WHAT gets you into trouble are not the words but their meaning.
Take for instance what happened in Mafube one afternoon, some eons ago. Little Thabo was up to his usual tomfoolery again when a pissed Muckraker said: ke tla ofa ‘M’ao.
Boom! That’s how the thunderous blow from Thabo landed on Muckraker’s head, knocking her into a gully. Thabo didn’t get his mother but he made sure Muckraker saw stars as she lay there. Thabo started being an idiot again some days later Muckraker chose her words carefully. “O tla bona khaitseli ea malomao,” Muckraker said, confident she had passed the message without attracting Thabo’s wrath.
How wrong she was. Boom! Boom! Boom! An enraged Thabo came upon Muckraker like a tonne of bricks. A swollen lip and a black eye were Muckraker’s rewards for trying to be clever. Despite being a bit slow, Thabo had caught the message faster than Muckraker had anticipated. She had hoped by the time the lights come on in Thabo’s encephalon she will be home enjoying papa ka lipu. It’s not the words but the meaning.
On reflection Muckraker thinks she should have just gone for the more biting insults like: O tla bona ntsetse! If you are going to be beaten for an insult let it be for a stinging one that really roils the heart.
If you are going to eat a dog, let it be bulldog. Never be punished for eating an emaciated and flea-infested village stray.
Those lessons came racing back to Muckraker’s mind when a local newspaper alleged that the government launched a one-player lottery for Lieutenant General Tlali Kamoli.
Do I see your face light up in disbelief?
Well, remember it’s not the words but their meaning that matters. The paper didn’t actually say the government had started lotto lottery for the general. Rather, it said government had offered the general between M40 million and M55 million to vamoose from the army.
But when you look at those vulgar figures it is as clear as the contours on Uncle Tom’s face that the paper is saying there is a government-funded Kamoli lottery in the offing.
All the general does to hit the jackpot is to say four magical words: “Yes, I leave now!”
And bingo, he will be an instant millionaire.
It was a fantastically sensational story based on faceless sources, some of whom Muckraker suspects the reporter does not even remember.
You see, when you thrive on Facebook rumours, bar-talk, street gossip and shebeen murmurings you end up confused about the source of your information.
Hence it did not take long for the newspaper to start backpedalling from the sensational piece. It was “Mews (not news) without fact or flavour” all the way.
We are sorry Ntate Kamoli, they said with a long face and perhaps a drop of one or two tears.
Kamoli and government had found a way to grip the newspaper by the balls (if there are any balls). Kamoli in particular might have started rubbing his hands in glee after seeing that story, one he knew the paper could not prove even if they hired a PI.
After all, this is a newspaper that has made its vocation to insult him at every chance. After calling him obscene names they were now accusing him of winning a rigged lottery.
Phew! Muckraker will confess that she does not mind if the General is allowed to go.
Yet that doesn’t mean people should go around publishing one-legged stories based on unsubstantiated figures. The irony here is that the newspaper got the story correct until it tried to be sophisticated by sneaking in those X-rated figures. It was a poor attempt at taking the story forward.
Without those thumb-sucked numbers the story would have stood on all four, thus saving the newspaper the nuisance of having to grovel to Kamoli.
Methinks this is a lesson to all journalists with an insatiable libido for peddling figures whose meaning they don’t understand.
The rule of thumb is that when you use a speculative figure you must base it on something or someone. Since the newspaper will fight tooth and nail to protect its sources, and rightly so, we can only assume that the sources who flogged the M40 million and M55 million figures knew what they were talking about.
On that one Muckraker cannot say more lest she be accused of insinuating that the sources are actually non-existent.
What she can however stand on is the dubious nature of the figures.
Those figures are not based on anything other than the reporter’s day dreams. Let’s do the simple arithmetic. Here all journalists who have built a Chinese Wall between themselves and Mathematics must listen carefully for Muckraker is not going to dish out this lesson again.
As commander of the army Kamoli earns around M400 000 per year. Now, if the government is going to pay him for M40 million it means they are paying him as if she would have worked for 100 years from now. By that time he would be 152 years old. Kamoli might be loathed but he is sure not immortal.
If we go by the M55 million figure it means he will be getting a salary equivalent to 137 years. That means he will be paid as if he would have worked until he is 189 years old. That doesn’t make sense at all unless you are high on something illegal, just mad or plain stupid.
Readers of local newspapers, including thepost, must be having running tummies from seeing too many headlines with “D-Day” in them.
“D-Day for Likuena”, “D-Day for Lesotho”, “D-Day for Bantu” and “D-Day for blah,blah”.
Our newspapers are now obsessed with “D-Day”.
By now the readers are wondering what D-Day really means. Muckraker was getting confused too until she checked. D-Day simply means a day on which something important is going to happen or is expected to happen. Well, that is what it should mean but it has to be used sparingly lest we go mad from reading D-Day in headlines.
In any case, it is pointless to be calling every day a D-Day as if other days are not important. Historically, D-Day is the day (6 June 1944) in the Second World War on which Allied forces invaded northern France by means of beach landings in Normandy.
Muckraker is beginning to think given the obsessive use of D-Day our newspapers now think the D means delivery or doom. If that is the case then we need deliverance from D-Day headlines before we are doomed.
For now just know that a D-Day headline is a clear sign that the subeditor had experienced a dearth in creativity. It’s an indication of laziness. In most cases it is a sign of dishonesty: that is to say a newspaper is making a meal out of nothing.
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!
News1 month ago
Lerotholi students want charges dropped
Business1 month ago
LEC lights the way
News1 month ago
RFP rocked by death threats
Business1 month ago
Nedbank posts strong growth
Business1 month ago
Iconics Clothing bags big prize
News1 month ago
Police boss hit in pocket
News1 month ago
The ‘ear doctor’ driving change
News1 month ago
Child neglect cases on the rise