PROFESSOR SHEILA BUNWAREE
Sorry I cannot address you as ‘Honorable Prime Minister. In the absence of any form of Constitutional Morality, as discussed by Ambedkar, the local monarch found it easy to transfer power to you in 2017 and make you PM. Sadly, you have not been able to rise to the stature of a real statesman even if you have been elected as PM in 2019. There are quite a few like you across the globe – Putin and Trump immediately come to my mind, albeit not exactly for the same reasons.
I take exception to the fact that many of my compatriots, including myself who stood at La Louise with ‘The Avengers’ (God Bless them!) in the scorching sun, fiercely looking for Transparency, Accountability and the Truth, have been called ‘saleté’ and ‘palabreurs’. You also called some of us ‘Scavengers’, thinking that you will belittle us but instead it only reflects your hierarchical mindset and the usual arrogance of your government. Scavengers are the very people who kindly assist in taking our garbage away, allowing us to live in a clean space. There is nothing dishonorable or derogatory in being a scavenger, more so when it comes to cleaning off the dirt and rot of a system, oppressing the nation as a whole.
At a time when fellow citizens are feeling discouraged, depressed, confronting diverse challenges in the aftermath of the Wakashio ecological disaster and the COVID pandemic, they need comfort and reassurance but instead they are being called ‘ingrats and insignifiants’. Perhaps we can expect no better – you are after all the ‘rightful’ heir of King SAJ, who ‘p… ar zot’, who calls one segment of the population ‘démons’, who talks about the presidency as a place to ‘Asize Bez Kas’ and for whom ‘moralite pa ranpli vant.’ This is the ‘Khandan’ (hindi word for pedigree) – no hate or offence here, just the TRUTH! Moreover, the ailing king does not hesitate to call all those who have decided to be on the right side of history ‘Traitors’. Who is the real traitor? Dare I ask! Our political history and the recent interview of Charu Bissoondoyal-Deelchand, highlighting the difference between real IFBs and the Jugnauths, can testify to this.
The day of reckoning is not far. Our country has a rich heritage – a confluence of various cultures; whatever be our religions, they all teach us certain universal values : Truth, Compassion, Solidarity, Humility, Honesty and Decency. Mauritian citizens both here and in the diaspora, have also learnt the value of hardwork, discipline and rigour. We will not tolerate that our institutions be taken down the drain any further, compromising the future of the younger generations. The economy is in a mess, our currency rapidly depreciating, job-creating Foreign Direct Investments (FDIs) have fallen low, unemployment is on the rise, our education system unable to meet the requirements of a new economy, causing us to be on the margins of the digital divide. Waste and largesse persist, nepotism and corruption show their ugly faces in every nook and corner, lawlessness and disorder have become the mainstay, rendering every citizen insecure and living in fear, our environment and ecology under threat. So, ‘Enough is enough’. We want answers, justice and development for all. Gandhi once said ‘la désobéissance civile devient un devoir sacré quand l’État devient hors-la-loi ou corrompu.’ We shall therefore fulfil our duty on the 13th of February and beyond.
You argue that you do not have time for ‘faussetés, rumeurs et palabres’ but I wish to ask you where and what is exactly ‘faux, or a rumeur, or a palabre’ in the very many Truths coming our way each day. When Honorable Nando Bodha – one of the rare, competent and respected stalwarts of your government, resigned – having seen how diseased the MSM has turned to be, and how dysfunctional governance has become, you unashamedly tried to fool the nation by assembling your troops at ‘le bâtiment de la honte’, encouraging them to applaud your statement: ‘Mo replik avek argiman, xplikasion ek mo donn linformasion…’ All we get is opacity and cover-ups. This is perhaps your last chance to provide us with precise information, while you allow Wael Ghonim’s words ‘The power of the people is greater than the people in power’ resonate in your ears. There are hundreds of questions that YOU MUST answer but I will restrict myself to the following 13 for now:
1. Why did the MSM conveniently leave out a ‘Freedom of Information Act’ in its 2019 manifesto? Such a piece of legislation could have gone a long way in the promotion of transparency, access to information and combat against corruption.
2. Can you ensure that we get back our ‘redevances’ from the MBC – a propaganda house which remains so biased, only relevant to totalitarian regimes like the current one.
3. Where is the report on our dead dolphins and why has it not been made public?
4. What has happened to the Commission of Inquiry on former president Ameenah Gurib-Fakim? Where is the commission’s report? We spend millions on presidents and vice presidents as well as commissions of inquiry. For what?
5. So many lives continue to be destroyed by drugs. Why is it that the recommendations of the Lam Shang Leen report have not been implemented?
6. Are you aware that thousands of our children are unable to read and write after 6 years of schooling and that the educational reforms of your government have not changed this situation a single bit, let alone our Special Education Needs children? Where are the ‘tablets’ which never reached the children?
7. What do you have to say about the 19 billion rupees spent on Safe City cameras but which clearly are not functioning, while people are crying out for jobs and food?
8. Why do you have ministers cumulating 2 or 3 functions? Is the MSM short of talent and capacity? How many advisors do you have personally and how much is it costing us, taxpayers? Can you publish their names and respective Terms of Reference/Job Specifications?
9. What is your definition of meritocracy and nepotism? What do you have to say about SB’s appointment at the MSB to the detriment of a long serving and qualified woman official? Do you think it’s normal to have SD as Chairperson of the Mauritius Museums Council when so many qualified graduates in the field of History and Museum studies are waiting for a job?
10. Did you and your ‘colistiers’ spend more than what the law permits for the 2019 elections? Do you know the meaning of ‘electoral integrity’ and how do the ‘Kistnen papers’ fit in with your definition? Would you agree that elections are ‘unfree and unfair’ in Mauritian democracy?
11. Why did it take so long for Yogida Sawmynaden to ‘step down as minister/take a ‘congé politique’ and please do tell us what is the exact meaning and implications of such a holiday in the current context?
12. Do you sincerely think it is decent to live in the kind of palace that you do while hundreds of Mauritian children do not have a roof on their heads and many others still breathe “Amiante/asbestos’ everyday?
13. And yes, what is all this confusion about ANGUS Road?
We have many more questions but I have privileged these 13 for you to ponder and find answers – (re : ‘Mo replik avek argiman, xplikasion ek mo donn linformasion…’ ) so that you can come to meet us on the streets of Port Louis on Saturday 13th February. We have the legitimate ‘Right to Know’ !
Some people may wish to put all those fighting for the Truth and Justice behind bars or see us dead, because we have become very ‘dérangeants’, but allow me to remind those very people that they may be able to put us behind bars, but they will not be able to lock up the public mood and determination!