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Tripped by tricks



WE begin the year with a folktale. Once upon a time Rabbit and Baboon were good friends. They ate, farmed, played and even fornicated together.

But, as we all know, familiarity breeds contempt.
So one day Baboon invites Rabbit to what he touted the “mother of all parties”. Being courteous Rabbit took the liberty to ask Baboon if there is anything he should bring to the party. “No my good fellow, just bring your clan and their empty bellies. This feast will be on me,” Baboon replied.

And so on the agreed date Rabbit rounded up his tribe and walked to Baboon’s village, where they found the shindig in full swing.  The apes were enjoying the merry waters and good food.
“Welcome my friend,” Baboon said as soon as he saw Rabbit. “I am glad you have come but as you know we baboons are happiest when we are in trees. So we have decided that this party will be held in tress,” he said as he climbed the tallest tree with a huge pot of meat in hand.

Confused, Rabbit asked whether his friend had forgotten that he cannot climb a tree.
“So what my friend, it’s not my problem. This party is being held in trees so just make a plan or you will starve.”

Rabbit and his clan spent the day looking for a way to climb the trees to join the party but they failed. By sunset they had realised what nasty game Baboon had played on them.
They trooped out of Baboon’s village while farting the gases of their empty bellies. Meanwhile baboons were laughing as they pelted the rabbits with their meatless bones. That incident however did not damage their relations.

If Rabbit was hurt he hid it well. They still ate, farmed and fornicated together. Baboon too seemed to have forgotten that he had offended his friend.
Then after a year Rabbit suddenly invited Baboon and his tribe to his party.  And so on an agreed date Baboon and his clan sprinted to Rabbit’s village.

They did not see something sinister in that Rabbit had set a fire on the perimetre around his village the previous day. Out of curiosity Baboon asked why he had to burn the grass around the village. “It’s just for cleanliness my friend. That is just how I am,” Rabbit said.
But just as food was about to be served Rabbit made a startling announcement to the baboons.

“We ran out of water just as you came in. So you should go to the river just outside the village to clean your hands before we eat. Only those with clean hands can eat my food.” Baboon and his clan dashed to the river. On coming back they passed though the burnt perimetre. Rabbit was waiting to inspect them at the gate.

“Ah your hands are black.  Go back and clean them again,” he told the baboons one by one. Baboon and his clan spent the whole day washing their hands and sprinting back to Rabbit who would then tell them that their hands were still not clean.
Eventually Baboon realised there was no way he was going to get to the village with his hands clean. “But why did you burn the perimetre my friend? Now we cannot get to the party with our hands clean,” Baboon complained.

“My friend I really want you to enjoy my food but the rules say only those with clean hands eat. As for me burning of the parameter, I can assure you it’s none of your business because this is my village,” Rabbit replied. Hungry and frustrated, Baboon and his clan decided to go back home. You might be wondering how that folktale relates to your life.

It’s the politics of our time!  Time and again our politicians have played that Baboon-Rabbit game. Remember the shenanigans of DJ Waters and Uncle Tom. They were friends until one thought the other one was dispensable. The result was an election we did not need. A money-wasting escapade.

Now we are facing another election because Size Two and Mokola have played the same game. The jury is still out on who will have the last laugh and laugh the loudest.
What we know for now is that Mokola thought he was spitting on Size Two when he eloped to Uncle Tom. He tried to kick Size Two out of the Damaged Congress.
Like Baboon, he insisted on having his jamboree in the tree. And for a moment it looked like he was having the upper hand.  You can forgive him for getting carried away because he had his acolytes in the executive committee, his propaganda machine was working like it had fresh oil and Size Two was hiding under rocks.

His only mistake was to think that the DC constitution was the same as the LCD one.
Now he is in no man’s land. A political Siberia of sorts. Without the benevolence of Uncle Tom he is finished.

Going back to the DC is out of question given the acrimonious nature of the divorce. He has since formed his own party but you can see that his hand was forced.
Ambitious without clout. On the road but not moving. Eager but out of options. Smart but unsalable.

Yet Size Two himself should not ululate for this is by no means a victory. His is a party on a slippery slope to self-destruction. Those around him should know that their days of reckoning will come too.
There will come a time when they too will be considered to have grown too big for their shoes.  The DC, like other political parties of the congress stripe, will continue to shrink.

Let’s deal with the nauseating nicety that pervades our greetings at the beginning of every year.
“Compliments of the New Year,” says everyone Muckraker has met since she gate-crashed into 2017 a few days ago.

No smile and no firm handshake accompany those hollow words. Words uttered to fulfil a meaningless ritual whose import they don’t understand.
They behave as if someone is holding a screwdriver against their behinds, ready to poke them hard if they don’t say “Compliments of the New Year”.

Muckraker swears by her late grandmother, whose remains are interred on an anthill in Mafube, that she has seen some people follow those words with a frown.
Sometimes those words are followed with a ‘plastic smile’ and an ice cold hug. Enough about this business of compliments. Just zip it and get on with this misery month called January.
The sooner this month ends the faster your perforated pockets are mended. Next time you run into your enemy just look aside and curse the gods for allowing such a person to waste the precious oxygen in 2017.

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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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