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The Maliba of racism



MALIBA Lodge, that overhyped compound of chalets, is accused of racial discrimination.

A guest complained that whites were separated from blacks in the restaurant.

Their group of blacks, she said, were hidden in a corner near the kitchen.

Muckraker is not in the business of sprinkling salt on festering wounds and will never attest to what she didn’t see or experience.

What has been proven beyond reasonable doubt is that Maliba Lodge’s management is hopelessly incompetent at public relations and media crisis management.

That much is clear from the audio of Stephen Phakisi, the managing director, responding to the racism allegations.

The audio is only useful in teaching managers and business owners to keep away from assignments beyond their qualifications and experience.

Public relations is something Phakisi should never attempt because he sucks at it.

In the audio Phakisi peppers his whining with arrogant statements that reveal his contempt for those who have dared to add their voices to the debate.

He insinuates, without much prodding, that most of those talking about the incident have never been “paying customers”.

He misses the point by miles. You don’t need to have spent a cent at Maliba Lodge to have an opinion about the incident. Nor do you have to understand the issue or know where the lodge is. You can say what you want even if you believe Maliba is in Mafeteng and offers day rest services for M100.

Phakisi also moans about the unfairness of the allegations as if that matters.

What matters is what people think about the allegations of racism.

More importantly, it matters more how the complainant interpreted their treatment.

Maybe they felt they were being hidden in the corner because of the colour of their to avoid tainting the lodge’s reputation as an exclusive white corner of Lesotho.

They could have thought they were being punished for just rocking up at the lodge as if they were buying makoenya and litapole at Mamas’ Café.

They probably thought they were put near the kitchen for the management to give their white guests the impression that they feed their employees well.

Phakisi doesn’t acknowledge these and other possible feelings and perceptions yet they are the possible causes of the fiasco he is trying to manage.

Muckraker thought Phakisi’s embarrassing performance would have been because he was ambushed with questions. But no. The lodge’s statement is equally scruffy and dismissive of the complainant and general complaints.

It breaks the first rule of dealing with a crisis: humbly acknowledge the feelings of the complainant, customer or victim – whether real or perceived – before anything else.

From the opening line, the management says it’s deeply pained by the accusations of racism. It says it feels “insulted” and “disappointed”.

The guest’s pain and dissatisfaction are not even acknowledged.

Nor is the “misunderstanding” that caused the mess explained and contextualised.

The only evidence that Maliba Lodge is not racist is that they “love the beautiful country of Lesotho and Basotho people”.

The statement sounds like it was written by a white person. If the author is black Muckraker will bet her last kobo that a white person was looking over their shoulder and dictating the words.

You know a statement is written or influenced by a white person when it says “Basotho people”. How many legs does that animal have?

Basotho are the people and the people are Basotho. No need to qualify, unless you are just uninterested or ignorant of Sesotho.

In case you are one of those “Basotho people” who keep moaning about racism, Maliba arrogantly reminds you to calm down and be grateful because they “strive to help empower local Basotho’s (sic) through employment and our community trust”.

Maliba Lodge doesn’t have any problem mentioning its jobs and donations in a statement dealing with allegations of racism.

As for the guest and others who might be primitive enough to ambush the restaurant with a food order, Maliba’s management has an answer: Don’t just rock up or we will roast you in the kitchen heat.

We are told that the complaining guest now understands that they “jumped to the wrong conclusion”. The lodge is saying it looked like racism but it was just procedure.

More like a confused Mosotho who likes to whine about procedures they don’t understand. An oversensitive blabbermouth, if you like.

This is the same “procedure” another guest endured five years ago when a white chef allegedly told her to f*** off for complaining about their shoddy food.

She followed the booking procedure but was still told to go hang.

The statement stinks of a superiority complex.

It says those complaining are beneath Maliba Lodge’s target market.

Phakisi hinted the same when he said the local market, Basotho to be precise, are the burger and chips diners. That might be true but not something a trained communicator would say.

Muckraker’s only wish is that the management of the ‘5-star’ Maliba would at least learn to spell. They think they are superior but spell severely as “serverly”.

They say “Basotho people” instead of Basotho. Superior people who are hostile to commas and full stops. Phew!

Nka! Ichuuuuuuuuuuu!

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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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