It is here again. That sense of despair. Stealthily, it has made its way back in our hearts and homes. Mauritius has no sense of direction. Leaderless with the reversal of democratisation well under way, the country lurches from one crisis to another.
In the opposition ranks, most players are in ‘make-believe’ mode, bedaubed as they are with the desire to join the government. In light of the simmering tensions between the allies in power, shameful backroom shenanigans, if yet to be initiated, will start soon enough. The lack of trust between parties in the governing alliance’s ranks has given way to a nonsensical spectacle; the ardent desire of a leader of a divisive faction (long confined to a meagre followership) for the supreme position has given way to an almost comical attempt to appear ‘national’ in his outings, the persistent arrogance of hubris-inebriated elected members goes unchecked despite having put Mauritius under siege at the beginning of the year and the recruitment of family members and lackeys in many key positions has been maintained. From ‘cotomili’ to ‘papa’/’piti’. That is not what the people had opted for.
Hidden in plain view is the attempt to marginalise those who think differently. There is the need for plurality. Especially in these times where the neo-liberal doxa is being forced down our throats. Smart cities and the fiscal incentives offered to promoters should have sent the sirens wailing on the type of development we pursue. Tacitly, the opposition parties have signified that they are agreeable with this pandering to part of the private sector and happy with the creation of communities where the haves will mix with each other. Thus, we are left with a dubious economic agenda punctuated by the self-glorification episodes of ministers, imitations of the Late Lee Kuan Yew (a true visionary) and episodic vendetta fits with an imagable zest of coffers.
Voters did not find much to salvage from Ramgoolam’s last tenure. But democratisation was an idea that he was right to defend. That in its execution there were glaring misses, there is no doubt. And in fairness, announcements by the new team around the creation of an entrepreneurial culture through the right encouragement struck a chord amongst many in the country. This has been quickly abandoned. Pandering to the promoters of planned cities must be more rewarding. The absence of stance on inequality, the loss of purchasing power and the outsourcing of the war on poverty bode nothing salutary for the many.
After the unexpected win of December last, you would expect the elected representatives to be humbled by the power of democracy. How emperors can be reminded that should they fail, they will pay the price. There is the need for transparency and integrity; not of the targeted type, but applied indiscriminately. This has yet to happen leaving us in a messy stew akin to the one we have been accustomed to. We should have renewed our political class and then there would be a crop of potential prime ministerial candidates. Instead, we have a musical chair restricted to three surnames since 1968.
Widespread rage led to the massive upset at the 2014 polls with a number of ‘unprepared’ candidates managing to get elected. This could explain the solecisms in the hemicycle but cannot be deemed as an acceptable excuse for the amateurishness of some ministers. Montaigne offered the cure to a woe that is ubiquitous, “Anyone who wishes to be cured of ignorance must first admit to it.” This was in clear view after the stalemate on the DTA. It is alarming when someone with scant knowledge of an area is allowed to dabble in it. Grotesque PR exercises fail to mask pieces of legislation that are cobbled to ‘seek and destroy’.  Everyone is agreeable to new institutions that will create a better Mauritius but no one wants a legal arsenal in the wrong hands.
Only 11 months. Less than a year. We should be wiser next time.