ENDY JAY

For this article, I have borrowed the title of an old Western of my adolescent years (CISCO KID RIDES AGAIN) with a slight variation that makes it fit, now that the verdict of the Privy Council in the Medpoint affair is known, and final at that.

Indeed, the ‘Kid’ will continue to ride high at the head of ‘Lepep’ on its ‘folle chevauchée’, almost unprecedented in more than one respect, until the next day of reckoning for May 2020 at latest. Between now and that deadline, anything can happen among this most likely still an abusive use of power to add to what has already accumulated. Indeed things will happen, any type of colourable devices to extend the hegemony and retain power(?). Those who had expected the Privy Council ‘to do the job’ doivent repasser.

One such projection is that now we may be heading for a three-cornered election contest, so much desired for long by large chunks of the electorate – though by no means a certainty given the possibility of those last-minute turnabouts with the master plot-twisters still around. While, at the same time, we cannot rule out the possibility of a surreptitious intervention of ‘Big Brother’ to forestall any risk inherent in a three-cornered contest of  pouvwar sap dan lamin’, a fright powerful enough to give rise to the most incongruous arrangements, albeit unlikely ‘this time’. But I’ll take the risky bet that anyhow the MMM will run solo. It is my feeling, may be shared by others, Bérenger, cunning and intelligent as he is, albeit often wrong in his calculations, will perceive the unique sense of a three-cornered contest, now, not only as a shot at redemption, but the MMM may well be the attenuating effect of the most likely situation to come!

But, more importantly, many welcome the verdict, not out of sympathy for anyone, but rather it allows us to know whether Pravind Jugnauth can become Prime Minister through the polls, which must be a different story than through ‘linpost’, and silence once and for all that choir of recriminations that have never completely subsided since the (in)famous deal. He has successfully crossed the hurdle of the Privy Council. He must now face ‘lepep admirab’ soon, unfettered, which nevertheless will be ‘une autre paire de manches’. How so?

Anyone old enough will remember the three ‘eleksyon koreksyon’ we have had since Independence (1982, 1995 (the archetype) and 2014) when the electors invariably, in a sense, demonstrated they agreed with Shakespeare: ‘The evil that men do lives after them, but the good is often interred with their bones’.

Moreover, it lies beyond the comprehension of the common man that Pravind Jugnauth could have been found guilty on a legal technicality for having, in his capacity of Minister of Finance, given effect to a Cabinet decision, whatever the ramifications of the deal, fortunately for some outside the purview of the Privy Council. Whereas ‘lepep admirab’ can fairly easily assess what has taken place since ‘Lepep’ took over in 2014, more precisely since the transfer of power in 2017 – revival of that much publicized (and criticized) mega project (that one most probably to be the cherry on the cake, not for the celebration, but ammunition for broadsides firing) they undertook to shelve, blatant nepotism and cover-ups on a scale never seen before, transfer of responsibility from one key institution to another to facilitate devilish schemes, appointment of their ‘dimoun’ at the head of sensitive ones where political neutrality is a key factor, attempts to interfere with the powers of a constitutional post that stood as an insuperable obstacle to their quest of hegemony in the best style of dynastical tendencies and that latest muzzling legislation, to mention only these. While at the same time we remember Pravind Jugnauth’s soft-speaking style and pleasant manners of the early days of his kingship that gradually gave way to arrogance and sarcasm (admittedly not always), without forgetting how he learned from Dad to p… on anybody who would not agree or anything that did not shape up to his liking. All the preceding blot out, as it were, the achievements of ‘Lepep’, indeed real in some areas, whatever their weight on the scale when ‘lepep admirab’ will decide next call.

We also remember how Pravind Jugnauth became Deputy Leader of the MSM in 1999 and Leader in 2003, in the process leapfrogging his seniors, among them some who stood firmly by SAJ’s side during the difficult hours of 1983. Back then, these events did not attract much popular attention, such being considered by the common man the internal affairs of a political party, a deal, so to speak, between Jack and his son Jackson, what! Issues that could not have much impact on the electorate up to 2014.

But next time, the ‘deal papa-piti’, the final act to consolidate the dynasty, when someone became Prime Minister not as a direct choice of the electorate – jealous as it must be of a prerogative it can exercise only once every 4 or 5 years – added to other ‘abuses’, could be determining factors, while some will make it a point to bring back to the surface things we tend to forget, even unearthing others unknown to the common man that may stun*. (During the recent US mid-term elections, which saw an important turnout, a great majority of electors declared for them Trump was the issue. The results were self-explanatory. Will Pravind Jugnauth be that sort of issue?).

The Medpoint affair now settled, we are heading for hectic political activity in an intensity rarely seen before, especially on the side of ‘Lepep’ which, expectedly, will deploy the heavy artillery, money- and logistics-wise together with an abusive use of the State machinery (as has always been the case), for losing the coming contest will open the way to unprecedented ‘règlement de comptes’ as ‘bate-rande’. But the funny thing is that the main challenger, at the crucial time, may still have a Damoclès sword dangling above his head.

At the same time, to what will be already a tense atmosphere, a new issue that recently raised its (ugly?) head, and which most likely will pick up momentum in the months ahead, will further sour the environment, political, social and otherwise: ethnic-based census. That issue which caused a stunning ‘levée de boucliers’ in some quarters to oppose. ‘Who is scared?’ (Duval dixit). While in the camp of the proponents the knives are out to fight for it to the end.

Nothing in the above should be construed as an act of blatant partiality, but the way things have been handled in some particular cases over the past years has raised serious interrogations which make it necessary to know the verdict of ‘lepep admirab’. And if the voting pattern of the past decades is any measure of the matter, well we may simply be heading for a situation of ‘sap dan pwalon tomb dan dife’. For to expect any better will be day-dreaming, at best ‘less bad’.

Sir Winston Churchill rightly pointed out that democracy has many flaws. ‘Lepep’ has, admittedly, its achievements, but at the same time exposed barely such flaws that enabled major side-slippings and abuses that have been a constant.

Yes, the ‘Kid’ will continue to ride. Can somebody buck him off?

The Medpoint affair was no trifle issue. Yet we must, anyhow, welcome the verdict inasmuch as it now affords the opportunity to ‘lepep admirab’ to deal with a far more important issue that has to be settled here, and not on foreign soil.

Are we heading for significant changes in the political configuration, or just a continuation, hopefully with new faces of calibre capable to deliver? But, of all possible scenarios, we may hardly expect major course-altering impacts from the contest to come.

Attendons voir!

(* The state of the economy, Agalega etc.)

February 27, 2019