DO you recall those young zealots who once ran the Voice of Free Democrats, a dubiously named rug that thrived on masquerading as the ruling party’s mouthpiece?
Who can forget those boys who used to mutilate the English language and pinch other people’s copy with gusto?
After their bootlicking antics failed to get them adverts from the government their paper suddenly vanished from market.
Of course it left some of its readers with signs of insanity because of its horrendous copy and flawed ideas about patriotism.
But the boys themselves, the real perpetrators of this campaign to make every reader crazy, did not emerge from the whole episode unscathed because their tongues too almost vanished due to endless sessions of excessive bootlicking.
And so Scrutator thought we had seen the last of these pathetic boys and their tricks. How wrong she was!
The Voiceless seems to have mutated into an even more hopeless rug that pretends to write news about agriculture in Lesotho — The Silo.
It was by accident that Scrutator found herself enduring this month’s edition of the The Silo, a paper whose frivolity does not justify that it was done over a whole month by whole men and women.
So Scrutator flipped through the 16-page paper hoping to find some readable copy.
Finally she reached Page 7 and there he was Theko Tlebere, a sure remnant of the Voiceless, striking the legendary “The Thinker” pose.
“School of Thought” is the name of his column the instalment I read ran under the headline “Is Lesotho Developing?”
So impressed was he about his efforts that he decided to announce just under his byline that he had done something called BA PAPS from NUL.
I reserve my comments about that college and degree lest some people choke with anger.
Curious to check if Tlebere had learnt something from the closure of the Voiceless and months of joblessness, Scrutator decided to endure his instalment.
In the first paragraph it’s apparent nothing has changed and “The Thinker” is still adamant in his sloppy and small-minded ways.
Then in the next paragraph Tlebele seems to have done a “Houdini Act”.
The copy suddenly starts to flow and his ideas become impressively coherent.
The syntax is perfect and the grammar immaculate.
Scrutator was startled by the sudden improvement so she consulted Google.
There it was, the whole article, lifted paragraph by paragraph from danielsolis.webs.com/Classic.
Tlebere had stolen another person’s work and fed it to his unsuspecting readers as if it were his own.
But Scrutator was not surprised because this is not the first time that Tlebere has been caught with his fingers in the cookie jar.
He is a thief of copy.
When he was found out after pinching someone’s words during his days at the Voiceless the boy just stood there like someone who had let rip a very loud fart on the market square.
This time, though, Tlebere tried to be clever.
He told the readers in the introductory part of “his article” that “I might be technical but it is for the good course of turning this country into a better shape”.
“Enjoy this piece and at least take it as a present from me to you this festive season,” he gushed before he proceeded to deliver the stolen present to readers.
What a bad Santa he is!
And when he was finished dishing out the stolen present the bad Santa called Tlebere had the audacity to say “Allow me to stop here for now…” as if the article was a result of his hard work.
Then came the killer line: “If you find it difficult to Grasp or do not understand this piece please feel free to contact me on firstname.lastname@example.org. Peace MaAfrika a Khabane!”
Instead of getting angry Scrutator felt tears welling her eyes.
Here was a boy who sincerely believed he had written the article he had lifted from the web.
He saw nothing sinister with harvesting other people’s copy and stashing it in The Silo.
Some things are just sad.
Has someone seen Prime Minister Pakalitha Mosisili since he read that toxic missive from Limkokwing University?
How is he? Is he fine?
Is he eating well?
Scrutator asks because that epistle from that Malaysian outpost masquerading as a university was really venomous.
It was written with malicious intent to cause GMH (grievous mental harm) to the PM.
For days after reading that letter Scrutator had sleepless nights worrying about the PM, her homeboy.
It is irritating to think that Setloke Lekhela, the author of that scandalous dispatch, is still walking the streets of Maseru with a spring in his step as if he has not tried to harm the PM.
Scrutator is not suggesting that the boy be arrested for attempted GMH.
The boy is already imprisoned by his own ignorance so sending him to jail would be like punishing him twice for one account of attempted GMH.
A through counselling session with a psychiatrist might help.
Long nights of prayer and a bit of dousing with drumful of “holy water” will certainly help the poor soul.
In the meantime the government must establish a commission of inquiry to investigate how such dunderheads are being sponsored by taxpayers’ money to do degrees.
Never mind that some of the degrees offered by that bare-bone college look dubious.
It is immoral for a government to sponsor students who think a council is a consul.
It is aberrant for a government to send to university students who think that a strike is “aroused”.
Now listen carefully you wannabe university undergraduates from a wannabe university: that letter did not “arouse” Scrutator at all.
Rather it made her puke with disgust.
Lesotho is probably the only country in the world where anyone can just wake up and decide that they want to be a journalist.
We have failed lawyers, cobblers and herd boys masquerading as journalists.
And the results tell.
Scrutator is not surprised that we have a new few rugs on the market claiming to be newspapers.
These boys have courage, I tell you.
But all the same, welcome on board guys!
Hope you will not do a quick disappearing act after a few issues.
Lesotho’s newspaper cemetery is full of papers that died after a few weeks.
Apart from The Silo, the paper for which story-stealer Tlebere is a “chief composer”, there is also the Friday Flyer.
I hope the Flyer will not quickly fly into oblivion.