HOORAY! A new party is about to crash-land into Lesotho’s political jungle.
The Socialist Revolutionary Party will be launched in December at what Muckraker hears will be massive shindig well-oiled with gobbledegook, false promises and the merry waters.
Thunder and fury is what has been promised. Political opponents should quake in their boots, says those desperate to believe the party is not a sick joke.
“This thing is very big,” said one excitable fellow renowned for being a political harlot. Socialist Revolutionary’s father, mother, funder, uncle, grandfather, leader, grandmother and aunty is none other than Teboho ‘JP’ Mojapela. Predictably, he is promising wondrous wonders.
To avoid doubt Muckraker declares that she doesn’t know what JP means. It could be a shorter version for Mojapela. It might as well stand for Just Pompous, Just Pranks, Junk Pump, Just Promises or Jerk Politics.
How he got his nickname is not our business for now.
What should concern us is that JP is not joking about the Socialist Revolutionary. He says he wants to end corruption, revive our sick economy and take Basotho to the Promised Land. Muckraker is sure we have heard that mantra before.
JP too might be aware that he is clutching a hymn book loaded with songs we know by heart. What JP, who is described as a multimillionaire, does not notice is the blanket of irony covering his party.
That is perhaps because he is too rich to be bothered by matters of conscience. It is both scandalous and hilarious for a millionaire who owns a fleet of cars and a mansion to call his party Socialist Revolutionary.
Socialism, as we know it in its unadulterated form, is about sharing and caring for one another. Real socialists frown upon opulent and vulgar riches, especially when amassed in a sea of abject poverty like Lesotho.
Socialism, by the way, simply says the means of production, distribution and exchange should be owned or controlled by the community. The cardinal rule is ‘thou shall not load your tummy when your neighbours are starving’.
In other words gluttony is a deplorable sin according to socialism. Let it be known too that gluttony is also abhorred in the Big Book. Remember this verse from Proverbs: “Put a knife to your throat if you are given to gluttony.”
Gluttony here means greed and overeating. Remember that the next time you are tempted to keep loading your belly with pap until it is as full as a chicken bus to Thaba-Tseka.
Incidentally, the people of Thaba-Tseka have learned the hard way not to fill their tummies before they get on a chicken bus. They have learned that as the altitude changes and the road starts meandering through the mountains their stomachs become so upset that they start expelling the ‘good’ food they would have gobbled in Maseru. The lesson is clear: buy in Maseru and eat with others in Thaba-Tseka.
Muckraker digressed. Today we are roasting JP like the maize cob local vendors always claim comes from Durban.
By admitting that he is filthy rich JP is accepting that he is a beneficiary of capitalism, a system he now says he wants to crush with a socialist hammer.
Of course that revolution does not include him sharing his wealth with the poor people on whose broken backs he wants to saddle on his journey to State House. JP is the epitome of capitalism.
That is why Muckraker did not know whether to laugh, curse or cry after reading JP’s interview with a local newspaper (kudos to the journalist sister for getting the man to parade his hypocrisy).
Even as he was talking about his socialist vision for this country JP’s privileged bum was being massaged by a designer couch probably more expensive than a modest house in Thamae.
In another picture accompanying the story JP is leaning on what looks like an expensive car.
In his right hand, decorated by a grandiose watch, is a bottle of spring water.
There is no need to remind anyone that the poor quench their thirst at a Wasco tap or a borehole. In most areas in Lesotho they take a drink from rivers like goats and cattle. His eyes are protected by designer sunglasses and his head covered with a stylish beret. Oh, he also has a necklace.
Only he knows the price of the blazer he is wearing. Muckraker can bet her last penny that on the day the picture was taken the total price of everything JP was wearing runs into tens of thousands.
Imagine what was in his wallet. His phone is probably more expensive than some of the cars that were parked next to his. Yet this is a man threatening to unleash a socialist revolution on us. Phew!
But that is the less smelly part of the irony associated with the man, his party and its ideals. JP made his millions through JP Finance, a moneylending company that preys on desperate souls. Moneylending companies are glorified machonisas.
In plain terms JP is a shylock of sorts. He might not use crude instruments like thugs and knobkerries to collect his dues but he remains very close to shylock. His company is registered but the point remains the same.
Still even that screaming irony will not stop JP from claiming that he stands with the people, by the people and for the people in a quest to change their wretched state.
We are supposed to believe that a man who made a fortune from drilling holes in the poor men’s pockets is now a messiah of sorts. He wants us to believe he is the one we have been waiting for.
The socialist revolutionist also owns a moneylending company in South Africa.
As if to confirm that he means business he has called his South Africa operation Exact Finance. Synonyms for ‘exact’ are ‘careful’, ‘thorough’, ‘meticulous’, ‘strict’ and ‘rigorous’.
So what you borrow will be ‘rigorously’ collected even if you have ‘carefully’ explained that you have ‘meticulously’ searched your bank account and found that you are ‘thoroughly’ broke despite living ‘strictly’ within your means.
The ‘exact’ mission is to make money.
The reporter who interviewed JP observed that he comes across as shy. That might be true but this revolutionist is certainly not shy to make money from the poor while pretending that he really cares for their welfare.
Shy people don’t start socialist parties while milking profits from a moneylending company. The incongruence is staggering but JP doesn’t seem to realise it.
Muckraker regrets that she wasn’t there when the man was being interviewed. It is shocking that the reporter did not slap the man when he started insulting Lesotho, the country whose people pushed him up the social ladder. “I moved some of my money to South Africa, bought land and built a home here,” he gloated with gusto. “I moved some of my money from Lesotho and invested it in South Africa as a tactical move to distance myself from its raggedy state, to create jobs for Basotho and South Africa.”
The contempt is abundantly clear. It’s possible that ‘raggedy’ is just a big word he used to confuse the reader. Muckraker didn’t need to reach for a dictionary to know that raggedy is a nasty word that means dirty, shabby, untidy and unkempt.
So JP was lending money to filthy people. He meant that there is riff-raff in Lesotho. He is a foulmouthed capitalist on the verge of a major socialist con job.
But the problem with JP doesn’t end there. He has been fornicating with parties for so long that he is now disillusioned. Too much spinning makes you dizzy.
And for that he wants to blame everyone but himself. Incidentally, while he was bouncing from political house to house JP was also using his riches to bless political parties with donations.
We are told he has sponsored the LCD, DC, ABC, AD, RCL, and the DPL. He says he was doing this out of his “generosity”.
His bitterness however tells an entirely different story. He probably thought he was going to get a bigger political voice when his beneficiaries got into office.
Now that his beneficiaries are comfortably in office they have stopped accosting him with begging bowls. They don’t need to suffer the humility of going cap in hand to an individual when they have access to government resources.
Shunned and stripped of his title as Father Christmas of Lesotho’s politics, JP is pissed. His retaliation is to start his own party. Good for him. That way he doesn’t have to write cheques for political parties that will dump him.
Muckraker has another theory to explain why JP is furious at Uncle Tom and his coalition partners. There is a strong possibility that after funding the party JP genuinely thought he was going to be treated like a hero.
He probably wanted Uncle Tom and his people to grovel at his feet, tongues thrust out. All ABC supporters were supposed to call him Morena. He forgets that his relevance expired on June 3. His dough will not be needed until the next election.
To them he can fume all he wants but no one will give a rat’s behind. The good thing is that he has realised he is not really wanted.
The best he can do now is to start something that sounds, smells, feels, looks and tastes like a political party.
There is nothing revolutionary about that.
On an entirely different note, Muckraker wishes to humbly remind a certain sister at the Lesotho Times that the Principal Secretary of the Ministry of Health is Monaphathi Maraka. In a story last week the sister kept calling him Monaphathi Makara.
Muckraker thought this was a mistake until she realised that the good sister was hell bent on giving the man another clan name.
She got the name wrong five times in the 550-word story. She was so brazen in her wrong ways that Muckraker started doubting herself.
There was a temptation to pick the phone and call the PS himself to find out if he had secretly changed his name.
But then Muckraker thought the man might just be so irritated that he would tell her: u ntloaela hampe ausi. There is a difference between a mistake and ignorance.
What the sister displayed is ignorance. She just doesn’t know the PS’s name. Muckraker is aware there will be a silly attempt to blame the editors for the mistake so she will crush that excuse even before it comes.
She will stick a Mafeteng knife into the ball before that blame game is played. Editors are not in the business of checking people’s names. That is the job of journalists, whether senior or junior.
The reporter did not even read her own story after it was published.
The story was uploaded on the website with the same mistakes two days after it was published. It is possible that the reporter still doesn’t know Monaphathi Maraka’s first surname.
Repeat after Muckraker sister: Maraka is not Makara, Maraka is not Makara, Maraka is not Makara, Maraka is not Makara, Maraka is not Makara, Maraka is not Makara. The sister must keep repeating that until Monaphathi Maraka, not Monaphathi Makara, tells her to shut her beak.
Editors are not hired to babysit journalists who refuse to get simple things like names right. Those who want to be called senior journalists should just learn to wipe their behinds or, better still, buy some diapers.
Muckraker recommends Pampers not the fong kongs that leak like a sieve.
Let them take korobela
Nqosa Mahao has pulled a fast one on his opposition comrades to join Uncle Sam’s government. Muckraker suspected the bromance among the opposition leaders would end in tears but never expected Mahao to do the betraying. The lesson is that there is no honour among politicians and everyone has a price. The BAP’s price is two cabinet seats and some morsels to be flung its way here and there.
The opposition is furious at Mahao for stringing them along for three weeks while Uncle Sam whispered sweet little things in his ears.
They say Mahao attended their nocturnal meetings to plot Uncle Sam’s demise but was busy with a plan to get himself a mok’huk’hu in the government.
Their screams of anger are hypocritical. They too would have been charmed for the right price. Mahao just happened to have yielded earlier than them. None of them can claim that they were not approached by the RFP or its dealmakers.
No one could claim that they refused the RFP’s marriage proposal because they differed on ideology and principle. The only sticking issue was what was offered and what they thought their support was worthy. So let’s bin the hypocrisy and confirm that some of them overreached and overestimated their value by holding out for more spoils. It’s not their business if Mahao sold himself too cheap.
He was smart enough to understand that the market of political support was already flooded. That is being pragmatic.
In the end, it was a simple matter of demand and supply. Uncle Sam played the game well by lodging a scarecrow of a court case to delay the vote of no confidence to buy himself time. That blindsided the opposition leaders and allowed Uncle Sam to counterattack.
So while Lehata was laughing like a hyena in parliament and the opposition congregated at the BNP Centre for drinks Uncle Sam was cooking some delicious dish across town. It was only a matter of time before the aroma reached the politicians’ noses.
So while they were claiming to be united most of them were busy receiving calls to hear what was on the menu. It was a buffet of embassies and cabinet seats. The desserts were deputy minister positions and some small jobs for hungry supporters. The only problem with some of the opposition leaders was that they wanted to eat the whole buffet, including Uncle Sam’s portion.
Meanwhile, Uncle Sam was busy gauging what was enough to satiate the hungriest among the opposition leaders. In the end, he knew he didn’t have to part with much to get the deal and the numbers he wanted. Some politicians are saying Mahao could have asked for more because Uncle Sam was desperate and cornered. Not true!
Your tomatoes do not cost more simply because you worked hard to produce them or you think they are special. It’s the market that decides.
To get more for them you should get the timing right. The same applies to political support. Uncle Sam knew the market of political support would be oversupplied if he waited a few days before buying.
By the time he came to the market the available political support was about to rot and everyone was willing to sell at a huge discount. This is common sense but some opposition leaders want to pretend Mahao ambushed them by selling fast.
Muckraker suggests that next time they plot against Uncle Sam, the opposition leaders should visit a sangoma to give them all a huge dose of korobela so that none is tempted to find another lover. The best love portion comes from the North of us. Mwa, mwa, mwa!
How to share a stolen goat
Those who think Uncle Sam is now safe from the barbarians at the gates are naïve. Mahao’s defection is a temporary setback from which the opposition leaders are plotting to recover.
They are coming because Uncle Sam is holding something they cannot live without: power.
And they will not rest until they get it. Those who believe this fight is based on principle and ideology are unmitigated dimwits. Their claim that Uncle Sam’s government has failed is just a cover to justify their plot. They know they would not do a better job.
Everyone knows that because they have seen their epic bungling when they had a chance to rule.
The notoriety of their thievery, corruption, deliberate mismanagement and nepotism precedes them. They say Uncle Sam has failed to implement his party’s campaign promises but forget that some of them failed several times. If this was about ideology and principle it would reflect in the negotiations for coalitions. In countries where politicians still have morsels of self-respect and specks of shame, such negotiations would be dominated by ideological and policy considerations.
Political parties try to find some common ground on fundamental issues like the economy, education, climate change, trade and foreign policy.
Our rascals here talk about ministerial and diplomatic positions as if they are sharing a stolen goat; I want the head, give me likahare.
My ancestors said I should always eat the testicles. Give me the liver, I don’t have teeth. The heart is my favourite. In a way, our government is like a stolen goat being shared by thieves. Ba ja maleo.
It’s a fat goat stolen from Basotho. The politicians will eat it and not leave even the skin for Basotho to make a mat to lay on when hungry. The thieves are eating while the people watch.
Yet we people never tire to give the politicians the permission to rob and pee on them.
It’s tempting to say we deserve it but no one, not even the Devil, deserves the politicians we have in this country. Some say there is hell somewhere. Muckraker says we are already in a hell of some sort created by our politicians. We are being roasted slowly by politicians and they will never stop.
Does that make you feel depressed and hopeless? Well, you are not alone. There are worse places on this earth. Does that mean we should accept tosh because there is worse tosh in other places?
Well, it’s your choice.
Muckraker wishes you a wet weekend. Let’s hope Uncle Sam throws us a party to celebrate his great escape. You marched for him, didn’t you?
A beer is what you deserve for sweating from Maseru Mall to parliament.
Give Lehata a Bell’s
Mootsi Lehata behaved like a clown in parliament last week. Laughing like he was in a shebeen. Spewing insults as if someone had stolen his goats. He even used the ‘F’ word on Lejone Mpotjoane.
“Moshanyana enoa a se ke a ntella. Se ke oa ntella sonny, f**k you,” he said in response to Mpotjoane. Muckraker doesn’t know Mpotjoane to be a moshanyana. What she knows is what Lehata did to a ngoanana a few years ago.
The girl dropped the rape case on the condition that Lehata builds her a house and pays for the child’s upkeep. So ke eena ea tellang molao. Some might say it’s water under the bridge but Muckraker doesn’t forgive. Never!
For now, we should talk about his monkeyshines in parliament. He looked high on something. Lehata can however deny it. He can say he was shaking because he had spent sleepless nights plotting to topple Uncle Sam. He can claim he was shaking with excitement at the prospect of becoming a minister again. If that doesn’t cut it he can say wasn’t drunk but just suffering from a hangover.
That might work because he could say those who say he was drunk on that Monday should have seen him on Sunday. He could claim he was still suffering the effects of knocking down several bottles taller than him.
But whatever happens, no one can prove that he was high.
Yes, a test could have revealed that he had blood in his alcohol but that is now beside the point because it didn’t happen. In any case, Muckraker has seen worse things in parliament. Remember how some MPs spanked each other a few years ago?
Chairs and bins were given wings. An MP was once captured on camera groping another.
As for insults, worse things have been said. Some of the MPs don’t need to be insulted to feel humiliated. Imagine how it feels to be an LCD MP.
You see it in their faces that they are beating themselves.
No wonder they are not even mentioned as part of the opposition. They are not in opposition, not government and not in the crossbench. They are there, somewhere there.
Muckraker would not sleep well if she ended these musings without mentioning one small thing. During the debate on Lehata’s tomfoolery, one opposition MP said the Speaker should protect MPs so that their images are not manipulated to tarnish their reputation. Yeah, right!
You must have a reputation first for it to be tarnished. Muckraker and 98.9 percent of Basotho know 99 percent of our MPs to be freeloading, greedy and power-hungry charlatans.
That is their reputation. Those who say our MPs are honest and hardworking are tarnishing that sterling reputation.
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