Playing lotto with public funds

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E

ureka!

This week Prime Minister Pakalitha Mosisili found his voice to condemn the rampant corruption that has engulfed this country like a cancer.

Scrutator would like to thank whoever had stolen Mosisili’s voice for giving it back to him.

She however has a sneaky feeling that her instalment on the government’s conspicuous silence about corruption a few weeks ago could have jolted the man from Qacha into action.

By the way, Mosisili is an avid reader of this column.

Neither he nor his cahoots will deny it.

All the same, it was refreshing to hear the man from Qacha talking tough on corruption.

He warned civil servants, this country’s looter-in- chiefs, against dipping their fingers into state coffers.

“Do not commit corruption because if you do you will be knocking on prison’s doors,” Mosisili said. “Refrain from the temptation of corruption and misuse of funds and property. Make full use of the little that will be put at your disposal.”

Scrutator is pleased by those words but she is not rubbing her hands in glee for she understands that this government has a knack for saying things it doesn’t really mean.

They say words are cheap but in this country words are free.

They have long ceased to be cheap.

For instance, will it not shock you if I announce today that we have something called the Directorate of Corruption and Economic Offences (DCEO)?

Yes, we actually have something like that in this country but it has been reduced to chasing after mackerel while the sharks do bum jive.

Sometimes you wonder what those so-called investigators at the directorate spend their day doing.

Don’t they play solitaire or morabaraba during office hours?

The government must put video games in that office because those officers are bored sick by just starring at their computers.

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crutator will only celebrate when the government starts jailing the real fat crooks in this poor country.

Only then will Scrutator pat the man from Qacha on the back.

In the meantime he must shout, shout, shout and shout about corruption.

But even if he shouts until his voice is gone corruption in this country will never stop unless there are systems that make it hard for thieves to dip their long calloused fingers into the treasury.

If the prime minister is serious about curbing corruption he must start right at the top.

How about forcing politicians to declare their assets before they take office?

How about asking people to account for what they own when they leave office?

It boggles the mind why a country that has been stripped to bare bones by corrupt officials doesn’t just demand a little accountability from public office bearers.

Mosisili doesn’t need to throw bones to see that some people are plundering our resources with gusto.

He must just look at the lifestyles of those who are in top government jobs.

It is as clear as a goat’s behind that civil servants, including the senior ones, earn peanuts yet some of them live like kings. They spend like they have just bought a money printer.

The mathematics doesn’t just tally at all. Civil servants who earn small change are driving cars with obscene price tags.

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he truth of the matter is that very few senior government officials are living within their means.

While juniors are living hand-to-mouth the seniors are living large.

If Mosisili wants to deal with corruption he must ask every senior government official to do some simple equations.

He must ask how a man living on a net monthly salary of M10 000 while feeding six hungry mouths can afford to build a M2 million mansion.

In the next cabinet meeting he must just ask his ministers to put their hands on the table and account for the expensive jewellery they have. It is that simple.

There are men and women in this government who have become pathological thieves.

There are kleptomaniacs in this government. They no longer steal for need.

Their thieving is no longer driven by greed. They steal because they can.

Your know the kind of people that are so used to stealing that they want to steal food at a buffet they have paid for.

There are people who will have nightmares if they walk out of their offices without having stolen something from the government.

They are so used to the thrill of thieving that when they break into a house and they find nothing worth stealing they will just pick up an old mop and dash for the door. What particularly gets Scrutator’s blood boiling is the incongruence of Mosisili’s statement to the government’s actions on the ground.

Was it not this government that recently rewarded a well-known thief against all logic and reason?

Every year the auditor general tabulates a long list of mindboggling thieving in the government but no one gets arrested.

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abotage!

This is what Scrutator thinks lecturers at that God-forsaken ‘high school’ in Roma are determined to do to ensure the National University of Lesotho (Amendment) Bill is dead in the water.

The lecturers, ‘kitchen technicians’ and ‘landscape designers’ at NUL are all up in arms against the proposed law that seeks to bring order at the college.

The proposed law, Scrutator thinks, is the best thing that has happened at the university in a very, very long time.

Finally we have an administration that seeks to push lecturers to do what they are paid for every month.

Scrutator therefore cannot understand this brouhaha about the law being draconian.

We must deal with the demon that wants to hold back national progress.

That demon is laziness.

Scrutator hears feeble arguments that the new law is anti-worker, that it is draconian and that it is anti-people.

What hogwash!

If there is any law that the university needs it is the NUL (Amendment) Bill.

It is not as if workers at NUL are being pushed to work from “can’t see in the morning” to “can’t see in the evening”.

They are merely being asked to work — like all of us — to earn a decent wage.

Their cry-baby business must come to a stop.

As for the MPs that walked out of parliament this week to protest against the Bill Scrutator can only say “Oh sweeeeeeeet!”

It has been a long time since they did something that made news.

You can understand such attention-seeking antics from people who can’t even spell their names under pressure.

Really, Scrutator understands what happens when an MP spends half the time on voicemail when important matters are discussed in parliament.

It’s not by default that a group of owls is called a parliament.

Laughing out loud now is Scrutator.

Next week, I bring you the nominees for the legendary Mediocrity Awards.

Nominations are welcome.

Ache!

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