YOU cannot teach new tricks to an old dog.
So they say. And that is quite true especially for dogs.
But old people do learn new tricks. There are old people getting up to monkeyshines they never dabbled in their teens.
They learnt the trickeries when their heads were already awash with snowy hair.
At times it is small lessons like how to dance kwasa-kwasa or gwaragwara.
But there are times when the education just hit an old wrinkled face like a thunderbolt.
The recipient of that late but thundering lesson is Motlohi Maliehe, the former tourism minister, who was recently yanked out of office.
The lesson is that arrogance is not a political strategy. And even if it was, it’s not really a working strategy.
Watch now as Maliehe pounds the streets of Butha-Buthe, jobless.
But that is only lesson 101 of his course and it’s not that important because Maliehe is way past the ‘I beg to apply position’ age.
If he is broke he will just hobble along and hope he wins lotto before he kicks the bucket.
He probably has some savings stashed somewhere under his mattress.
The real education is on the intricate relationship between power and the bedroom.
You will be a daft one to pretend that Maliehe was fired for his crusade against corruption as he claims. This has nothing to do with sleaze or even the perceived power struggle in the ABC.
Nada! Nor is he a victim of some scheming cabal of young turkeys that want to wash the party of old horses.
Maliehe is jobless today because he walked into Uncle Tom bedroom and defecated in a corner.
The stink of his deposit is what angered Uncle Tom.
You may ask how he could have performed such a despicable act.
Well, he attacked ‘Maesaiah Thabane in broad daylight and then walked with his head held high when he should have been grovelling for clemency.
Power, as Maliehe learnt late, lies in the bedroom.
Here Muckraker means power in the broadest sense. The bedroom rules in churches, stokvels, burial societies, Tupperware projects or families.
If the madam doesn’t like you then you are history. If you disturb the boss’s madam you are history. Maliehe chose the wrong target for his political attack.
He could have attacked Uncle Tom himself, his uncles, sisters and grandparents.
He could have aimed his salvos at Uncle Tom’s goats, pigs and ducks. He could have peed on the ABC emblem and called the whole coalition government a bunch of thieving thugs.
Still Uncle Tom would have ignored him like a minor irritant.
The trouble is that he went for ‘Maesaiah, the apple of Uncle Tom’s eye.
Muckraker is yet to find an impressionable fellow to trick into a marriage but she is well versed with matters of the heart.
No one has ever won a war with the bedroom.
Men have thrown their mothers under trains to keep peace in their bedrooms. They have denied their children, the very one they sired in bedrooms, because of the bedroom.
Men have been estranged from their relatives because the bedroom politics dictate so. Muckraker is not suggesting that you should ingratiate yourself with the boss’s Mrs.
The idea is to keep your distance. Speak no ill about her.
Appreciate that she can end your career. Know that your future can be discussed and clobbered during pillow-talk.
Of course Basotho men will deny this because they like to portray that lousy macho persona in public. Nyoe, nyoe, nyoe, ’na ke monna. Nyoe, nyoe, nyoe ha ke laeloe ke mosali. Just shut up already.
We know how you mellow when your ears and other things are killed. Zip it because everyone knows that you are like a baby when little things are whispered to you. The only reason you have not robbed a bank for her is because you have neither the skill nor the imagination to pull off such a complicated scheme.
If you haven’t bought her a house or a car it’s because you are broke. The heart and the mind are willing but the pockets have holes.
So just cut the crap about being a tough guy immune to pillow talk.
As someone who had breathed his fair share of this earth’s air, Maliehe probably knew this already. He just needed to write a supplementary exam on the course.
Maybe it was a refresher course. Or one of those government workshops were civil servants pretend they are learning something new because the boss who is paying their per diems is watching them like a hawk.
Still it was important for him go through the process because it teaches the young ones a thing or two. It’s never a bad idea for old people to be guinea pigs so that the young can get an education.
His mistake was probably to overestimate his bond with Uncle Tom. You see, they have been comrades for decades. They were together in the nocturnal meetings that birthed the ABC. You could say they are brothers from different mothers.
“We are the last remaining stalwarts,” he likes to say when he hears the sound of ululations as he bludgeons the First Lady.
All that is true but it doesn’t conquer the bedroom. It is child’s play when it comes to matters of the heart. A man will abandon his friends and relatives for a woman.
It doesn’t take years like building a political party or the Lesotho Royal Palace.
The heart just has to tinkle and tickle before comrades are shoved under a bus.
To show that Maliehe is probably green behind the ears about these matters you just have to hear him whining about Uncle Tom not answering or returning his calls.
He obviously doesn’t know that if the First Lady is in charge of what Uncle Tom can wear it means she can also control whose calls he answers.
Uncle Tom is no longer the sneaky type. He is not going to sprint to the bathrooms to answer his phone.
The phone sits there on the table where everyone can see. And when it rings it announces to everyone that Maliehe is calling. Then ‘Maesaiah can simply tell him not to answer by giving him that look. The look that says “don’t answer that fool”.
The eye that says “pick that phone and you sleep in the spare bedroom tonight”.
All men know that look. Maliehe was naïve to think Uncle Tom would behave otherwise. The education of Maliehe is complete.
Muckraker thought she knew English until she stumbled upon the word ‘Golpista’. What made it stand out was where it was used.
It was in a lawsuit Thuso Litjobo has filed against Bokang Ramatsella for defamation.
It’s an irony of breath-taking proportions that a garrulous man is suing another garrulous man for slander.
Litjobo is seeking M6 million in damages from Ramatsella. That’s like demanding M6 million from Wasco or the Lesotho Bus and Freight Company, both known for being broke rather than their core business.
Litjobo accuses Ramatsella of calling him a reckless rascal who takes pleasure in toppling governments. That alone would have sufficed but Litjobo’s lawyer, KD Mabudu, went for the biggest Thesaurus.
There he pulled out the word “golpista” which simply means ‘a leader of a coup’.
Now, KD could have simply said Litjobo is unhappy with Ramatsella for calling him a Lekhanya but he went for ‘golpista’ instead.
The word can also mean swindler, scammer or fraudster.
But in this case KD had a ‘coup leader’ in mind when he reached for that word.
Let the education begin. Golpismo is the doctrine that advocates taking power through coups. Golpisti is the plural for golpista. If the coup leaders are two or more women they are called golpiste. Smarter now? You are welcome!
Now imagine this word being explained to Litjobo. The instructive word here is ‘imagine’. Muckraker wouldn’t want to be the teacher. She can only hope that those who undertake this endavour have the spine for it.
It might be six months before an attentive Litjobo finally nods his head and says: “O, kea bona!”. Hana u itse goalpost kapa goalpoint?
Still that is not the point Muckraker is labouring to make. The crux of the matter is that KD Mabudu is the one who should be sued for alleging that Litjobo could have found the word ‘golpista’ in his head.
In what corner of Litjobo’s head did ‘golpista’ reside? Which street of the mind? Which donga, KD Mabudu?
Litjobo must sue his lawyer for accrediting him with the sophistication he doesn’t have. The enemy is within earshot comrade Litjobo.
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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