Speculation was rife over a potential replacement when Prime Minister Pravind Jugnauth announced, on Friday 10 November, that Showkutally Soodhun would have to step down as vice-prime minister and minister of Housing and Lands. It has been revealed today that Mahen Seeruttun, minister of Agro-industry and Food security, will also take on the role of minister of Housing and Lands.
Several names had been mentioned as potential candidates for the vacant ministerial portfolio, with the likes of Zouberr Joomaye and Roubina Jadoo-Jaunbocus touted as the leading candidates. However, the prime minister has decided to go with a method that he has already tried and tested. As a matter of fact, Jugnauth also holds two distinct roles as prime minister but also as minister of finance. Following the Raj Dayal corruption scandal last year and the prime ministerial handover between Anerood Jugnauth and Pravind Jugnauth earlier this year, Etienne Sinatambou also holds two roles as minister of Social security and minister of Environment.
Seeruttun's time in parliament has been largely uncontroversial so far except for an incident last year involving his brother. Seeruttun's brother was filmed slapping Nitin Jeeha, an activist from the Mouvement Militant Mauricien (MMM). He also faced some criticism for the way he dealt with the foot-and-mouth disease crisis last year. However, there is no indication yet as to who will take over Soodhun's seat on the front bench of the government. According to the hierarchy, the No.5 in government and next in line is another controversial minister in Vishnu Lutchmeenaraidoo.
Soodhun was forced to leave this week after a leaked video that involved him making derogatory and racially inappropriate remarks against members of a particular ethnicity. He is the second minister forced to step down since September, with Ravi Yerrigadoo also out of cabinet and parliament since his involvement in the Yerrigadoo scandal was brought to light.