That’s a pregnant, witty and precise adage from a country north of us.
It’s pregnant because it carries real meaning, witty because it is normally said tongue in cheek and precise because it captures what Scrutator wants to talk about this week.
Last week a minister announced that soon she will be visiting Basotho children adopted somewhere far outside the country.
Her principal secretary was going to tag along on those trips, she said.
That announcement was both good and sad.
It was good because it helped quash the malicious allegation she is not doing much.
It was however sad because she uttered some lame words that made her attempt to look relevant just plain daft.
Granted, she is a minister of an important portfolio in the chakalaka government.
Yet we must not rush to be thankful until she delivers in her job.
hen a person says they can fly an aeroplane let them try flying one.
Egg will be on their face when they fail to get the plane off the ground.
Last June, the salad government said it could govern the country.
It got the handles of power and is now at it, governing the country.
The problem is that the cattle have not yet come home and the plane is yet to fly.
There is activity but very little progress.
And there is no need for an inquiry to find out why things haven’t moved much in the past year.
The answer is as clear as a pig’s nose.
The problem is that most of our ministers are at sea, unaware of their real job descriptions and unperturbed by their ignorance. They say ignorance is bliss.
The minister’s trip provides ample evidence of this ignorance.
That she actually believes it’s her role to visit adopted children is proof that she does not know her job and she is groping in the dark.
In other countries the business of visiting adopted children is the responsibility of junior social workers.
Ministers don’t have business knocking on private doors in foreign countries asking about the living conditions of children adopted from their countries.
The responsibility of a minister is to drive the implementation of government policy and not to do social work.
Scrutator has no doubt that a junior social worker can do the job that the minister and her PS are clamouring to do.
Would the minister and her PS have taken this otherwise lowly responsibility if the children were adopted by foreign families living in, say, villages in the countryside? Phew!
till it would be unfair to lynch the minister and her PS for they are doing what they think is right.
Oops, did I say that?
Scrutator meant to say they are doing what other ministers are doing: battling for relevance by taking the responsibilities of junior officers.
It’s all because most ministers don’t really know what they are paid to do.
In the end they busy themselves with mundane issues while their main responsibilities remain unattended.
The result is a government with policies that are decent on paper but poorly implemented.
Their jobs hijacked by political appointees, junior officers fold their arms and watch while ministers bungle left, right and centre.
Scrutator hears there are some ministers in the coalition government who want to control even small things like stationery and tissues in the toilet.
The toilet is blocked, call the minister.
Your computer doesn’t work, call the minister.
They will happily do it because they really don’t know why they were appointed in the first place.
Little wonder we now have whole ministers giving speeches at small things like beauty pageants and weddings in their official capacities.
ut it will be naive to assume that most of the ministers are clamouring for responsibilities that are not theirs because they are unaware of what they should be doing.
Most genuinely want to control small things for other reasons.
Your see, some ministers want to control small things because they want to abuse their authority.
A minister who wants to interview people for a cleaner’s job is most likely trying to employ people, goats and cows from his party, family or village.
Ministers who want to micromanage things are normally up to some mischief.
Ministers who want to compete with their junior officers for petty conferences outside the country are eyeing per diems.
Those who want to know which company supplied pens probably want their own friends to get the contract.
They want a piece of the cake.
n most cases however ministers who want to micromanage their subordinates and hijack the role of juniors are incompetent.
To make up for their ineptness they want to control everything.
Because they are insecure about their abilities they think everyone below them is trying to run rings around them.
They would rather control everything because they want to take credit for everything even though they contributed zilch to the process.
That is not surprising because some of the ministers in the salad government actually stumbled into their jobs.
The jobs found them.
Once in a while some of them pinch themselves to check if they are really the ones in the driving seat.
They are shocked to be government ministers.
One day they were tending their gardens and the next they were in the cabinet, discussing our future.
Some were appointed because their parties needed to meet their quota of ministers in the coalition government.
There was no real orientation.
No wonder some of them have swam to the deep-end and they are gulping mouthfuls of water as they struggle to keep afloat.
Instead of saving them we must let them drown.
They said they can swim so now they must swim.
The next four years are going to be hell for some ministers.