When bore­dom sets in

Sunday Observer - - FEATURES - BY KEN­NETH DLAMINI

Wikipedia de­scribes bore­dom as an emo­tional and oc­ca­sion­ally psy­cho­log­i­cal state ex­pe­ri­enced when an in­di­vid­ual is left with­out any­thing in par­tic­u­lar to do, is not in­ter­ested in his or her sur­round­ings, or feels that a day or pe­riod is dull or te­dious.

This sounds a per­fect de­scrip­tion of the hul­la­baloo that is cur­rently un­fold­ing at Mat­sapha Mu­nic­i­pal­ity.

My hon­est take about this storm in a cup of tea at the mu­nic­i­pal­ity is that some­one some­where is se­ri­ously bored. And, true to the as­ser­tion that when­ever an in­di­vid­ual is left with­out any­thing to do they get bored; some­one is clearly up to mis­chief.

Yes, bore­dom leads to mis­chief. This fits per­fectly the noise that has been per­pe­trated by a group of fully grown up men.

Never mind that one of them is an old grumpy man, who in his age­ing senses, thinks he owns the whole of Mat­sapha. He is the stir­rer of trou­ble in Mat­sapha when­ever there is con­flict.

Some years back, the very same old man gave for­mer CEO Gciniwe Fakudze a hell of a ride… now he is at it again.

But that’s just one side of this whole self­in­flicted cri­sis that we have all watched from afar play­ing it­self out in the pub­lic do­main for the past month or so. Then comes an­other old man, am sure also in a grumpy mood, to join the fray.

Some­body tell me how Army Com­man­der Sobantu Dlamini finds him­self in all of this mess at Mat­sapha Coun­cil. It's still be­neath me. Bore­dom per­haps.

Sobantu, to­tally obliv­i­ous of the hot potato he is at­tract­ing for him­self, goes and bites the poi­soned chal­ice he is be­ing fed by ousted Mayor Sand­lane Zwane.

This comes af­ter the army is­sued a state­ment through its pub­li­cist Tengetile Khu­malo giv­ing Mat­sapha Ward Two Coun­cil­lor Mfanu­fik­ile Dlamini, who is a soldier, a sev­en­day ul­ti­ma­tum to de­cide if he was em­ployed by the army or Mat­sapha Mu­nic­i­pal­ity. How ef­fi­cient from the army, you won­der. The strongly worded state­ment ba­si­cally made it clear to the ma­ligned Dlamini that he must leave his po­si­tion in Mat­sapha.

Of course, it should be a no brainer which of the two the poor soldier chooses. For ob­vi­ous rea­sons, the soldier knows very well where his bread is but­tered and there­fore you can’t ex­pect any­thing less, es­pe­cially when he gets threat­ened with his liveli­hood.

I mean who gets threat­ened with his job and looks the other way? After­all, we all know that the soldier doesn’t draw a salary from Mat­sapha but is only el­i­gi­ble for a re­tainer.

That is what brings me to to­day’s ar­ti­cle; why in the world did Sobantu, of all the crit­i­cal prob­lems be­sieg­ing the army, stoop so low? Why did he al­low him­self to be ma­nip­u­lated by the ob­vi­ously dis­grun­tled and des- per­ate Zwane? Why did Sobantu for his all-mighty po­si­tion de­scend to a low level to vic­timise the poor soldier?

What makes this soldier dif­fer­ent from all the civil ser­vants who are em­ployed by gov­ern­ment but at the same time hold­ing pub­lic of­fice in a num­ber of in­sti­tu­tions in the coun­try?

As we speak, there are many gov­ern­ment of­fi­cers in other mu­nic­i­pal­i­ties in the coun­try. Should we then ask all civil ser­vants who are cur­rently in many boards, where they are draw­ing a re­tainer, to also re­lin­quish their po­si­tions?

I believe not… un­less of course you are Sobantu. If any­thing, the old man should have max­imised on the soldier’s ex­po­sure to pol­i­tics and used his ex­pe­ri­ence to the army’s ad­van­tage.

Not Sobantu, in­stead he jumped at the chance to prove to the soldier that he calls the shots. How vin­dic­tive.

Bul­lies

For all the nu­mer­ous prob­lems in the army, you even won­der Sobantu is still there. Then he comes and bul­lies a ju­nior of­fi­cer? Who does that? His re­ac­tion to this is­sue was knee-jerk at best, and to­tally in­con­sid­er­ate. I believe he didn’t ap­ply his mind but in­stead was happy to jump at the chance to please his two bud­dies.

He al­lowed him­self to be ma­nip­u­lated by the two in­di­vid­u­als. God knows what they have on him or what will be his re­ward. I leave it at that but things have a funny way of blow­ing up in the face.

As an elder, Sobantu should have care­fully ap­plied him­self on the mat­ter and thor­oughly con­sulted be­fore jump­ing to a con­clu­sion. How he al­lowed Sand­lane to use him still beats my think­ing.

Zwane clearly has ul­te­rior mo­tives in the whole saga and he is drag­ging ev­ery­one into the mess he cre­ated on his own.

How did Sobantu not see this com­ing? I believe that is where bore­dom comes in. The old man is too bored.

Per­haps, he's al­ready con­tem­plat­ing an un­known fu­ture out there. For a man who is al­ready liv­ing on bor­rowed time, Sobantu should not be in­volved in such shady deal­ings with peo­ple like Sand­lane.

This also ap­plies to the other old man who is be­hind the whole mess in Mat­sapha. You won­der why these bored old men are forc­ing an in­no­cent coun­cil­lor to dump his po­si­tion. Just be­cause he re­fused to be ma­nip­u­lated by Sand­lane?

We know very well that Zwane has been tar­get­ing all the coun­cil­lors that he be­lieved were not on his side. It makes you won­der, there­fore, what’s all this noise about… what’s in it for Sand­lane in all of this?

I can never buy the story that he is try­ing to pro­tect the coun­cil. From who? If any­thing, I think the coun­cil needs pro­tec­tion from peo­ple like him. The ag­gres­sive man­ner he’s been pur­su­ing this mat­ter sug­gests there’s se­ri­ously a lot at stake at the coun­cil.

What’s the use of elect­ing coun­cil­lors if they are go­ing to be bul­lied by one in­di­vid­ual? How could just one man hold the en­tire es­tab­lish­ment and coun­try at ran­som? It's lu­di­crous.

Me thinks, we need more coun­cil­lors like Mfanu­fik­ile Dlamini who are go­ing to stand firm against all forms of abuse and ma­nip­u­la­tions at the hands of power-hun­gry and greedy in­di­vid­u­als.

That is why you have to give the Mat­sapha coun­cil­lors all credit for fi­nally slay­ing Van Damme af­ter what has been a two-month stand­off, never mind that it took a dif­fer­ent venue (at the po­lice sta­tion to be pre­cise) other than the Mat­sapha Mu­nic­i­pal­ity cham­bers.

With Van Damme fi­nally slayed, we look for­ward to peace and calm in Mat­sapha. Thank­fully, the min­istry of hous­ing and ur­ban de­vel­op­ment has been quick in bring­ing or­der at the trou­b­lerid­dled coun­cil.

We hope the probe an­nounced by Min­is­ter Prince Sime­lane will un­earth the real prob­lems in Mat­sapha. We are tired of the blood thirsty wolves mas­querad­ing in sheep skin.

Army Com­man­der Sobantu Dlamini.

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