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Soldiers for hire



MUCKRAKER is still recovering from the terrible dinner she ate at a local upmarket hotel on Christmas day. True, the food was edible but hotels are not in the business of making food that passes that easy test. That is the standard of Muckraker’s mother in Mafube.

Hotels should focus on pleasing the taste buds, not loading tummies. The hotel seems to be now in the business of catering at funerals where people are too heartbroken to mind the taste of food.
The meat tasted like rubber. The vegetables looked like they had been cooked in January 2018. It was a hotchpotch of tosh masquerading as dinner. You winced as you chewed what they called starters.

The dessert was vile (at least the waiters are still decent people).
Muckraker will tell you today that she will never sleep at the hotel again. Even if it’s the only available hotel Muckraker would rather sleep in a tree than endure what they serve as food.
If theirs is their only food Muckraker would rather join cows in the pastures.
We all know that the hotel would never serve such crap at any other hotel in the world. They do it in Lesotho because we don’t have standards.

Muckraker has a funny story to tell about the police. Here it goes. Mapoteng is Lesotho’s matekoane field. They make the most potent weed in those valleys. So it was no surprise that the police recently caught one villager with three bags of dagga.
They shoved him and his contraband into the back of a bakkie and drove to Maseru. But along the way the man decided he was not going to do time for owning bags of a weed everyone owned and smoked. So he pushed the bags out of the moving car.

By the time they got to Peka the man was banging on the window, demanding to speak to the police officers. Irritated, the officers stopped the car and asked why the suspect was being silly.
The man calmly explained that he didn’t know why the police were taking him to Maseru.
“Ntate, stop trying to be clever. We caught you with three bags of matekoane,” said one of the officers.

“You lie officer! Where are the matekoane bags you are talking about,” asked the man, now confident that he had gotten rid of the exhibit.
The officers realised they had been played but did not seem overly concerned.

“Oh, so you threw out your matekoane. Just wait and see,” said one of the officers as they got back into the car.
They drove to Khubetsoana where they passed through one of the officer’s house. There they loaded ten bags of matekoane into the car and drove to the central police station.
They then tortured him until he admitted that he owned the ten bags.

But the police were not content with extracting his ‘confession’. That night they brought the suspect’s wife, father and chief to the police station for torture.
The wife was being clobbered for sleeping with a matekoane grower, the father for raising a matekoane trader and the chief for allowing the land to be used to grow matekoane.
By last week the police were looking for the suspect’s goats and cows. You can be sure that those animals will be tortured until they agree to be witnesses in the man’s trial.
They should admit that their shepherd was paid with drug money. They have to tell the judge that indeed they ate good fodder because their owner is a drug dealer.

The man’s nyatsi is also on the run. The police want to know why she was receiving gifts from a drug dealer. That might sound like an outlandish story but such things happen in Lesotho. They have to happen because we have some of the most vicious officers in the world.

Ironically, it is such brutal officers who get promoted up the ranks. You can be sure that police officers who pummelled villagers in Kao will be rewarded with good ranks. They have to be rewarded because they are doing exactly what Uncle Tom instructed.
He said police must beat suspects. So now they are always in the hunt for suspects to flog. That’s how we roll as a country.

Defence Minister, Tefo Mapesela, is a man on a mission to redefine the word ‘outrageous’.
And he is doing a splendid job of it. One day he was telling soldiers to shoot to kill criminals. The next he was meting instant justice to people whose cattle had strayed into his wheat field.
Muckraker will not say much on his instigation of soldiers because he was preaching to the converted. Our soldiers are already killing. Perhaps we should give Mapesela kudos for telling them to kill ‘criminals’ because that might stop them from killing innocent people.

In any case, there is always a chance that if the instruction is to kill criminals they would start within their own ranks because the army is overflowing with criminals.
Muckraker is not trying to justify the minister’s silly comments but to put them into some context. Someone has to make sense of this madness. It’s impossible to believe that there is no method in such tomfoolery.
It’s too deliberate and elaborate to be a mistake.

The truth is that nothing the minister says changes the sad reality that ours is an unprofessional and trigger-happy force. Nyoe, nyoe, nyoe SADC reforms! My foot!
None of our soldiers have been in real combat so they take every minor dispute as a war.
That’s why most of the fights between soldiers and civilians are triggered by minor issues.

He called my mother names, insulted my girlfriend, he stole my woman, he said soldiers are illiterate and blah, blah, blah.
If you want to confirm that our army is beyond repair or reform look at how Mapesela used some of them as bulldogs in his fight with some villagers.
The story, as told by villagers, is that some naughty herd boys let loose their cattle into Mapesela’s wheat field.

Muckraker was not there but she can assume that the boys were dancing while their animals munched the minister’s wheat. It’s possible that one of them might have said they were merely giving their animals a merry Christmas.
Having herded cattle in Mafube, Muckraker knows that herd boys are a malicious and unrefined lot that act and then think later.

It might not be a wild exaggeration to speculate that one of the boys could have quipped that their animals where having Mapesela’s bread. It was wrong and cannot be condoned but the minister’s reaction stole the whole cake.
He is said to have loaded a battalion of soldiers into a truck and took them to the villagers who sired or employed the rascals. There he acted as both judge and prosecutor to extract the justice he thought he deserved.

He is alleged to have strolled to each kraal and demanded instant compensation.
If a villager had 15 beasts he would take four. Those with five were ordered to surrender two.

By the end of those sham ‘hearings’ Mapesela had a whole herd.
Those who tried to protest were told to remember that the air they breathe doesn’t come from balimo. The minister could say that because he had brought armed soldiers who had guns that could send any villager yonder. So here are the lessons from this spectacle of an event.

One, anyone who claims that Lesotho is a democracy is an unmitigated idiot. Two, anyone who says our army can be reformed has a morsel of manure in their head.
Three, Mapesela has potential to be Uncle Tom’s problem child. Four, nothing changes in this country. Five, we should be very afraid because we have entered a new era were politicians have unbridled control over the army.
Six, we are just but servants in our own country and there is nothing we can do about it.

Seven, Mapesela is not the main course but pudding we are enjoying from a rotten system. Of course, there will be some who will say the villagers deserve what they got because they allowed their herd boys to be silly.
They are right but they forget that the issue is not whether the herd boys were wrong or right.
What is detestable is the manner in which the minister got his justice. Mapesela would not have done the same thing if he didn’t have the army’s support. The villagers would have spanked him down valleys and up hills.

As fair process could still have found that the minister deserved some compensation for his wheat but Muckraker doubts that the reparations would have been of such hefty magnitude. There is a reason why victims are not allowed to act as judges in their own cases.

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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!

Nka! Ichuuuuuuuuuuuu

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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.

Nka! Ichuuuuuuuuuuuu

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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.

Nka! Ichuuuuuuuuuuuu

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