ENDY JAY

The MMM is running solo, meaning, barring unimaginable developments between now and polling day, we are heading for an unprecedented, full-fledged three-cornered election contest. Almost a ‘grande première’ (1976 was no match) in our political history – with apparently no pre-agreed post-electoral arrangements –, when the three greatest parties (however much, as at today, reinvigorated or weakened, as in the case of the ‘plus fort que jamais’) which have dominated local politics for the past decades will be locked in a triangular tussle, firing broadsides at each other indiscriminately.

The possibility of a ‘sursaut’

At long last, a wish come true for a large chunk of the electorate, irrespective of allegiance, whatever the outcome of the polls, though hopefully not something that makes us descend deep into a mire of confusion like, say, the Brexit chaos. But very likely a contest to yield a situation that may eliminate the sort of ‘dictature de la majorité’ that has been a constant since 2005 with all this represented in terms of abuses and sideslippings the flaws of democracy permitted with impunity. A wish, nevertheless, mitigated on account of a MMM battered down to shreds after repeated miscalculations, ‘koustik, vire devire’, that finally reached a watershed in 2014 when an inconceivable plot twist, not to say stupidity, compounded several times thereafter, signalled the haemorrhage we have witnessed so far. However, with a clear, newly-found will, without arrogance to fight back and certainly not yet annihilated as expressed in the recent words of that defector who feels ‘si MMM al tousel, li pou balie’. The context presents the possibility of a ‘sursaut’ of those ‘militan koltar’, and a fairly large chunk of the traditional supporters back to the fold, irritated by the ‘gran gran koze’ of late from some on the other side of the fence, and who may not wish to extinguish the smoldering wick all out to recapture its lost status of king-maker, which this time will be a blessing. As regards those who run the risk of being ‘balie’, some stunning surprises may be ahead. But that one we leave it for later, possibly an issue to grab headlines.
If I am singling out the MMM from the fray, it is simply that, because of the situation that now obtains, or rather how it has climaxed in the running towards the great day of reckoning, it alone held the key to make such a triangular contest possible. At the same time, it must be stressed it had no choice but that solo run (to be the game-changer?), unless it chose to paddle in muddy waters again.
Now we are settled, that three-way tie will take place, the MMM boldly, and wisely, attempting a shot at redemption, albeit it cannot expect, in that one go, to totally heal those self-inflicted wounds or rub clean the many blots on what was hitherto its proud banner, and above all with no prospect to ‘kas enn gran pake’ in the contest to come, yet possibly to have a role to play in the post-election configuration given the battle alignment. Should this be the case, interestingly ‘what role’? A role, the pious wish of many diehards, to recover if only part of its past glory before the ‘leader historique’ lays down the arms, which must be in the offing, hopefully not dynasty mode!

‘Bizin fini lanpir Jugnauth’…

(Here I would like to open a parenthesis to wonder whether those diehard supporters are not reminiscing what if the MMM did not pull out of the ‘Remake’ (that manifestly backfired) or what if it ran solo in 2014. Indeed the most intriguing ‘what ifs’ of our post-Independence political history. In either case, the political configuration would have been totally different today.
And what of those to lead the onslaught? One famous for his coffers, to mention only that, seeking a comeback, if at all possible, however much perked up by recent Court victories. As of yet, Ramgoolam has not drawn a tight connection between a comeback and settling scores. But his recent ‘bizin fini lanpir Jugnauth’ speak volumes. Then a veteran puffed by serial defeats and repeated miscalculations, having amply shown his prowess in political gymnastics, attempting revival, and finally one dubbed ‘usurper’ by his principal challenger – and others for that matter – in a desperate endeavour to get in by the front door and stay at the helm and manifestly in the most uncomfortable situation as incumbent and with the gloomy prospect the ‘other one’, who has often of late stated ‘mo pou reget tousala’, wins the day, a real possibility, notwithstanding bookmakers’ odds. Enough to send a chill down his spine that may explain his ongoing efforts to stake one’s all, talking tall in the process to impress and convince of the like ‘sa dezan e demi la, enn reklam sa’. Indeed, during those two-and-a-half years we have witnessed a number of things, among them a fair number not that laudable at all. And what if these were to have been the ‘reklam’!!! Rarely have we seen incumbents, in such intensity, ‘sortir les grands moyens’, indeed all the means, even ‘Santita’, in the running to General Elections. And of late some easily discernible signs of panic, like Pravind Jugnauth’s recent ‘apre eleksion nou pou gete lor ki kadadak Bérenger pou monte’. Premonition?

‘Pouvwar sap dan lamin’

To come back to the contest itself, it undoubtedly presents ‘lepep admirab’ with one of its toughest task since Independence, no clear-cut choice this time as has often been the case since the first stunning 60-0. Many of those famous slogans as ‘pouvwar sap dan lamin’, ‘nou bann’, ‘bizin sanzman’ (that one worth gold in 2005 when the preceding two years that dented, as it were, the uninterrupted ‘seizure’ of two families had become unbearable for ‘many’ and which signalled the start of the worst spell of bad governance) will not this time have the same currency, just as electoral promises, however demagogic (like the doubling of Basic Retirement Pension (BRP) that cannot be implemented, even if spread over time, without painful collateral damages to last, and likewise for other promises of the same nature already made or to come. And here it stands to reason to remind that any move to substantially increase BRP, let alone doubling it, however laudable, will never make sense if not means-tested), that always had the edge over performance may be somewhat blunt this time, since nullified by a cacophony of shameful outbidding. While it would be unfair to say all the options are bad, yet a straight choice poses quite a challenge to separate the wheat from the chaff. What to separate the contenders?: reputation, performance, reliability, experience, pragmatism, behaviour, charisma and what have we. Really tough prospect indeed!
To render the task of ‘lepep admirab’ more tricky, the host of new faces to whom, in all fairness, we cannot attach any tag, though cautious however much glorified by their respective leaders. Here, en passant, it must be acknowledged the ‘Kid’ scores some points for having dumped on the sidelines some of those ‘laryaz’ that were part of his heritage, but with the risky bet of aligning defectors, that may backfire, while having wielded the axe ruthlessly within his own ranks. For some, the party is over, saddeningly without pension, with many newcomers in eager expectation to join the ‘maja karo’ soon, as has always been the case.

As we brace ourselves to live these hectic weeks ahead, that will contrast the ‘ferveur populaire’ that pervaded the whole country during the recent ‘Jeux des Iles’, we leave it to the patented political pundits to offer their comments and forecasts, but with the usual propensity of some to put their own spin on their analyses, and await impatiently for the Pandora’s box to be opened. Enough agitation and excitement to distract our attention from the darkening of the skies worldwide, political, economic, social and otherwise, hardly any need to specify inasmuch as they make the headlines daily, the clear telltale writings on the wall that herald ‘events’ to come. This, to the reader, may appear, contextwise, an untimely digression. It is not!

These coming elections, however much important locally, cannot in any way dwarf the fact the scene of the world is changing. In a matter of days or weeks after the elections, the rejoicings and tears, even stupor, will be over. But what lies ahead on the International scene will gradually unfold astoundingly.
‘Marke, garde’! I’ll be back.

(Defectors above do not invariably mean all those who quit the MMM since 2015.The shrewd reader will differentiate).

P.S: I have not made any mention of the smaller parties above, not as a snub. Honestly and sincerely, I would have wished some of their candidates to make a successful breakthrough, if only to take us away from the ‘sap dan pwalon, tomb dan dife’. But I cannot, in any way, prevent ‘lepep admirab’ to be…’admirab’.