Weekly (Port Louis)

23 December 2012

Mauritius: Choosing Between Arrogance and Opportunism


The nation has spoken and its words were crystal clear: "We don't give two hoots about the municipal elections!" Which part of that do the government and the opposition not understand? Is it the way the citizens shook the government out of its complacency without supporting the opposition?

Here's a healthy dose of downbeat realism. The apathy and lack of interest of the citizens of this country could be attributed to the fact that they are becoming sick and tired of the arrogance of power and the opportunism of the opposition. It could also be interpreted as people jaded with candidates' self interest and their feeling that no one deserved their votes enough to trouble their peaceful Sunday. And it could also be the indigestion due to the diet of dissatisfaction which has been served to our people for years.

Instead of the government doing its mea culpa and seeing that the arrogance of our leaders, compounded by the even-less-justifi ed arrogance of some of their cronies who rose from nothing to still nothing due to political patronage, is beginning to weigh on the hearts and minds of the citizens; instead of looking at the fortress of conceit which has slowly but surely built up around the seat of power isolating it from the people who bestowed that very power upon it; instead of revisiting some nominations where those making them have really scraped the barrel, those holding the levers of power are looking instead at the few numbers representing less than half of the city dwellers who bothered to leave the comfort of their homes to go and half-heartedly vote.

As for the opposition, their smugness is absolutely disconcerting. In an election where more than half the citizens told them literally to "go next door, see if I am there", in spite of the various calls of the Leader of the Opposition, they still fi nd a way to thump their chest about an outcome where nobody won hands down; where a few - very few - votes made a difference in a world of indifference. Instead of the Leader of the Opposition sitting down with the thinking brains of his party and asking how much credibility they are going to trade against opportunism, he persists and looks us straight in the eye and tell us that this 'victory' is going to trigger an early general election! Really? Again? How, pray tell, is such an innocuous election which is a clear message of apathy, an indication that people are going to start a revolution in this country and vote the - oh-so-powerful and oh-so-credible - opposition in?

What saddens me is the way both blocs take us for some brainless creatures. Don't believe what they are saying, whatever you do. As one side is thumping its chest about their 'victory' and the other is qualifying this victory, behind the scenes, the ethnic calculators must be working full blast. Each major party must be thinking about the contribution of its smaller partner. The PMSD in Quatre Bornes and the MSM in Vacoas. Remember, apart from Beau Bassin/Rose Hill, where the purple hardly ever fades, the biggest gap between the two alliances has been recorded in, ironically, Vacoas! Eleven against seven! (Compare that to 13-11 in Port Louis, 7-8 in Quatre Bornes and 7-7 in Curepipe.) If you and I know the implications of that, do you think the Leader of the Opposition doesn't. So, is it really the end of the koze-kozé (chatting) between the MMM and the Labour Party? I wouldn't advise you to put your money on it. I certainly wouldn't put a penny down.

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