A LEADERSHIP CRISIS : Politics, Justice and Morality

The story – (that of Navin Chandra Ramgoolam) unfolding in front of us should invite the Mauritian population inclusive of the  political class  to rethink politics as well as the nature and kind of leadership that Mauritius requires. Just a few months before the last elections I wrote a piece entitled “Let us keep the interest of the nation foremost in our minds – Forum, Le Mauricien, 15th May’ in which I spelt out the need to boot out the entire political class, followed by another article “ Political sociology- Modern mauritius new political parties- L’express, 15 june’ and gave reasons as to why these were necessary.
Political parties are indispensable for making democracy work and deliver but there are all sorts of political parties with different ideological leanings, sets of values and leaders. Some lead only as a result of dynastic politics and no one dares say a word.
In Mauritius most political parties argue that they belong to the socialist school but one can ask how can a party claim to be socialist when the economics it embraces is of a neoliberal kind and hurting the livelihoods of many. Some parties speak of progressive values but their praxis, particularly that of their leaders, has been one of arrogance, lies, exploitation, disrespect for the ‘other’ etc. The rank and file of the mainstream  political parties have allowed the rot to settle in – they are to be blamed as well. To be in the good books of the leader often requires ‘diplomatic silence’ or to the  shameless defence of what is base and generally perceived as unacceptable.
By the time this article goes to press, the Labour Party would have probably chosen a new leader or opted for its newly discovered ‘collegial leadership’. Interestingly, voices that were muffled before are beginning to make themselves heard – some in a timid manner and others more bold.  What is perhaps most important is whether a new leader (if the party opts for one) will be able to infuse the party and its functioning with the kinds of norms and values cherished by most Mauritians. It would be hypocritical on our part to even suggest that the Labour Party today is instilled with  the values bequeathed to us by Emmanuel Anquetil, Renganaden Seeneevassen, Razack Mohamed and  Guy Rozemont.
 Who makes values and how does one appreciate the values of an organization or a political party? Isn’t the very functioning  of the people  within the party which helps to either uphold the values of the party or kill them. Values are nothing more than hollow principles if the leadership team does not embody these values. When political parties evolve into unwieldy organizations dominated by greed, opportunism, disrespect, dishonesty, caste and ethnic reflexes, there is little hope of redressing the situation. Bloomberg is right in stating that: “History has proven that when the core values are rotten only zero tolerance can improve the integrity, culture and ethics of business and governance.”
Perhaps the crisis faced by the Labour party is an opportunity for reinventing itself. But would the people concerned rise up to the challenge ?
Selecting the right leader is not always an easy exercise especially in a small but complex society such as Mauritius.  Talent, experience, competence, habits, interest, dedication are some of the qualities that are generally looked for but what is perhaps needed most is integrity and ethics. The latter should govern the election/selection principle. Let us hope that our political players can disentangle themselves from ethnic and/or caste arithmetic and choose with the wisdom and ethics that these very trying times demand.
Mainstream political parties have to engage in some serious introspection.  I have often said that the two men, Bérenger and Ramgoolam, have made their contributions but the time has come for them to go. They should understand that modern Mauritius has no room for the ‘politics of indispensability’ .
If the Ramgoolam saga had not unfurled itself , his leadership would not have been challenged. Who knows, he may come back…
Often times, true justice is hard to obtain. Strong legal arguments may be advanced in court in defense of NR. The latter may be cleared albeit the chances are rather slim especially if we go by the statement of one of his lawyers: “Mo pa pou kapav fer mirak.” As a nation, we must remember that what is legal is not always moral.  Citizens must bear in mind  that if they truly have the welfare of future generations at heart, they should choose competent leaders with a strong sense of ethics and responsibility, in short, genuine role models.
It is not easy to forget the current Prime ministers’ dictum ‘moralite pa ranpli vant’. However, credit must be given to him for trying to put an end to the ‘culture of impunity’ that has  prevailed for far too long. The signal given is very good but what we beg of him is that he also puts an end to the ‘culture of selectivity’. It would be good to have a commission of inquiry on ‘l’affaire bois de rose’ and ‘CT Power’, for instance to show Mauritian citizens that he is not selective and that there is equal treatment for all.
We simply hope that Mauritian democracy has not been reduced to ‘blanc bonnet, bonnet blanc”.  Given the ‘ras-le-bol’ experienced by the people, the ‘victory’ of L’Alliance lepep was inevitable. Martin Luther King’s famous line “change does not roll in on the wheels of inevitability, but comes through continuous struggle’’ resonates with us at this juncture. Let us therefore lobby and advocate for the ‘Freedom of Information Act’, for two term mandates, for urgent action regarding the financing of political parties and for giving more powers to the Electoral Supervisory Commission.


Commentaires

It was a RAMGOOLAM who appropriated that party of good deeds the defender of abused workers, of social justice..but their names were Emmanuel, Dr Cure'.Guy Rosemond...unil the party spoke creole turned to speak hindi by night around Chemin Grenier Souillac and the development of vulgar hate for the pro European people who founded and built the Ifnra structure of these Island. Ramgoolam leadership caused the exodus of 60% of the Creole population between 1966 to 1971. Ramgoolam leader caused the Diego Gracians to lose their homes and be discarded and abused and exploited in Mauritius. The Leadership of the Ptr showed but deviant character and deceitful culture.....Soon India and it's culture would be well installed On this ISLAND on the south east coast of Africa and very designed on European Values and str culture. Soon Jugnaught came to Leadership and he became rich and so did all his family and clan member but then few would remember the All Hindou congress party f jUGNAUGHT AND ANY communal game Ramgoolam can play so can Jugnaught. But wait another VAISH LEADER because here only VAISH can be leader and he turned street cake sellers at BAZAAR INTO millionaires OVERNIGHT...and many f his political agents and asociates became Millionaires overnight....No Professor You are not able to state the truth as it is ..hide or a'' all cachet...and pick a book or two on truth and reality of MAURITIUS AND MAU MATURITY BRING YOU TO DEVELOP ....

A la redaction,

J'ai place un commentaire qui n'a pas ete retenu. En plus j'ai pas utilise un pseudonyme donc pas a visage cachee. A voir ce que vous laissez passer ....!?

Dear Madam. Your article makes interesting reading and food for thought. Ram seegobin, Dev Virahsawmy, Jacques Bizlall, R&A, Roshnee Mooneeram and even Aneerood Gajadhur have proposed very credible alternatives. Until and unless all these diffused factions play the same tune the default orchestra will continue to play their falsettos. It would be interesting to find out how many literates will concur with you let alone support you. as to the masses who are paramount for democracy, will your very academic approach make 'monter la mayonnaise'? Just like Mauritians did not understand anything about the second republic, I fail to see how you will turn the tides with 'doing politics otherwise'. Can you demonstrate it then? Thank you.

As for the return of the ex-Prime minister, the question does not arise for the good of the people of this country, where politicians think, once elected, they are no longer subservient but become dominant, especially encouraged by some willing to stoop to reap benefits as examples are legion during the tenure of office by Ram- Goolam. I refrain from commenting on his alleged offences but we have to wait and see. I am grateful that you brought the question of "Bois Rose", which seems to have been forgotten, and I wonder why the mainstream media failed to remind the current Government that the public would appreciate its outcome. I recall some years ago, the question of Bois rose was breaking news, but it disappears until you mentioned it and I hope the papers would grasp the opportunity to question the Government. An investigation similar to Roches Noires is the case Of Bassin Blanc, which requires a thorough inquiry by the Police to enlighten the public whether it was homicide or suicide as decided by the Police.

Well said Sheila, the people of Mauritus must watch, now that justice has stated to breakthrough, lets hope that all the deponents of the Truth and Justice commission will not have to wait for another century for their land. Since the Gov does not allow land grabb. It is so easy to rob land in Mauritius. Hope that Justice apply to everyone. It is so easy.to take poor and illiterate people's right and owning their right.

It is a fundamental fact that the Labour Party has been founded by Maurice Curé, Pandit Sahadeo , Guy Rozemont and later consolidated by Renganaden Seeneevassen and Emmanuel Anquetil. But that was in 1936. 79 years later, in 2015, it is the neoliberal and rascal Navin Ramgoolam who has headed it. It is thus irrelevant to recall these founding fathers of the Labour Party. Madam Banwaree wrote: "In Mauritius most political parties argue that they belong to the socialist school but one can ask how can a party claim to be socialist when the economics it embraces is of a neoliberal kind and hurting the livelihoods of many". The Professor must draw the right conclusion of what she wrote.