Who is Mampara of The Year?

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s the curtain comes down on an eventful 2013, I have been debating with myself about who the best candidate for the coveted Mampara of the year award should be.

By the time of going to print I still could not figure out who the winner should be. It has been an eventful year and the competition appears to be very stiff.

Whoever the cap fits from the ones below, let them wear it.

Could it be the scumbag, Lehlohonolo Scott, with his “Vaseline” disappearing act, or could it be the unbelievable authorities who want Basotho to believe Scott could escape from a maximum security prison simply by applying the petroleum jelly and slithering through the prison bars and the starry-eyed sentries?

Could it be Correctional Services Minister Mophato Monyake for naively promising Basotho and aggrieved relatives of Scott’s alleged ritual murder victims that  “Scott will be home in two weeks”  to face the justice music?

Need I remind Minister Monyake the “two weeks” within which he promised to deliver Scott have long passed. If this were a soccer match, even the most prolonged extra time for injuries would have long lapsed for him to deliver the most wanted criminal suspect as promised.

No wonder the honourable minister has decided to remain mum and he won’t talk to the media anymore. Zipping up your mouth minister is the best option. The only problem is you are doing it too late.

The damage you have already done to your reputation by your outlandish claims is now irredeemable.

You cannot belatedly lock up the stable when all the horses have already bolted out.

You have already exposed yourself to unkind public scrutiny and you will carry the tag of a garrulous minister who has a penchant of jumping the gun or acting before thinking for the rest of your cabinet life.

The lesson is: Once you have let out words, you simply can’t take them back. The more you blurt out the more you expose yourself and the harder it becomes to redeem your integrity.

What about the main players in the seemingly childish war for seniority in the ranks of the judiciary. Seeing Justice Mahapela Lehohla retiring as Chief Justice ensured the end of the banal fight between him and Appeal Court President Justice Michael Ramodibedi.

It was a case of two bulls in one cattle pen. The trouble legacy of this silly feud is seen in the mountains of unresolved cases at our courts. These “Mpilo” hills of backlogs will haunt the judiciary for a long time to come.

Then comes Minister Temeki Tšolo. Basics in ministerial decorum include a strict check on one’s temper. The bull-in-a-China shop trade mark is simply incongruous with the behaviour expected of a cabinet minister. This clearly makes Ntate Tšolo a very strong candidate for the coveted crown of Mampara of 2013. His lunatic ranting to this newspaper after we carried a picture of him after his dismissal was nothing short of disgraceful.

Scrutator is also tempted to confer the honour into the Mampara Of The Year Hall of Infamy upon the ever-bungling football mis-administrators at the Lesotho Football Association (Lefa).

Administration of the world’s most popular sport in Lesotho has been an incredible saga of senseless power politicking. The losers are the many youngsters scattered across the mountainous kingdom’s districts whose talent comes to nought as self-important officials waste time fighting among themselves instead of expending their energies in moving around the villages scouting and salvaging talent which will never be known.

The fact that we had such a glut of rape cases in the districts this year made Scrutator think of decentralising the race for Mampara of The Year. The list is too long and there was no time to make a short-list, let alone determine an outright winner among this group of the great unwashed who see no shame in terrorizing hapless girls and women.

Our public officials who have been caught with their hands deep in the national cookie jar also come to mind. Former Energy, Meteorology and Water Affairs Minister Timothy Thahane comes to mind.

How about former Home Affairs Principal Secretary, Retselisitsoe Khetsi, who infamously pocketed M5 million in exchange of dolling out our hundreds of millions to that dodgy Israeli outfit?  I must emphasise though that all these are mere allegations. None of these two have been convicted in the courts. But this does not make them less of good candidates for the coveted award of Mampara of the Year.

I must reiterate that I have no sympathy for Khetsi in particular. When a man trashes venerable public procurement guidelines to further his own nest, he must of necessity be condemned in the court of public opinion. Never mind what the learned men and women in stylish black robes will decide. Back to this subject later.

 

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he festive season is upon us again. Inevitably, we had another “beach party” by the shores of Maqalika Dam this past week.

The happy-go-lucky lot among us, and there are legions of them, had a long-awaited chance to unwind after a long 12 months of hard work.

Basotho simply can’t wait to spend their hard-earned money the way they think brings the most happiness.

However, I have struggled to understand this concept of a “beach party” right in the middle of our sealess Maseru.

To a visitor, especially from a country that has borders to a sea, a “beach party” in a land-locked country like Lesotho is inconceivable.

In the same way someone named the old village near Tibela, “Sea-point”, after the densely populated but affluent Cape Town suburb.  We seem to be so awestruck by the sea that we wish our country lay by the sea.

Human beings always pay attention more to what they don’t have than what they are endowed with.  Perhaps this is one explanation of our unusual fascination with the sea.

When the event started a few years ago, Scrutator thought the “beach party” was some prank or at best a make-believe event in which pre-school kids are encouraged to play house.  Kids everywhere are creative.

They appoint the father, mom and siblings and can turn their toys into real life household tools. We have all been kids so I shall not belabour the point.

For any grown up to appreciate the “beach party” idea, they have to turn the clock back twenty, thirty, fifty or sixty years, depending on their age. You have to put your mind into that innocent, child-like mode first before this begins to make sense.

Today it’s “beach parties” without a beach, tomorrow someone will take dozens of us into an immobile toy vessel and tell us we are cruising on the Indian Ocean. It’s hardly surprising hoards of “seafarers” would be ready to buy tickets to undertake an imaginary sea voyage. It’s called freedom of choice and freedom of association, never mind the absurdity.

 

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hose who fail to learn from history are doomed to repeat the same mistake over again.

As the festive mood grips everyone, Scrutator wants to advise that beyond the largesse and plenty of the Christmas season, there is the lean month of January.

January is that month which always seems to catch everyone unawares. Having bought so many things they do not need during the festive season, many will end up selling things that they badly need to raise school fees and other necessities.

“January disease” sets in as soon as the new year dawns and the season of plenty passes. It is that month when even loan sharks do not have anything in their coffers.

So be warned, the lean month is right behind the promise of plenty in the festive season.

Back to the subject of Mampara of the Year, it’s not a good idea for me to single-handedly anoint one.

So I am calling for nominations and if you have your choice among the ones I have recommended above or any other candidate I have entirely left out, please send your nominations to scrutatorqacha@gmail.com.

The winner will be announced when I return in the New Year, assuming I manage to avoid decimating my liver with my favourite drink and indeed return.

For now allow me to congratulate myself for all my good work in 2013 and to wish myself a happy festive season before I wish the same to you all. Till then.

 

Ache!

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