THE worst insults use authentic symbols. That is why words like ‘stupid’, ‘silly’, ‘idiot’ or ‘moron’ don’t really bruise a Mosotho’s ego.
They are just English words incapable of conjuring symbols of something tangible in our lives.
But if you say something nasty about a mother you will have your already ugly face violently rearranged.
You are applying for a one-way ticket to your ancestors if you talk about private parts.
If you want to call someone an idiot you say u jele maeba le bale (you ate pigeons at a girls’ initiation school). That is stinging and richer that just saying you are a nincompoop.
Basotho men know that only insults involving a mother, wife and a loin cloth justify rolling up your sleeves for a brawl.
Nearing 80 years on this earth, Uncle Tom knows this quite well. That is why when he went for Professor Nqosa Mahao he used the loin cloth.
‘‘Haeba ho na le moo batho ba nang le tšeea, e tšoanetseng ho hlakola serita, tšeea eno ha se Kobo-Tata” (If people have a loincloth, and that loincloth has to wipe faeces, that loincloth is not the ABC). Let’s get the symbols right so we can balance this equation.
Inside the loin cloth is a string that goes down the valley in which the spring resides. We can call it the ‘string’ part of the G-string, (if you don’t know what a G-string is then you need deliverance from ignorance).
It is that string that is prone to being soiled by manure. That’s obvious because of its proximity to the well.
So anyone who says your string has dung is implying that you have not wiped well or you haven’t mastered the art of bum wiping.
Wiping the bum is the second skill children learn after mastering how to feed themselves.
The logic is clear: now that you can eat on your own you must now know how to complete the process of taking a dump.
But if you miss that education, you will continue to soil your loin into adulthood.
Muckraker doesn’t know why Uncle Tom would use such an insult on our lovable professor.
Professor Mahao’s alleged crime is to have ambitions to be Uncle Tom’s deputy. Why that is the same as him wiping his dirty loin cloth on the ABC, only Uncle Tom knows. What matters is that we now know what Uncle Tom thinks of the professor.
Uncle Tom later took to the radio to apologise and withdraw his insults. That, of course, does not change a thing because the words have landed on the professor like a sjambok.
The problem with apologies is that they are rarely sincere, especially when politics is involved. In this case, Uncle Tom’s insults were not a result of an angry outburst. He wasn’t reacting to a spontaneous action from Professor Mahao because the fight has been around for more than a month. They were premeditated and probably rehearsed.
We should also remember that Uncle Tom only withdrew his words but did not change his perception of the professor. He probably still thinks that the professor is a “dirty rag flying around” and a PFD turncoat trying to muscle his way into the ABC leadership.
On radio, Uncle Tom said he withdrew the words but did not say he did not mean them.
Remember that an apology is as important as what motivates it. It is inconceivable that Uncle Tom would have been suddenly overwhelmed by guilt. He has done worse things and has never apologised.
Uncle Tom rarely regrets things.
It is also highly unlikely that Professor Mahao, himself a battle-hardened fellow, could have secretly pleaded with Uncle Tom to apologise.
So what drove the uncle to say sorry? Muckraker is still trying to distil some theories. For now she can only speculate. The apology could be part of Uncle Tom’s political strategy. He always varies his bites.
It could also be that his better half told him that he has gone too far. It was not long ago that his sweetheart was also apologising for her shenanigans (Muckraker will deal with her monkeyshines next week).
Still the apology and what motivated it doesn’t change the fact that Professor Mahao’s bid to enter the ABC leadership is in tatters. Not many apologies are a result of deep introspection and remorse.
What Uncle Tom said is precisely what she thinks of him. The ball is now in the professor’s court. He could pull the middle finger on the old man and proceed with his fight or he could just lay low for a few years while he licks his wounds. Time is on his side.
Uncle Tom will not rule the ABC forever and people will soon forget the insults.
Muckraker is disgusted by the way some newspapers handled a recent heinous crime allegedly committed by Tšeliso Nthane, the owner of Nthane Brothers.
It is not denied that Nthane shot the poor driver at the accident scene.
Yet we have some reporters trying to mollycoddle Nthane as if he is a victim of circumstances.
One newspaper opened the story with a line about Nthane being in hospital. Another was quick to point out that this is being described as an accident. Holy dung!
This is despite that the police have already charged Nthane with murder.
The Sunday Express, the poor sister of the Lesotho Times, stole the show in this nobbled reporting contest.
Somehow its reporter managed to find a Mosotho man who spoke eloquently about Nthane being a good man who has changed many lives. The newspaper said the man from Berea wanted to be identified as just Thabo.
What Thabo said about the incident left Muckraker stunned.
“I am sorry for the bereaved family. Nothing that can be done will replace what they have lost. I also feel sorry for Mr Nthane. He could have acted out of rage. It happens to the best of us.
It is sad how people have concluded that the killing was intentional. Many are throwing stones at him forgetting the impact he has had on many lives. He has employed so many people in Lesotho,” Thabo said.
So there you have it: a pinch of sympathy for the dead man’s family and a huge dose of empathy for Nthane plus a mention of his good deeds sprinkled with a naked attempt to chip away at the motive.
The quotation sounded like it was coming from one of Nthane’s friends or relatives. It was too perfect to have been spoken by a layman who had just bumped into a journalist looking for a view about the incident.
Muckraker doubts that this Thabo actually exists. Most probably it is the journalist quoting herself.
Yes, Muckraker has said it. And she will say it again. Thabo is a fake character invented by the reporter. He was manufactured so he can say the things the reporter could not say.
Common Thabo would not say such nonsense. Basotho don’t sympathise with people accused of murder. They are outraged at the loss of life first before they think about the suspect. They don’t feel sorry for murder suspects.
Notice that Thabo’s location was identified as Berea, the district, and not a specific village in Berea.
In the story the views of the dead man’s family are buried in later paragraphs.
Muckraker is warning reporters against taking sides with rich and powerful individuals. If they want to speak for the powerful they should apply for jobs as bootlickers or propagandists.
Until they get those jobs they should remember that their role is to stand for the truth and the downtrodden.
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!
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.
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.
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