Rallies for crumbs

ALTHOUGH its residents think it’s the best thing after sliced bread, Maseru is just a numbingly boring town masquerading as a city.
The residents have reason to be excited about it though.
After all, they have watched Maseru transform from being a slum into some something closer to a town.
It’s not really a town as yet but because it has come so far and most of its people don’t know anything better Scrutator will call it a town.
She however does so with strong reservations.
Still it’s a boring little town. On that one, Scrutator will not compromise.
Maseru is so unexciting that its people seem to pee in alleys and rockeries for fun.
But once in a while this sleepy town which has allowed humans and cows to share the central business district comes to life.
Every five years our politicians bring us real fun in the form of political rallies.
Right now the people are having fun at political rallies.
That entertainment they have terribly missed for the past five years is back with a bang.
And for the next few weeks their weekends will not be miserable.
Some will gyrate until their bodies are sore while others will sing until their voices forsake them.
Who can begrudge a people used to having sex and beer as their only form of entertainment for wanting to have a different kind of fun?
They deserve some free fun especially in these times when beer and condoms have become pricey.

Political rallies are where fun is these days. The sad thing, however, is that the politicians — the very people who provide this platform for fun — don’t think political rallies are fun. When people come to have fun politicians think they are there to hear them speak. For them rallies are meant for serious political campaigns.
They actually think by having those rallies they are reaching out to the electorate in Maseru.
Scrutator has attended a number of rallies in the past few weeks and has had fun watching bearded men speak to audiences that are not really interested in what they have to say.
Because they are oblivious to the apathy of their audiences the politicians have already started reading too much into the numbers at their rallies.
They think numbers at rallies will translate into votes on May 26.
How wrong they are! By believing their own warped assessments they are only cheating themselves.
They are preparing themselves for a painful defeat whose consequence will last another half a decade.

The Democratic Congress (DC), the party well known for eating stolen things, is already beginning to realise the futility of political rallies as a campaign method in Maseru.
On March 26 Pakalitha Mosisili’s party had a big rally in Ha Foso which an alleged 20 000 people are said to have attended.
The Lesotho TV, that silly excuse of a national TV station, devoted an entire hour of airplay to that occasion.
Buoyed by the huge numbers, some in the DC leadership started talking about a victory in Maseru.
They conveniently forgot that it is they that had “bussed” most of the people to the rally.
Mosisili was speaking to an audience made up of a rented mob and some people that had just come to the rally for fun.
That much became clear when the DC started the door-to-door campaign in Maseru’s villages.
Those who have the misfortune of being dispatched to solicit votes in the villages are being told to hit the road as soon as they enter the gates.
The polite ones do open the door for the DC messengers but they switch off as soon as they hear that Mosisili wants five more years.
Some do endure the DC sermonette but as soon as the preachers are out of their yard they laugh out loud and forget the message because they don’t believe it.
Scrutator has heard DC people gloating on and on about the “huge” number of young people attending Mosisili’s rallies.
When she looks closely at those so-called supporters she realises that most of them are actually not registered voters.
Also, those who read much into the presence of young people at rallies forget that the youth of this country have nothing much to do during weekends.
They are attending rallies to while away time because Maseru as a town has nothing much to offer by way of entertainment.
There are no recreation centres, the TV starts at dusk and radios are pathetic.
What else can they do in a country ruled by a government hostile to young people?
What else can they do in a country where jobs and opportunities to eke an honest living are reserved for a connected few?
The Lesotho Congress for Democracy (LCD) has also started fancying its chances in Maseru after it had a well attended rally three weeks ago.
After that rally we heard some LCD zealots saying they had conquered Maseru.
But when they went into the villages they were met with aloofness from the electorate. The messengers are being asked questions they cannot answer and after stammering they are being shown the door.
It’s not only the terrible twins (DC and LCD) that seem to think rallies are the best way to woe voters in Maseru.
The tired All Basotho Convention (ABC) and the discredited Basotho National Party (BNP) are also committed to wasting their time with rallies in Maseru.
The ABC seems to have forgotten that 17 plus zero equals 17 and to get to 61 you need 44 more.

Scrutator has said it and she will say it again: this election will not be won in Maseru.
Any party that spends time concentrating its campaign efforts in Maseru is working hard to remain in the opposition or become an opposition.
Political parties must remember that Maseru is not Lesotho and Lesotho is not Maseru. It is the peasants in the backwaters of this country who will determine the next government.
Any party that wants to rule this country must climb mountains and conquer the treacherous roads to the remotest areas in this country.
There they will meet the real voters, the people who know that political rallies are not fun. When the peasants leave their fields and livestock to come to a rally, they really want to hear what the politicians have to say.
Talk crap and they will mock you as soon as you cross the river back to Maseru.

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