CHRISTIAN CUNIAH : Réflexions sur le changement en politique

Christian Cuniah vit à Londres. Il détient un BA (Hons) de Birkbeck College, University of London. Après les élections de décembre dernier à Maurice, il partage avec nous quelques réflexions sur l’organisation en politique. Son article met l’accent sur la nécessité du changement, rompant avec les structures traditionnelles faisant place aux “visionnaires”.
The December 2014 election in Mauritius generated a great deal of enthusiasm and excitement. So many Mauritians made an investment, be it financial, emotional, or physical – displaying their political affiliation in clothes, in songs and slogans. Elections can be life-changing events for citizens, however, many people in Mauritius who dream of a better tomorrow, feel that we do not have much of a choice when it comes to political parties. Most believe it is a choice between the three mainstream parties, for, although they would wish for a radical change in the political landscape, they do not believe that any of the new parties can make a difference.
I believe that change can occur, and it can occur with lightning speed, if only we have faith; if only we would say yes, ‘nou capav’ bring about this much needed change in our society.
We can no longer rely on the traditional parties – even the MMM – to bring about the radical change that our society needs in order to redress the balance of power and redistribution of wealth. The old parties are set in their ways; they will not take the necessary risks which will benefit the underprivileged and those who have been neglected or overlooked because of social, ethnic, economic or other considerations.   
The Mauritian population is not illiterate or naïve, they know what they want and what will work. Unfortunately they have been betrayed by the politicians who are happy to divide and rule the people along ethnic lines and to study the workings of scientific communalism rather than promoting ‘mauricianisme’.  Furthermore each and every government since 1968 has been guilty of a catalogue of corruptions and frauds – crimes that need to be addressed and people who need to find redress by the judiciary.
Ethnicity should not be an issue; we should foster a politics of de-ethnicisation, where everyone has a fair chance and opportunity. We cannot let ourselves be fooled by politicians, who hold up false enemies in order to entrench their own agendas. Harping on the colonial past and telling us to boycott businesses run by Mauritians in favour of foreign competitors is not necessarily good for Mauritius. Breaking monopolies and ensuring the best deal for the nation is one thing; perpetuating social divisions and seeking to punish one section of the community and to stigmatize another is not the way forward. We must treat every Mauritian the same, whether Franco, Afro, Sino, or Indo. Skills and experience must be privileged over tribal appurtenance and political or familial allegiance. Any other agenda can only be detrimental to the co-existence in harmony that is necessary for our society to progress and succeed in any endeavours.
Why is it that a lot of the young people do not believe that a radical change can be achieved by a new party; all we need to do is act collectively, vote in large numbers, and believe that it can happen, as we have all that is needed to bring it about. Nowadays with tools such as social media, and the fact that we have a population that is literate, we can easily change things round very quickly.
It can happen, look at the recent meteoric rise of the Syriza party in Greece – a party that went from nothing to winning the election this year. The Greek people were so fed up of being told by the rich that they had to remain poor that they took a risk and elected a far left radical party. This almost unknown party has marginalised the two mainstream parties that have run the country since the military junta’s fall in 1974. What it shows us is that a small new party with a radical agenda CAN bring about the change – CAN win an election.
Something very similar is happening right now in Spain. The left-wing political party Podemos, which translates as “we can” was founded only last year; and already pundits are predicting that the party may win the upcoming election, or at the very least play an important part in the political future of the country.  
In India, the BJP had to admit defeat after Arvind Kejriwal’s Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) won 67 of the 70 assembly seats. It is happening all over the place, the poor people took a decision for change. In Mauritius we can do the same thing; we can have the small parties getting together to form an anti-establishment coalition, ready for the next election.
The message here is that “we can” – “nou capav”! We can achieve the same result if not better, if only both young and old would apply themselves, and bring about a historical event, a radical change in our political landscape. It is time to throw the old dinosaurs out; time for us to rattle the old establishment and bring about change.
We need to give a chance to the new visionaries, activists seasoned professionals with a great record of public service, who are willing to put their heads above the political parapet for the benefit of the citizens, NOT to line their own pockets, or because they think they have a birthright to lead. Mauritius is a relatively wealthy country, all citizens should be able to earn a decent minimum wage; a reasonable pension should be available to our elderly. We all want a future where it does not matter which community we are from, where due recognition is given not to ‘name’ and ‘ethnicity’ but to ‘skills’, ‘experience’, ‘integrity’ and ‘honesty’. We want our political leaders not to represent us as communal groups but as Mauritians and to be willing to work hard for the betterment and prosperity of our country, not for their own communities and families.