In the best of worlds, politicians would fulfil the promises made to the people during campaign time. They would stick to the letter to what they have said they would accomplish, without citizens having to ask for answers or feel like they have been used as an entry ticket to Parliament. Whenever problems arise, citizens would have a place to air their grievances out, which would be taken into account. They would not have to reach such a low point that there remains no choice but to resort to desperate actions. But since we do not live in the best of worlds, and since no sooner than elected politicians taste power, they forget about their promises, citizens have no choice than to take drastic actions to make their voices heard. Such is the case of the hunger strike undertaken by Clency Harmon. On the one hand, the claim of Clency Harmon is legitimate. On the other hand, and perhaps the vilest aspect of this hunger strike, is its misuse by seasoned but out of power politicians.
Since the strike has started, a number of people have expressed their support to the cause of Clency Harmon, ranging from people who are directly involved in land cases to well-wishers from the general public, to religious leaders. Politicians from the opposition have also visited the striker, but have used the opportunity to turn the spotlights, yet again, on the political game and themselves, and away from the real issue at hand.
Navin Ramgoolam has not missed the opportunity to remind that the Truth and Justice Commission was instituted during his mandate and has had the gall to add: « Fode nou vini mem pou gagn sa solisyon la ». The MMM made its voice heard on the matter as well, with Paul Bérenger urging the government to take action and pledging his supportive action in case the government does not go ahead with its promise. The PMSD has wished for the issue to be debated in Parliament. All have criticized the government for their lack of action, their failure to implement an electoral promise and have in so many words implied that they would have done a better job.
These questions now beg themselves: is it only when political parties are out of government that they can lucidly see what needs to be done in time of crises? Does each citizen action need to be recuperated and be used as an opportunity to score political points? Or are these opportunities actually used as lessons for when these parties will actually be in power? While these questions might be rhetorical, the facts however remain. Politicians promise the moon when they need citizens to vote for them but when they fail to deliver, they hide behind bureaucracy, procedure, the good old excuse of time, and any other pretext under the sun. And yet, when they are outside the realm of power, they become the beholders of light and solutions, offering nuggets of wisdom and become the bearers of prompt action.
Citizens are often criticized of being complacent and lacking initiative to urge for their rights. And yet, when citizens do make their voices heard to avail of their rights and dues, as promised, politicians do not miss an opportunity to ride citizen’s actions, repeating the same political tactics, albeit with different dialogues.