BHAWNA ATMARAM

These six toxic words are at the root of our corrupted little paradise in distress. It is particularly laughable when an honourable minister claims to be blissfully ignorant of what is unravelling in his own ministry. A less laughable matter however is when the chairperson of a particular board of his assigned ministry who was his running mate from the same party in the last general elections has had prior knowledge about a suspected corruption case BUT has surreptitiously chosen to keep it under wraps.  Is that good governance with a modern twist?

Freshly targeted by the European Union for its lax attitude towards combatting anti-money laundering and terrorism financing practices, Mauritius is in dire straits. We have had it coming for a long time now. It is common practice for political leaders to slide political nominees in every nook and corner of our public organisations to thank them for their dedication. It does not matter if they have been rejected by the voters in the general elections.  Or if their brain cells are non-existent. After all, isn’t our actual political system based on an archaic ‘best loser’ method, where even a loser is considered victorious and awarded a seat in our august parliament? Coming back to political nominees, it is clear that they bear allegiance to the party leaders rather than to the country.  They stand to gain more. Bleed the country to the point of no-return.  That is a terrifying prospect but who will have the courage to bring about a much-needed political reform to get rid of blood-sucking leeches?

Anyway, chairpersons and members of various boards in this country ‘are appointed by the Minister.’ So, where is the accountability? Where is the transparency? No wonder ‘Fair is foul, and foul is fair.’ When a minister appoints someone, it should be his utmost duty to keep his eyes, ears and mind alert, by constantly monitoring performance instead of encouraging sycophancy.   The reputation of our country and tax payers’ money are at stake. The stench of corruption is hard to wash away and our country will undoubtedly struggle to keep afloat, given the harsh economic context post COVID-19.

Lady Macbeth from the play Macbeth accurately nails it: « Here’s the smell of the blood still. All the perfumes of Arabia will not sweeten this little hand. Oh, Oh, Oh! »