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Frogs in lipstick



LESOTHO will probably never have a tabloid newspaper but that doesn’t mean scandalous news remains hidden.
Basotho will always find ways to scatter the lurid details. Of course Facebook and Whatsapp have made their job easier.

They have saved us of the cost of having to travel to another village or town to dish out the latest gossip to a friend, relative or a random stranger we meet in a taxi.
Yet there are thousands of other Basotho who have no access to those social media platforms or phones.

These continue to do it the old-fashioned way: whisper the damn news to one person and the whole village will know it by nightfall.
A rural girl, Muckraker has always known that the best gossip doesn’t come from elders but the children of the village.
To know the latest scandal, especially those about fornicators, you don’t have to interrogate the little souls.

Just go to aloe shrubs in the village where you are sure to stumble upon fresh news scribbled on those sky-blue leaves.
You will know who is doing what to whom in the village. You will know who is sleeping at which house when their wife is away.
If the aloes don’t have the juicy gossip, you can visit the VIP toilet at the nearest school.

Written clearly in human manure will be some of the choicest gossip about students, teachers and chiefs.
If you want to know what the principal is up to then the toilet’s walls are the place to look. Phew!

But over the years Muckraker has also discovered that even seemingly innocent games like morabaraba can deliver good gossip.
With nothing at stake, except vain pride, some men can spend a whole day moving those tiny stone on a board. All that labour earns them mere bragging rights.
At times the games can be extremely emotional as some men don’t take lightly to being outclassed on anything, even a silly game that doesn’t require much acumen.
Some matches have been known to turn violent. Yeh, you heard that right. A Mosotho man can pull out a machete at a morabaraba game.
That is partly because our men, especially those bereft of some height, have short fuses.

Yet there is a bigger reason why fights happen at morabaraba games. Gossip! “Motlo! Ke tla u metletsa ngoan’a moloi”. “Ke tla u ja mph!” “ke tla u ja joalokaha ausi’au a jeoa ke ’Nyeo.” Amid such banter dirty secrets are unveiled.  Hang around a little longer and you will know who is sneaking into whose house in darkness. You will know who likes to wait for the chief’s daughter on the way to the village well.

You will know the true paternity of the son Thabang has always thought was his firstborn. You will know why the chief always favours the widow across the valley.
The point is that morabaraba is more than just a board game to keep boredom at bay.  To some it is a platform to send a message to opponents and villagers whose guts they despise with passion.

It is a chance to pass snide comments against those you think are getting too big for their shoes. In a way, this is how Basotho fight their battles.
Nothing is straightforward.

For reference you should see how our politicians are going to behave in the next three months. Here we go again.
Another election looms in this little country of ours. Soon zealots and bumpkins will be ululating and gyrating at rallies.
Eyes agog, they will endure the scotching heat as they listen to politician poop shameless lies about each other.

It’s going to be an unrelenting blitz of lies and propaganda on the impressionable minds teeming in this country.
Mendacities will be our fodder for the next three months as politicians jostle for our votes. Aluta continua! We are marching to yet another contest of morons.
We have no choice but to pick someone from the heap of tosh that is our politicians.
Those of us who know better are in a predicament of sorts: we are damned if we vote and screwed if we don’t.
We all have to vote.

So we firmly hold our noses, dip our arms into the political gutter, pull out whatever maggot we can grab and plonk an ‘X’ against its name on the ballot.
But never be under any illusion that this is a battle to make this country a better place. When those in power claim to be seeking a new mandate what they really want is more time to line their pockets.

When those in opposition say they want to lead us they mean they want an opportunity to trouser our money.
The political battles have never been about pulling this country from the clutches of poverty.
It has never been about making the future better for our children.

What is gullying though is that our people keep galling up the same old tosh politicians are foisting on them.
The result is that we keep recycling the same old buffoons who have no clue about taking this country to the next level.
It is not a contest of ideas, policies or ideologies we are going to have in the next three months.

Rather it is a beauty contest of frogs we have tried to beautify with lipstick and mascara.
Sadly, we keep hoping these frogs will turn out to be something desirable and useful because they are in make-up.

Speaking of elections, Muckraker feels for Mokola and his party. Some ABC people have been fretting about Mokola’s legacy.
They say their party’s partnership with the AD might be as toxic as the one with the LCD which ended in tears. They say he cannot be trusted because he is a cunning fellow.
They are wrong.

It is the AD that should fear the ABC. The AD is still largely an idea. It exists because Mokola says it does.
Beyond the regalia, the Facebook posts, numerous interviews and a bunch of zealots, the AD remains an idea.
Its structures in the villages are still germinating, if at all they have been sown.

The AD is therefore counting its blessings that the ABC has even agreed to form a government with it.
But here is the problem: the deal was based on the idea that there will be a palace coup in parliament and Size Two will meekly fold his arms and retreat to his lonely camels.
That plan looks like it is about to be upended because Size Two wants an election.

And an election is something the AD is just not ready for, no matter how much it expresses its eagerness to go to the polls. So why should the AD be afraid of the ABC?
Well, Uncle Tom knows that he has the upper hand in this election and the AD is just a mouse in the battle of titans.
Once there is an election the deal that would have seen Mokola moving into parliament for a few months is dead.

A victorious Thabane would not want to play second fiddle to a walloped Mokola. Mokola will therefore have to take the crumbs Uncle Tom will fling his way.
But remember this is Uncle Tom we are talking about, a shrewd man who knows how to turn the tables.
Once the results are in this false romance between the ABC and AD will have to be renegotiated.

It will not be a negotiation of equals but that of a master and a servant. Uncle Tom has always wanted to rule alone because he knows the dangers of having spoilers in the government.
He knows how small parties, with a few seats and voters who cannot even fill a bicycle, can hold a whole government hostage.



Mokherane’s nonsonso



MUCKRAKER has been waiting for our MPs to explain why they want a M75 000 salary.

She hoped somewhere in the sewage the MPs were spraying as justification for their attempt to rob us blind was some reasonable argument.

Just something to show that there was some sort of method to their rank madness and shameless greed.

Sadly, Muckraker has been waiting for Godot because none had emitted anything showing that they carry a brain bigger than the punctuation mark that ends this sentence.

Instead, we have been treated to some of the most inane arguments proving beyond all reasonable doubt that our parliament is full to the brim with imbeciles masquerading as MPs.

Thanks to Mokherane Tsatsanyane, that one who came into parliament through the window while dressed in DC colours, we now know we are being led by slow minds.

After reminding us that MPs “run this country” and are a special breed, Tsatsanyane went to the meat of his bizarre argument.

“He! He! Mokherane is crazy, he wants M75 000! That’s what people will be saying. But I have just spent almost M5 million in my area. I bought 40 wheelchairs at Moshoeshoe II, one wheelchair costs M3 000, that means I have spent something like M300 000,” he emitted while frothing at the mouth as if someone stole his goat.

It is tempting to follow his argument to its finality just to be sure his mouth has pulled the middle finger on his brain but that is obvious.

His problem is that he just can’t do simple arithmetic.

It is impossible to spend M300 000 after buying 40 wheelchairs at M3 000 each. It can’t!

He was inflating his numbers and ego just like he wants us to pay him an inflated salary. The other possibility is that he was just entangled in the web of his lies. They say liars must have good memories. Muckraker would add that they should learn to count as well.

At that moment, someone should have told Tsatsanyane to stop telling tall tales but the man was now on fire. After all, he thought he had just gotten away with the lie that 40 multiplied by 3 000 is 300 000.

So he pushed on.

“They are happy and celebrating, He! He! Mokherane is donating wheelchairs and food parcels. In a day you can spend around M400 000 when you are an MP helping people. But tomorrow when you want an increment, they complain.”

Muckraker wanted to call Tsatsanyane to deliver some crude words but remembered that his kind is beyond redemption.

The critical question is what kind of grade he smokes. The one from Mapoteng is not that potent. It takes a special kind of high for someone who claims to be spending M400 000 a day on charity to shed a Maqalika of tears over M75 000 per month.

But his lies and hallucinations are not the crux of the matter.

The question is who invited him to be in parliament.

More precisely, who voted for him?

Expect a blank face instead of an answer because he was neither invited nor elected.

The people of Qoaling rejected him in the last election and he only sneaked into parliament via the proportional representation list.

Now this unwanted, unelected, and unelectable nonentity is telling us that M75 000 is “nothing to write home about”.

So why cry for it like a hired mourner?

Even if it’s a small amount, you still don’t deserve it here and in heaven.

Hear, hear, hear, a man who claims to have just spent “almost M5 million” in his “area” is complaining about being underpaid.

You cannot make this up.

Even if his salary is increased to M75 000, Tsatsanyane will not earn M5 million over his five years in parliament. At the current salary of M40 000, he will earn M2.4 million over five years.

There are five logical explanations for his alleged spending habits.

He could be filthy rich, extremely generous, reckless, bad with mathematics or just a pathological liar.
What is clear is that no amount of lying, screaming or flawed reasoning will help the MPs get the M75 000. This time it won’t happen.

Gone are the days when these lazybones would make threats to get away with evil deeds. There will be no increase for those freeloading impostors.

Those who feel underpaid should surrender their seats and leave us in peace. Muckraker can bet her last kobo that their absence will not be missed. Most of them can even be replaced with donkeys and there will still be no real effect on the quality of parliament’s work.

MPs who mourn about being paid less than their counterparts in South Africa are free to cross Mohokare River and contest.

As for those who believe they can jerk up their salaries to recover what they used to campaign, Muckraker says: Go hang! The ropes are on Muckraker.

Muckraker warns anyone who is even thinking of entertaining the MPs’ demands that there will be chaos in this country.

Some furniture will fly, bones broken and someone will run.
This is not a threat but a promise.

Bring it on! We are sick and tired of a few people defecating on us.

Muckraker will not be having a wet weekend because she is going to the gym. You know why. It’s about time we get fit to deal with nonsonso.

Nka! Ichuuuuuuuuuuuu

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Maretlane’s dish rubbish



Muckraker is still recovering from the Moshoeshoe Walk but her fatigue has nothing to do with the 116km she endured. The walk in the mountains – far from the rascals, perverts, thieves and pretenders of Maseru – was fun.

The pain in her muscles was inflicted by the epic incompetence she witnessed over the three-day walk. Someone should tell Thabo Maretlane to either shape up or ship out.

They say it takes at least 10 000 hours to master a skill. Maretlane has been managing the walk for 17 years but has been consistently doing a shoddy job of it. He is dependable like that.

He has one year to organise the three-day event but for some reason, only known to him, he still botches it every time.

This year he bungled spectacularly. It was as if he had spent the past 16 years mastering the art of mismanagement. By the time this year’s walk started, he was ready to deliver some top-notch shit show.

Oh shame! He brought his ‘A’ game to the mountains and stole the show while the world watched. It was a fantastic display of incompetence. 

The kind that leaves you dazed. He pushed the frontiers of mediocrity. 

Even he could not believe he was capable of sinking to such levels. 

Maretlane started dishing it out from day one. Breakfast was a croissant, a small yoghurt and a piece of dry cheese. And that was it. Off you go into the mountains, he said. 

After a few kilometres hikers were stopped for some speeches from dignitaries. 

And so they waited, waited and waited. There is nothing wrong with some delays. 

But it’s bad manners to park people in the scorching sun for hours without any explanation or apology.

Maretlane and his people were behaving as if the tortuous wait was part of the schedule. 

Yet it wasn’t the lack of communication or the roasting that got Muckraker’s goat. 

Ladies who wanted to relieve themselves had to find some hiding spot in the veld because Maretlane didn’t find it reasonable to provide mobile toilets. When nature called they had to visit a gulley or squat behind a rock. There were not many rocks big enough to cover both the face and the big bums. 

If too scared to use the gully or rock you had to ask friends to shield you from the crowd. 

And that was the source of Muckraker’s irritation. Maretlane forced Muckraker and her friends to be toilet walls. That humiliation of having to invite a congregation to a peeing session would persist for the next three days Maretlane unashamedly basked in the glory of having done something as part of our 200th Anniversary. Water was brought in lituntoana so Maretlane could be amused as we behaved like cattle at a watering hole.

Maretlane didn’t seem bothered because he was on a mission to make the most from the least effort. He had promised water and had delivered. 

 If you didn’t like how it was delivered you could tell it to the mountains or go hang. 

March on, this is not your mother’s house. Drink up and move it, lunch awaits across the mountains. After they finally dragged themselves to the lunch venue, they came face to face with the stinker Maretlane had been cooking while they dragged through mountains and valleys. 

Lunch was something that tasted like chicken but could have been easily mistaken for some newly invented type of rubber. It came with five chips, a piece of bread as hard as Weetbix and a salad that looked like it was about to pinch your nose. It was vulgar. 

Next was some fish smaller than the lemon that was supposed to season it. 

It was served with a sandwich that looked like some leftovers from last year’s walk.

The five chips and the threatening salad were there again, warning you against eating them. 

They were back again when Maretlane unveiled the foul-tasting hot dog.  

It was khemere all the way. By the way, there is nothing traditional, organic or healthy about that drink. The salt on the wound is that hikers paid M1 000 for those meals. The message was clear: we make you pay through the nose for kaka and then make you kaka in the bushes. Come again next year for Maretlane will do you dirty again!

Don’t expect Maretlane to have learned anything from that episode. 

He hasn’t learned in 17 years. 

Don’t try telling him anything. He is now too busy preparing to deliver another scandalously shoddy show next year. Muckraker will not be paying to be abused again. Never! 

Maretlane has eaten enough from her. It will take her months to relearn how to use a toilet again.

Nka! Ichuuuuuuuuuuuu


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The market of rascals



THE Market’s management is either high on something illegal or just reckless.
They could also be either proudly incompetent or simply daft.
Muckraker suspects they are high, reckless, incompetent and daft.
That is a heavy burden to carry but self-inflicted and deserved.

Their job is to feed tummies and quench thirsts but they believe they are capable of many jobs. In addition to cooking chickin, they fancy themselves to be detectives, expert witnesses, rape experts, psychologists, communication gurus, criminologists, prosecutors, CCTV analysts and many other things they conjure up in their small minds.
That much is lavishly clear from their crude statement reacting to a woman who alleges she was raped in their toilet last week.
Instead of just acknowledging the alleged incident, The Market was sweating to testify, analyse evidence, scrutinise footage and play judge.
They tell us the alleged victim arrived at the restaurant “heavily intoxicated” as if they had measured the alcohol content in her blood.
They say she had left an “unpaid bill” at another restaurant as if they were the Small Claims Court.
They claim CCTV footage shows the victim coming out of the toilets holding hands with her alleged attacker as if they are certain that the handholding was consensual and not one dragging the other. Make no mistake about the sinister motive behind those salacious details sprinkled all over the statement.
They were gathering wood for a pyre to burn the woman and her allegations.
Their demented reasoning is something like this: she could not have been raped because she was intoxicated, absconded her bill down the street and was holding hands with the alleged attacker. None of those things have been proven and they might be just shameless lies told by uncouth characters.
The point, accepted by everyone else except some nincompoops, is that The Market should not have mentioned anything about a bill or intoxication. They are not just trivialising her serious allegations but also calling her a drunk who dodges bills and lies about being raped.
They do this by telling what they believe to be a cogent tale to illustrate that her story is incredible.
Muckraker read that clumsy statement several times and each time she was further disgusted by both the writer and The Market as a business.
They say the gentleman from another restaurant who is “well known to The Market staff” claimed that the woman had left an unpaid bill. That is not some random anecdote but an attempt to justify why they allowed him into the bar after they had closed.
It could also be a flimsy attempt at saying the man could not have violated the woman because he is “well known” to them.
As soon as the narration started Muckraker knew The Market was on an evil path.
And boy, did they march with vigour.
They say while the two were discussing the unpaid bill, the victim “indicated that she needed the bathroom”. Then comes the killer line in the statement: “Moments later, the said gentleman also walked to the bathroom, where after a while they both emerged holding hands”.
The public is invited to conclude that the discussion about the unpaid bill was resolved in the toilet and the two “emerged holding hands”.
In other words, whatever was said or happened in the toilet was so mutual that a debt was settled and hands were held.
The victim blaming and bashing could have ended there but The Market was just getting started.
After social media clobbered them for their callous and inept statement, The Market came back with a second one pretending to be correcting the first one.
This time they tried to sanitise the first statement by weeding out the offensive parts but avoided withdrawing the first statement and sincerely apologising to the woman.
They forget that people will never unlearn what they learned from the first statement and are most likely to read the second statement as an update rather than a correction.
But just like that, The Market thinks they have dodged the bullet so they can go back to their cooking and notorious upselling.
Their message to women is stinging: “It’s your funeral if you run away from a bill and get raped in our toilets. We will protect ourselves and the suspects at all costs. For good measure, we will tell the public you enjoyed free drinks and got so drunk that you made allegations of rape against our friend who was only trying to get you to pay”.
Muckraker will not speculate on what happened but can say, without fear or favour, that The Market’s management are unmitigated and unrepentant rascals. Only a business managed by accredited scoundrels reacts with such brazen thuggery to allegations of rape on its premises. Muckraker didn’t say CHE accredits scoundrels but that the mischief exhibited by The Market is of such high quality that it deserves a certification of sorts and at a higher level. It’s Level 8 stuff.
Nka! Ichuuuuuuuuuuuu


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