A POLITICAL CONUNDRUM

The political pot is back in ebullition and no doubt there are plenty of volunteers prepared to stoke the fire in the hope of cashing in, come general elections time. In Mauritius, you have two types of politicians, those with sound political ideologies and convictions, always willing to do the best for their country and those whose only objective is either to line their pockets or enjoy the tapestry that goes with power and at times both. Likewise with the political leaders, you have different types, five in all, which can be identified readily, there are those who are genuine and want at all times to improve the lot of the population at large. Then you have another group whose only aim is to perpetuate their dynasty in power. In the third group you have those who suffer from delusions of grandeur, who believe that they have an unquestioned right to rule (being the operative word) the country. In the fourth group, you have those who have become leaders by default and aim to keep their heads just above the water and swim with the flow. They tend to say and do little, wary not to rock the boat. The final group comprises of those whose primary objective is to form a political party and self appoint themselves as leaders and their only objective is to get elected at any costs, they will use any means necessary and are prepared to ally themselves with all and sundry just to get elected and hopefully get a ministerial position at best and as parliamentary private secretary at worse. One deficit they all have in common is communication, which is not their strongest point as observed recently following the debacle about electoral reform. This is despite the fact that some have hired experts in communication and others can boast among their ranks people with fancy titles like director of communication. 
 
 After football, politics is our favourite pastime. Currently, the guessing game is who is going to end up in bed with who come election time. Of course, at this stage, all permutations are possible and no doubt all the leaders are perusing their options with great care and attention. Let me try to dissect the details of what has happened so far and what potentially could happen. Recap: In 2011, when there was a split in the government ranks and the MSM decided to quit the government, the MMM saw that as a golden opportunity to try and breach the ranks of the government further by enticing some of them to switch their allegiance and eventually bring the government down on a vote of no confidence and provoke anticipated general elections. To do that, the MMM needed an ally of some substance in order to sway the waverers. So they enlisted the help of the then president of the country and he duly resigned in the hope of bringing matters to a head. To succeed in that strategy, they had to make MSM an offer worth its weight in gold. So, despite being at least  three fold more popular than the MSM, the MMM was prepared to make substantial concessions in order to make the offer so appealing and tempting that it would be practically impossible to refuse. The bait was laid and the MSM fell for it hook, line and sinker and the agreement subsequently known as the remake was duly sealed and voted unanimously by both parties. Unfortunately for them, the plan backfired and instead of being able to lure some potential defectors, the planned exodus went in the opposite direction and as a result the government ranks became more stable and united, the boot was now on the other foot. To compound this unexpected turnaround or badly laid plans, the anticipated general elections were now a distant dream and more like a mirage as the government could rule for over 4 more years in all serenity. This long wait was bound to bring its fair share of turbulence to the remake along the way. Nevertheless, at the time it was able to negotiate the turbulent waters and get back on tracks and all seemed rosy. Mind, it was just the lull before the storm because in the background, the labour party was waiting to derail the remake by whatever means deemed appropriate. By sheer coincidence, the MMM appeared to be also looking for a way out of this imbroglio known as the remake because the agreement was made at a GIVEN TIME in consideration of SPECIFIC PREVAILLING CIRCUMSTANCES. The goal posts had moved considerably since that time and what was relevant in 2011 is not anymore today. So it was a godsend when the legal adviser of the leader of the MSM requested that the pending legal case against the latter be withdrawn, the MMM saw this as a golden opportunity gratefully to cast doubts on the validity of the remake, taking great care not to be the first to rescind the agreement.  Inevitably, the writing was on the wall and the end was nigh. The remake was doomed as it had not had the desired effect and was lopsided in favour of the MSM, a party that can just about muster double figures in popularity at the best of times but at the material time, the agreement was judged to be appropriate by those concerned.

Mind, the MMM has a long history of being kingmaker and have always been prepared to give away the lion's share to their partners. They did so in 1995 when they went in the general elections as an ally to the labour party and at a time when the latter was on its knees and at its lowest in its popularity. They did so again in 2000 with MSM but at least on more favourable terms and they were not booted out of power like in the previous encounter. Have they seen the light or are they still prepared to get in bed with other partners? Perhaps the next time, they will be able to take the lead and dictate the terms of any political agreement instead of being the eternal junior partner. Only time will tell. My guess is that if each of the main parties was to go alone at the next general elections under the current system, that is first past the post, we will end up with a minority government with no overall majority and all permutations will be back on the table. The MSM and the PMSD might become the biggest casualties in the process unless they are able to hang on another party coat tails. Under a PR system, if it ever happens considering the continuous dithering and zigzagging that have gone on, the results of the general elections will depend on the final format agreed. So the drama goes on. Who will propose what to whom and at what time? Nobody knows for sure.