This is the first time in our history that a VPM threatens to gun down the Leader of the Opposition in Parliament, if his bodyguard would only kindly lend him his gun. I refer to the public speech of Showkutally Soodhun at an Eid-ul-fitr dinner in Flaq in the evening of Tuesday 18th of July.
Here is a brief recap to explain how we got there. In June 2017, Mauritius is portrayed in the international media as the begging bowl of Africa dancing to the tune of Saudi Arabia because a false communiqué was sent out to the Gulf on behalf of the Republic of Mauritius. I raise this issue as one of national security and internal political crisis in my first forum article on this matter in ‘The Risks of Looking out for Big Brothers’ (17th June 2017). The Leader of the Opposition brings evidence to Parliament that it was indeed VPM Soodhun who had sent out this false communiqué and does his job by questioning his outrageous behaviour and especially the motivation thereof. We learn that the Ministry of Foreign Affairs had then tried to remedy to this ‘blunder’. A cloak of silence settles heavily on a matter of national and international interest and there is no response from the PM, let alone a sanction against the VPM. I refer to Parliament as our weakest institutions in my article ‘Parlnought, thy name is opacity’ (1st of July 2017). Fortified by the sanctioning of his superior, Mr Soodhun has now blown up into his full size and revealed his true colours.
If Mr Soodhun’s speech were not already a criminal offence under the Terrorism Act, it appears that several elements make of it an example of emotive rabble-rousing and incitement to racial hatred. One, by the VPM’s very personal book, no one has the right to comment critically on Saudi Arabia because it is associated with one of the religions practised in Mauritius. If the Leader of the Opposition dares to do so, he deserves to be killed, albeit cold-bloodedly in Parliament. The equivalent in any other cultural context is as fascist in tendency. So, if we follow through the VPM’s argument, anyone who says that there is abject corruption in India also deserves to be gunned down because it hosts Rishikesh, abode of Shiva. Interestingly enough, My Soodhun announces that he is supported in his stand re: Saudi Arabia by Mr Dulthumun and the VOH. Read what you will in the old connivance between political leaders and leaders of socio-cultural groups and the very real dangers that the latter represent to the safety of our country.
If all this were not bad enough, Mr Soodhun then glorifies his fantasised/intended/pre-meditated? murder of XLD as a holy action by giving it the appellation of Jihad. All of this to a Muslim crowd at a time in world history where vulnerable young people are joining extremist Islamic movements and participating in the mass murders of innocent people. People with extremist views are bad enough anytime, anywhere in the world. They are particularly dangerous when they hold one of the highest positions of political power as Number 4 of the Government and openly threaten to gun down the Leader of the Opposition dressing murder as Jihad.
To take up Mr Soodhun’s word, which of the two is the more ‘infect’? A VPM who threatens murder, tends to cause «incitement to racial hatred», whose discourse could tear apart the fragile social fabric of Mauritius when we know how quickly things can escalate – 1999 feels like yesterday? Or the silence of the PM?
The only good thing is that there is nowhere to hide anymore, except behind a weak leader. Technology and social media allow us to see everything that the MBC does not want us to see. The PM has turned a blind eye so far but he would be wrong to continue to ignore the danger that the number 4 of his Government represents to Mauritius. Mr Soodhun must have been made to resign three days ago.