SURESH RAMPHUL

When the Prime Minister was commenting Nando Bodha’s departure from the government, we saw on television the MSM team closely gathered behind him, nodding, smiling and approving. The idea was to give us the picture of a unified team. However, the reality was that a Minister had left because he could no longer adapt to their rotten ways of doing things.

They downplayed Bodha’s resignation. It was as if nothing was the matter. But that was for the public. In private, they knew perfectly well that it could have remarkable consequences for the government. The government is caught in a situation where it has to pretend total indifference to the resignation of a Minister as well as a public march, and face the fact, in private, that they are increasingly losing their popularity.

They appear not to be affected but behind our back they are worried sick and embarrassed    if one has slammed the door in their faces, it’s possible there will be others. Who will be the next? The question is constantly on the PM’s mind. His problem is coming both from outside and from within. There is a threat to the good running of the government but they will not accept this in public. To the public they are saying that they will go to the end of their mandate but they know that other resignations or other scandals will spell their doom. A crack in the wall is not something to be ignored.

No government likes its ugly sides to be exposed to the public. Now that we know certain things are not going round in the government, they will feel bad about it because it’s bad publicity.

A wide gap

There’s a wide gap between what they say and what they do. They tell you they believe in democratic values, freedom of expression, liberty, but the MBC, ICAC and the Police are fully controlled. When the MBC was covering Nando Bodha’s resignation in the 7.30 p.m. bulletin, we heard a journalist saying, in voice off, that when Nando Bodha was Director of the MBC, « il licencie plus de 80 employés de la rue Pasteur », meaning that there was a considerable loss of employment. Was the journalist positioning himself against Nando Bodha instead of giving us an objective report? On the paper, the MBC is impartial, in reality it isn’t. Do you report what the authorities above want you to report?

We want a better treatment of news on television. On the one hand, they know that a television free from political inteference will contribute to the advancement of a nation. On the other hand, they are not willing to bring the necessary changes. This is pure hypocrisy. They were voted to bring positive changes in the country not to perpetuate a rotten situation. The government professes freedom of information but in practice, it’s different. One day, Sir Anerood Jugnauth was holding a press conference and this was being relayed on television. A young reporter asked a question. SAJ replied rudely. Was it meant to humiliate the reporter in the eyes of the public? The latter was merely doing his job.

Moreover, freedom of information does not go along with refusing access to a newspaper to conferences held by the government. People can very well see that the government is practicing double standards. They tell you they are democratic yet they use repressive methods. They want us to believe they are right. Are we fools? They tell you they believe in justice but they do not allow ICAC to do its work as it should. They know that justice delayed is justice denied yet they do nothing to see to it that our citizens obtain justice at the right moment.

Good leadership

People have every reason to show their displeasure through pacific public marches when nepotism rules the day. Putting their people first has become the norm. There are flaws in our system. Instead of correcting the flaws, they are exploiting them to the full in their own interest. This is not what we expect from a government. The population is sending signals every day that they want a change for the good of the country and for future generations but the government is indifferent. The government has adopted a “mo p… ar zot” approach. How do you want people not to feel insulted? We have a leadership problem in the country. The people at the head of the country do not know what leadership is all about.

True leaders understand that leadership is not about them but about those they serve. The government believes that good leadership is about themselves rather than about the people. And what are the advisers doing in all this? There are all sorts of “dérives” and scandals. Why are the advisers not drawing the attention of the government to them? What is the point of having dozens of advisers when they are unable to help the government to take the right path?

The situation of law and order is deteriorating. Everyone is concerned about it. The murder of a man or a woman has today become a “fait divers”. Old people are being ill-treated. Drugs are still a flourishing business. The law and order situation has reached such a point that the police feel overwhelmed or “dépassée”. People are alarmed. The truth is that the government is incapable of coming up with solutions. If we had a good leadership in the government, we would not have had any Sawmynaden affair. If we had a visionary at the head of the government, we would not have found ourselves in the absurd situation of receiving from Pack and Blister “50 respirateurs artificiels inutilisables” costing Rs 84 million.

Good leadership makes a difference in the lives of people. But it’s something this government pretends not to know. One quality that the PM lacks is decisiveness.

The Opposition appears to be united against the government. But the reality is that many people do not want to have anything to do with Ramgoolam, Bérenger, and Boolell. They have had enough of them. They belong to the old school. Many people believe that it’s high time for them to take a rest. Besides, when there are too many captains in a ship, there’s bound to be conflict at some point. On the one hand, they are saying “B… li deor!”. But the question is: are they really prepared to take over? What indications do we have that there is a strong leader in the Opposition who can take Mauritius forward? What will they do to combat corruption?

The truth is that we have no clear-cut answers from them. It’s one thing to protest against the doings of this government and another thing to pose as its challenger.