THE Democratic Congress (DC)’s kindergarten league is working overtime these days.
As usually their work will not attract any compensation. Never underestimate the zeal of a political volunteer.
If its members are not clobbering each other then they are uniting to fire salvos at the party’s leaders.
The older members of the party have been running for cover as the young fellows unleash bombs on them. The attacks from the young blabbermouths have escalated, leaving the leaders shell-shocked.
One of those stunned elders is Communications Minister Khotso Letsatsi who burnt his fingers this week after trying to cut youth league president Thuso Litjobo to size.
Litjobo was prating on Lesotho Radio when Letsatsi ordered that the programme be stopped. A bitter Litjobo then called Letsatsi for an explanation and harsh words were traded.
But it did not end there because someone recorded the conversation and leaked it, giving fodder to the Maseru rumour mill.
I am going to sue whoever recorded that private conversation, said the minister when he discovered that the recording had been dished out to everyone.
Little Litjobo was however unfazed by the threat.
“We will see whose lawsuit gets to the High Court first,” said the garrulous one.
Letsatsi just doesn’t get it. There are people or things that cannot be muzzled. Many will recall his failure to close Facebook after it gave the government sleepless nights a few months ago. People just laughed him off as he complained bitterly about how people were abusing Facebook.
Now he has started another losing battle with Litjobo, a man whose mouth has conquered all padlocks. You cannot put a stopnonsense on that mouth.
There are two groups you must never fight in a political party: the youths and women. Avoid fighting the youths because they get their energy from many sources, from pennies, illegal substances to even lies. Their naivety is their strength and they have little to lose in an insulting match.
Where you are calling for reason they are gathering more wood for the pyre to roast you. Your cries are music to their ears.
Don’t fight women because they never lose. They fight long, loud and dirty.
Muckraker sincerely hopes the minister will humbly lick his wounds in the comfort of the knowledge that he is neither the first nor the last to come out battered and bruised in a fight with the youths.
When his wounds heal Letsatsi should make it his mission to whisper in the ears of everyone in the DC leadership about the dangers of sparring with cubs.
DC spokesperson Serialong Qoo is one of those who need to keep his ears wide open. And he should block the other ear lest Letsatsi’s wise words escape.
Last week the DC’s ‘young Turk’ told him to put his behind down after he tried to censure and censor the youth league. His gripe was that the young ones were waffling to journalists without the leadership’s permission.
He was trying to call the boys and girls to order after they accused a minister of corruption, an allegation they might soon have to prove.
“The utterances from those youths do not reflect the views of the DC,” Qoo said.
The youth league never said it was speaking on the DC’s behalf.
Qoo had hardly finished his lecture when Litjobo grabbed him by the ears while calling him a mafikizolo in a stampede for relevance.
Having firmly gathered the ears Litjobo dragged Qoo to the nearest chair, whence he deposited his behind. Then he started pinching Qoo’s cheeks as he berated him for forgetting his place in politics.
Litjobo told Qoo he was a political novice whose mouth should remain zipped when it comes to political matters. He reminded Qoo of the ten-year difference in experience in their political leadership.
Anonymous sources say Qoo was kicking and screaming instead of simply nodding.
That could be the reason Litjobo upped the ante.
He reminded Qoo that he is the one who helped him become an MP. Boom! There we have it. According to Litjobo, Qoo is an ungrateful political greenhorn now growing too big for his shows.
Speaking of gratefulness, Muckraker has heard from the grapevine that Qoo is suing his former landlord in the Small Claims Court for a measly M2 000.
Qoo doesn’t say how he reached the figure and how it came that he is owed. But Muckraker can predict that given precedence in similar cases Qoo might come out the loser.
The court might grant him his M2 000 but the landlord can bring his own bill of things he repaired after Qoo left the property. In the end he might win M2 000 to lose M5 000.
Muckraker feels for Masike Ramasike, the landlord who housed Qoo when he was a political nonentity but now has to fight him as a DC Bigwig.
Not so long ago Muckraker’s editors received angry messages from a publisher of a small newspaper in Maseru.
The publisher of the paper notorious for butchering journalistic ethics with verve, wanted the editors to warn Muckraker to desist from firing pop shots at his paper. What got his goat were Muckraker’s harmless questions about the sobriety of his staff when writing stories.
Muckraker had intervened after watching in horror as the reporters mutilated the Queen’s language and waged a spirited battle against established journalism etiquettes.
Indeed there was something horribly wrong and terribly embarrassing with the reportage. They were forever parading their ineptitude as if it was some virtue or talent. So Muckraker loudly wondered if they were sober. Only two things can cause shoddy work: illegal substance in the veins or a morsel of manure in the head.
Instead of thanking Muckraker for her free advice the publisher went haywire, frothing at the mouth. It is important, he said, for newspapers to avoid writing about each other. “Don’t ever write about my newspaper,” he added as if he was talking to a nine-year-old nephew.
Because she had bigger fish to fry Muckraker stopped pointing out the overflowing mistakes in the newspaper. After all, this was a newspaper adamant in its bad ways.
In any case there was nothing further to be gained from whispering words of wisdom to an insolent bunch. Thou shall not stop a pig from wallowing in the puddle of its waste.
The matter was closed with Muckraker keeping her advice to herself while the publisher prodded on with his favourite pastime of bungling.
Then last week the publisher did exactly what he had fumed about months earlier. He wrote about another newspaper. “Lesotho Times faces closure,” bellowed the headline on the front page of last week’s edition.
A plethora of unnamed sources were used in a shameless attempt to prop up what was otherwise a crippled story. That the story was a figment of the publisher’s rich imagination was as clear as a donkey’s nose.
The story started with what was a blatant lie that some government ministries, the police, government spies and the army were at loggerheads over the paper’s closure.
That followed another factoid about the top officials deciding the newspaper’s fate.
In the second paragraph we were told that “everyone wants Lesotho Times and Sunday Express shut down”. What was meant by “everyone” was never defined.
What peeved Muckraker though was the celebratory tone of the story. You could see the reporter or publisher ululating as he wrote the story based on what looked like cooked up evidence.
In rushing to concoct that dubious story the paper missed a crucial story that has been screaming to be written for months. It’s a story of how the paper has become a habitual cheater. Yeh, I said it! The paper is cheating advertisers.
The newspaper has been carrying expired adverts for months. That edition which had a story about the Lesotho Times also carried an expired advert from the Ministry of Water. The advert’s closing date was May 18 but was published on July 27.
The same paper also had a Department of Rural Water Supply advert whose deadline was June 9. The last time Muckraker checked some Chinese shops were in trouble for selling expired products.
The paper’s next edition should read: “News Day faces closure for selling fake adverts”.
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!
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