BOOM! Boom! Boom!
Hear the sound of Mokola’s political ambition imploding. For weeks he was Lesotho’s prime-minister-in-waiting. His spectacular ascent to the State House looked inevitable, thanks to a curious deal with Uncle Tom.
It looked like a masterstroke. An ingenious move contrived in Machache, thrashed out in Ficksburg and only waiting consummation in parliament.
And so it seemed he was sailing all the way to the Prime Minister’s Office with no hindrance from his former comrades. As easy as cutting butter with a hot knife.
But banana peels were thrown on his way, to send him skidding backward.
It is not clear whether he fell at the roundabout near Machabeng College or somewhere near Victoria Hotel. That inquiry does not matter anymore for he has been wrong-footed horribly.
Size Two threw spanners into the works (Muckraker will come back to that in a jiffy). Mokola’s wagon is stuck in the mud.
Now he faces the biggest test of his career: to prove his ‘popularity’ is not a manufactured fib perpetuated by nobbled political pundits, pliable journalists and a clique of supporters telling him what he wants to hear.
The upcoming election will provide indisputable proof of his political stamina. The question of whether he is an overrated fong-kong or the real McCoy will be put to rest.
For the first time in his illustrious political career Mokola will face voters as the leader of his own political party. No longer can he hide behind Size Two or a political family built by others.
The AD is his product and he will have to sell it to the voters. Muckraker has no doubt Mokola will fight tooth and nail to peddle his yet to be announced political agenda.
As shrewd a Mokola is known to be, he sure knows Size Two has outwitted him. Size Two yanked him out of the party they started together. Now, by dissolving parliament, Size Two has delivered a knock-out punch on Mokola’s ambition to be the next prime minister.
Mokola’s deal with Uncle Tom lies at the bottom of a VIP toilet and it might remain there for eternity. What remains now is a loose agreement to possibly form a coalition if the numbers square up.
Yet that is predicated on Uncle Tom not getting enough numbers. And even if he falls short Uncle Tom can still count on the support of the BNP and RCL, the little puppies that feed off his clout.
For Mokola to be part of the next government the AD must perform spectacularly. In other words, Mokola would have to justify why Uncle Tom should not throw him under the bus.
Those who have worked with Uncle Tom know that he only cooperates when he is in a position of weakness. He is not in the business of dishing out crowns to people who have no political numbers. He plays his own game.
You must have critical mass for Uncle Tom to look at you twice. AD supporters should therefore pray that Uncle Tom remains in this benevolent mood that saw him agreeing to allow Mokola to rule for 18 months. After the election their party might have nothing or just crumbs.
It is Uncle Tom who will decide where Mokola will be placed in the new government. All this presupposes that Uncle Tom will win but it is not a given. Size Two is wounded but that is no reason enough to write him off.
He might just pull a fast one on the opposition and walk right back into the State House. Muckraker knows that even the mere mention of that prospect drives some opposition supporters to Mohlomi Hospital yet it remains a possibility.
The past week will be remembered as one in which Basotho almost lost their minds due to anxiety. They were waiting for the King to make a decision on Size Two’s advice to dissolve parliament.
They were on tenterhooks while being bombarded with lies and propaganda from pseudo legal experts who have pervaded our airwaves and social media.
We were told the Council of State will have a say in the matter. Some people in the Council of State even had the nerve to ask to be asked to advise the king. They wanted to be part of the team to make the decision.
Muckraker has never seen such delusion in her short life. An adviser cannot clamour to proffer advice. Let’s not conveniently forget that the Council of State is a mere soundboard. The council speaks when asked to speak. Until it has permission to open its mouth it should just zip it.
In any case, it’s not as if our King needed any of their input on the matter. Remember he has legal training. He is able to interpret the constitution without being guided by some judges and pastors. He does not need anyone to handhold him. Muckraker says this with a straight face and a clear heart for she is the aunt of this country.
The King does not need some garrulous and excitable people to stampede him into a decision. The Council of State is not an authority on legal matters.
It does not sit next to either the King or the Prime minister. Nor is it above the government or parliament. It is a board of handpicked individuals whose responsibility is to advise His Majesty. And it can only give its thoughts when asked to.
To say it was going to have a say in the dissolution of parliament would be to elevate it to a position it will never attain logically, morally or legally.
Yet all this does not necessarily mean Size Two was on the straight and narrow when he pushed for the dissolution of parliament. Indeed, he had such prerogative under the constitution.
But just because something is legally correct does not make it morally right. Size Two’s decision should not be analysed from the narrow point of the cost of an election.
It’s not about the money, stupid. Money can always be found especially when you are dealing with a government.
You see, the government does not operate like a stokvel or your home budget. It doesn’t produce a thing but it is the richest institution in the country.
That is because it is allowed to rob you blind through taxes. We are already paying zillions to Bidvest.
Nyoe, nyoe, nyoe elections are costly. My foot!
Since when have politicians cared about a cost to government?
They gladly load their pockets with the interest-free loans.
They are forever globetrotting on government money.
When in government they trouser our monies with gusto. These are the people who buy things on huge mark-ups simply because it’s the government paying.
It’s not about the cost of the elections but self-preservation.
Therefore, those who say there is no money for elections have zilch understanding of how government works.
The astute argument against the dissolution of parliament is one that looks at the motive behind the decision. By that decision Size Two has proven that he is a bad loser.
Having lost the game in parliament Size Two has either sped away with the ball or just hoofed it into the grandstands. If he cannot win the game then no one else is going to play it, so goes his reasoning.
He would rather take this game to the lottery called election instead of going down as the first prime minister to be kicked out of power through parliament. This is about legacy.
There is yet another facet to the argument against the dissolution. Size Two could not stand the sight of Mokola becoming prime minister. Eventually, it boiled down to him wanting to knock Mokola off his high horse.
The dissolution of parliament had set a horrible precedence we will have to follow in years to come. Henceforth, no prime minister will be toppled through a vote of no confidence because he can simply push for dissolution. The result of that is that we will always resort to elections to solve political problems.
Does Muckraker hear some in the opposition harping on about the dissolution being a terrible political move?
They may be right but they do protest too much. They too stand on shaky ground. The fairest way to change a government is through an election. It cannot be that 120 people, 40 of which hold compensatory seats, can have the final say on who rules us.
Follow the argument before you bite Muckraker’s ears in anger. Those 14 DC MPs who crossed to the AD with Mokola cannot produce a shred of evidence to prove that they were acting on behalf of those who voted them.
Unless there is an election to test their popularity they remain MPs voted into parliament by DC supporters. Does that get your goat? Well, it should because the truth stings.
None of them can prove that the DC people who voted for them have miraculously and unanimously turned into AD supporters. That question can only be answered by a vote.
They could have just decided on their own to change their political colours without getting a mandate from the voters. Even if they say they consulted their constituencies there is no guarantee they were doing so in an impartial way.
After all, they were probably telling the people what they had already decided. So this matter should go to a free, fair and credible election. Let the people decide who comes back to parliament.
Muckraker is laughing all the way to the bank after winning an obvious bet. She has just separated some zealots from their hard-earned cash after they placed their bets on some phantom argument that the king was not going to dissolve parliament.
Kudos to thepost for getting it right. “King to dissolve parliament,” screamed the headline in last week’s edition.
Because no one can claim to be impartial in this country some rascals were quick to accuse the newspaper of either jumping the gun or betting for a particular dog in the fight. So for days they kept their calloused fingers crossed, hoping the story will turn out to be a figment of the newspaper’s imagination.
Some even prayed in tongues on Sunday.
Now that the story has been confirmed — word for word — they are hiding under rocks. Embarrassed by their hostility to facts. Numbed by their loss. Choked by the words they uttered in haste. thepost marches on while the dogs bark.
Arms akimbo, they stand in awe. Does Muckraker hear muffed up rounds of applause from the rival newsrooms?
Well, eat your hearts out comrades and take detailed notes on how to cover fast-moving stories. thepost got it right because it has no quarrel in the tussle for political power.
Now clap your hands folks. Clap louder. Louder! LOUDER! That’s more like it.
Find a dark alley in your heart to pack you truckload of jealous just for this week.
The not so noble Ashraf
English has never been our mother. It abandons us in times of trouble, especially when cornered. The best time to judge a person’s eloquence in English is when they are in distress. Walim Ashraf, the man accused of stealing M7.4 million, lost his English bundles last week when he was caught in a blue lie.
His bail hearing was going well until a DCEO investigator told the prosecutor that he was emitting lies with a straight face. He had told the court that his three children and wife were in South Africa. He even added that children were schooling in South Africa. That sounded plausible and the court appeared to have taken his word for it until the prosecutor announced that his wife and three children were in fact in India. Bingo!
Caught in the lie, Ashraf mumbled an apology before telling the court that “it was a slip of the tongue”.
In other words, his tongue has slipped and called South Africa India.
At that moment, Ashraf believed that claiming that your family is in South Africa when they are in India is a “slip of the tongue”.
The phrase he was looking for is: “I am a pathetic liar”. A slip of the tongue is a minor mistake in speech, not a fictitious relocation of your family from India to South Africa. Muckraker will not pass judgement on his charges.
Suffice to say Ashraf is an Arabic name meaning ‘most honourable one’ or ‘very noble’. Tongues that claim to have slipped when they are lying are not so noble.
Its squeaky bum time
Uncle Sam and his leadership should not be surprised that the opposition is now grabbing them by the collar. They played into the government’s hands by making hasty and emotional decisions.
The suspension of the three MPs has now triggered a backlash that might topple the government.
The opposition is smelling blood and getting ready to pounce.
Even if Uncle Sam’s government survives the next storm, the opposition will keep coming. They are possessed by the spirit of destruction.
The next few years will be tsunami after tsunami.
Nothing motivates a politician more than the prospect of finishing off a wounded opponent.
Muckraker is tempted to say the RFP still has a chance to regroup and fight from one corner but that would be false. The trust has been broken and the wounds are too deep.
Those who have been suspended want revenge. Mediation is a waste of time. Nothing is ever forgiven and forgotten in politics.
Muckraker’s humble advice to Uncle Sam and his people is that they should stock up on painkillers because there are more pounding headaches on the way.
Keep some pills at home, office, office toilet, back pocket, handbag, wallet and even bra.
Mapesela will not rest until he is back in government and proudly messing up things.
He is beating war drums.
Uncle Sam and his people had better learn to play dirty because this is a rough game. Bones will be broken and bodies bruised.
Spare a prayer for Uncle Sam as he walks on the glowing coals that is Lesotho’s politics. Call your prophets, fake and real, because the demons of Lesotho’s politics are at the gates.
Bring both fire and water because these are not Mickey Mouse demons. Leave the pigs out of this one, I beg. We still need fariki after exorcising the evil spirits. As usual, you need the powers of a potent wizard to decipher why the opposition is gathering wood for a pyre to burn both the government and its leader. That it’s such a hotchpotch betrays the fact that the reasons are contrived rather than real.
Even if they are real, none of them justifies toppling a government so soon.
And none of the opposition leaders could claim, without the usual dose of embellishment, that the so-called ‘reasons’ have come from the people. There is no scale to weigh the people’s disgust at Uncle Sam and his people.
There is no reason to pretend that those plotting to whip Uncle Sam out of office are doing it for the people who voted less than a year ago. This is just another group of excitable and power-mongering zealots cooking up reasons to justify their attempt to instigate a power grab.
You hear from their flawed logic when they exuberantly claim that it is their right to bring a no-confidence vote against the government.
They pull out that trump card even when no one has accused them of any criminality. They do it to sanitise and deodorise their brazen usurpation of the people’s power.
It’s their way of justifying why a group of less than 50 people who lost an election now has both the power and the nerve to topple a government supported by thousands of Basotho. Oops, that’s a lie. This a decision of less than 10 political leaders who are now shopping around for other MPs to support their decision.
Yes, toppling a government in parliament is not illegal. Yes, the opposition can do it. But the pertinent question is whether this is what Basotho want and it’s good for Lesotho.
Who has told the politicians that this is what the people want? Who did they consult, when and how?
Yes, Uncle Sam is fumbling and dithering. Yes, some of his ministers behave like rabbits caught in headlights on the Main North 1 Road. True, some of the appointments stink of nepotism.
But all these are nothing new or outrageous. We have seen worse from the very people now screaming their lungs out. It’s not as if the opposition now has a low tolerance for tosh.
After all, they are the very masters of tosh. This is not about service delivery or some transgressions.
This is about power and resources. Not power to serve Basotho. Not resources to share with Basotho. It is about the power to shove in their armpits while they munch the resources. That is why they keep telling us what Uncle Sam has done wrong instead of saying why they think they will do better.
They are not saying they will screw us softly this time around. No promise to go easy on the looting. Nothing about limiting the number of rats in the granary. They don’t even have the decency to promise to move from F to E.
As far as they are concerned, we just have to stand by and watch while they kick out Uncle Sam and then cheer as they march back to do more of the same. This is the contempt they have for the people. We elect governments that MPs have the power to topple willy-nilly while claiming to be acting on our behalf. We have been screwed before but these are rough riders. Phew!
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