn’t even know what an LED light is. He thinks solar power comes from ancestors.
This was just an excitable African swallowing nonsense fed to him by his handlers. They gave their slow African a contract and he signed. Period!
And they will never call him as a witness in their court cases because they know there is a vacuum between his ears. He might tell the court that he signed the contract after three bottles of Vodka.
“Me no sign konterake. Ke monna ea bitsoang Vodka”.
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