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Stealing for fun



THAT those in power are thieves who have set up camp outside the national vault cannot be contested (those who dispute this have morsels of manure in their heads).
They steal from the government hand over fist. Unrepentant crooks on steroids, they are. By electing them we have sent rats to the granary.  And so they rob us with zest while wondering how we could be so daft to keep them in office.

In private whiskey-oiled meetings, they laugh at our gullibility. Away from our prying eyes they load their bellies with delicacies while sharing notes on how well to cover their tracks.
It is as clear as the goat’s behind that these felons, masquerading as our leaders, are on a mission to impoverish us.  Yet, if the truth be told, we are a country of thieves: from the lowest village bumpkins to the top politicians.

Those in government are easy to bash because they are in the public glare and they have votes attached to their names. Let that sink in a bit before you start fuming and throwing tantrums.
I am going to add flesh to that biting point.

The reality is that everyone in this country is capable of being a thief. Let me revise that and say everyone in this country is probably stealing somewhere somehow.
The only difference is that some are stealing peanuts while others are looting millions. Some are nicking because they are desperate while others are robbing to satisfy their gluttony.
Whether you look at it from the forehead or bum, it remains thievery.

Deep in the most remote of villages are men and women who are either pinching burial society money, conniving to sneak their relatives’ names on the fato-fato lists or have already cooked up a baptismal certificate to crank up their ages so they get the government pension.

There is probably a herd boy marooned on a mountain somewhere, trying to call his employer to utter lies about some “dead” sheep that he has either swallowed or converted into cash.
There is a rural headmaster who has confused the schools’ money for his. There is a teacher whose small house is teeming with government books he has just ‘forgotten” to give to students (ever wondered why the teacher’s child has all the necessary books with school stamps?)

There is probably a pastor of a little village church who is busy stuffing his pockets with tithes.  But I am clean, you might say with a straight face. Muckraker says “Yeh, clean for now because you are yet to get a chance to shove your calloused fingers into the cookie far”.  The deterrent to thievery is not jail or punishment because, as history shows, crooks rarely get punished in Lesotho.
What stops you from stealing is the lack of opportunity and maybe the skill to cover your tracks.

What irritates Muckraker is that the public and politicians like to pretend to be shocked when they hear that monies or things have mysteriously grown legs and relocated to someone’s bank account or home.

There is nothing as maddening as feigned outrage. While officially opening a school atop Berea plateau a few weeks ago, Size Two was aghast at news that some ‘innovative’ villager had found a way to separate three computers from the school.

He shuddered at the temerity of someone to take the computers.  He described the incident as “unfortunate” as if it’s a rarity.  From a distance Muckraker could not help but think this was actually a fortunate incident because not all computers were stolen and someone did not have the evilness to steal the whole school.

Size Two was therefore being ungrateful. He should have said: “Well done for stealing just three computers. At least you left some for the school”.
It is astounding that Size Two was grousing over three computers, probably stolen by some hungry villagers, when millions are being siphoned out of the country through nefarious deals like the Bidvest one.

It could be that small people should not steal because the government hates competition.  Last week Water Affairs Minister, Kimetso Mathaba, started his own moaning party as he bitterly complained about two manhole covers he said had disappeared.

While he harangued the poor Teya-teyaneng villagers for failing to protect their property a senior official in his ministry was being accused of dishing out tenders to companies related to him by blood.

Muckraker will not say much on this subject lest she be arm-twisted to produce evidence she doesn’t have. It’s sufficient to say there is no smoke without fire.
The point here is that everyone is stealing or is about to steal. Look to the left and the right in your office and you are probably looking at a thief or a potential crook.
That is just how it is. We share a country, houses, offices or pillows with thieves.

What informs our collective anger towards the wanton stealing are two things: the socialisation that says it is wrong to steal and the jealous towards those who are stealing. That is to say you are hurt because your mother said never steal and someone else has beaten you to the cookie jar.
Just when is Uncle Tom coming back home?

He has been leading his supporters down the garden path over the past few months. One day they wake up to some sensational headline that his bags are packed and MaIsiah is holding his hands up the road to Maseru Bridge.

The next week they hear he is still waiting for the pathetic organisation called SADC to sort out his security issues. A few days later he tells them his return is imminent.
Still his supporters gobble this tosh like chicks being fed. Wise Muckraker is not sold, so she went hunting for theories.  The first is that having tasted the good life on the other side of Mohokare River, Maisiah has no interest in coming back home.  Raise your hand if you loathe her for that. Raise it higher.

Now, listen you hypocrites. Maisiah is just being a typical Mosotho: patriotic at heart but practical in life.  They sing the national anthem with passion, scream when their country is criticised and go crazy when they feel foreigners are pinching their privileges.  Yet by night they are plotting their way out of their beloved country.

The second theory, which is equally persuasive, is that Uncle Tom himself feels coming back to Maseru is a huge demotion on the high life he has been living.
Having spent all his life watching goats and sheep courting each other, the old man probably wants to enjoy himself in the last days of his life.
The third is that he just wants to whet the appetites of his supporters who think he is the best thing to happen after sliced bread. Phew!
Are we they waiting for the second coming of Jesus? We know he is coming but we just don’t know when.

Something stinks about the Speaker of Parliament Ntlhoi Motsamai’s plot to kick out opposition MPs.
She might be right at law but horribly wrong on timing.

She has instantly thrown herself into the messy politics of this country.  “C” is the mark on her face to represent her association with the congress parties.
Now she is being accused of having a bulldog in this fight even if she is following the law to the letter.  The problem, of course, is that Motsamai does not realise how precarious the situation is at the moment.

Instead of treading carefully she is adding more wood and paraffin to the pyre. All these shenanigans are at the expense of otherwise a sterling reputation.
Muckraker just cannot understand why Motsamai, a clever woman, would want to throw her image into the gutter.

Curiously, she has allowed the opposition MPs to tell the story on her behalf and they have done a splendid job of portraying her as a villain out to pillage their numbers in parliament to insulate the government from an imminent Jackie Chan kick from the opposition.

Motsamai thinks people can separate facts from fiction and propaganda from information.
She is hoping that those bludgeoning her will see reason. She is roasting maize while her enemies are digging her political grave.

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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.

Nka! Ichuuuuuuuuuuuu

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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.

Nka! Ichuuuuuuuuuuuu

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Rough riders



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!

Nka! Ichuuuuuuuuuuuu

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