Monday, December 1, 2014

General Elections in Mauritius: Prospects for Change

Like you all know here in Mauritius, as well as in Rodrigues and Agalega, we entered the phase of general elections which will be held on Wednesday 10 December 2014. Some 74 political parties have registered for the general elections 2014.

For a small country like Mauritius with a population of about 1,200,000, there are the two major political blocs who are engaging in polemics everyday with their congresses in the several circumscriptions, meetings, house-to-house visits etc. There is firstly the PTR/MMM Alliance, with the two leaders Navin Ramgoolam and Paul Berenger and there is also the other political bloc, MSM-PMSD-ML which call themselves “People’s Alliance” (Alliance Lepep). The motto of the PTR/MMM Alliance is a united people, a modern country and their aim is to make Mauritius a second republic, while the legislative elections stand along the presidential one (a proposal forwarded in the wake of a possible victory at the elections with at least three-quarters of seats). Therefore, Paul Berenger shall be then the Prime Minister for 5 years and Navin Ramgoolam shall be the president for 7 years. 

On the other hand, the People’s Alliance is completely against making Mauritius a second republic. According to their analysis, these two heads of the PTR-MMM Alliance (Navin and Paul) are power-thirst and are primarily seeking their personal interest instead of that of the people of Mauritius. They claim that this new plan (the second republic) shall pave the way for more dictatorship and they claim their own People’s Alliance is not at all like the adversary alliance, saying that they have formed an alliance for the people and (are) with the people. They further claim that they are not seeking power and that they are here to care for the people.

Therefore the Mauritians – an intelligent people – should bear in mind that Mauritius neither belongs to any political bloc nor to the majority, in terms of religious communities. On Wednesday 10 December 2014, each Mauritian shall have the opportunity to do a good clean up and remove all those who are power-thirst, fraudsters, incompetent and those who are sucking the blood of this nation in cups and thus reducing the Mauritians to a life of misery. Verily, everything is becoming quite expensive. The cost of living is high; price of all commodities have risen and there is no law and order as it should have, and consequently, there are lots of crimes, thefts, rapes, unemployment etc. There are a lot of graduates and professionals – doctors, lawyers, are other professionals – who are jobless. Their families sacrificed a lot to send them for further studies while others are amusing themselves with state money.

For the past two mandates in the two general elections, there was a chief of state who fooled this nation, and Paul Berenger (as the Leader of the Opposition) sent “missiles” of arguments and questions on Navin Ramgoolam and his ministers, and today only to make Mauritius advance forward, to make it become a second republic, Ramgoolam played this important role so that he may not go in the dustbin of history – he took Paul Berenger with him in this alliance – because he knows that Paul Berenger has always struggled – for 30 years – to bring forward an electoral reform and to make Mauritius a second republic. And now, with this new situation – the creation of the agreement and alliance – Berenger accepted to join him for that electoral reform and second republic. And he accepted that he be made Prime Minister for 5 years while Navin Ramgoolam becomes president with all power for 7 years.

Therefore, each Mauritian must ponder carefully (on this situation). On the 10 December 2014, there shall be a weapon in their hands to enable that major cleaning. That weapon is your pen and you shall vote with your heart to uproot all dirt and corruption, and I can tell you that with the realization of this PTR-MMM Alliance, Paul Berenger has already began the cleansing whereby he demanded that if the (PTR-MMM) alliance is on for the general elections, then the PTR has to abide to certain conditions, and therefore, the final decision came after months of “on and off” of the alliance state of agreement. 

I must say that with the great experience that he has as politician, someone who fought all his life (for the needs and rights of others) and even escaped an attempt to murder, I believe that this man named Paul Berenger deserves to become the Prime Minister of Mauritius, Rodrigues and Agalega. But unfortunately, because of the colour of his skin – he is white – the majority of the population (of Indian origin) do not agree to this. To have a white person govern them as the Prime Minister of this country is not their cup of tea. Despite the loads of problems and difficulties which they are undergoing – and verily they are the ones reaping problems more than the others – they prefer to vote people like themselves (of their own race and belief). But now, with the PTR-MMM alliance, Paul Berenger became a hero in that which he succeeded in securing an equal share of tickets between his party and the PTR (30/30) and this despite the protestations of the socio-cultural groups of the majority (Hindu). They did not want to have Paul Berenger obtain a big share of tickets for the general elections. Thus, with this move, Paul Berenger proved his intelligence. He knows how to do his work despite the fact that since some time now, he has been the target of insults by his great opponents. But despite the insults, he succeeded in establishing the alliance so as to enable the implementation of that cleansing, and on Saturday 15 November 2014, when the list of candidates for the subsequent elections have been revealed, we came to know that 12 ministers and 7 deputies of the Ramgoolam Government have not received tickets to pose as candidates for the imminent general elections.

'Power' under Second Republic: President versus the Prime Minister?

When analysing the agreement on the electoral reform, if somehow there is some hypocrisy in it and Paul Berenger is being used as a pawn so that (the existing prime minister) may return to power, then, Insha-Allah, we need to pray a lot that Allah restricts those with an evil mind from succeeding in their plan, and that Allah the Exalted sends him (the evil-minded one) in the dustbin of history. When I study the proposition of the PTR-MMM on the second republic, it is the president of the Republic who shall be in a position of force. After analysing the article 4 (a) (ii) of the electoral agreement between the two parties, it is stipulated: “The Prime Minister shall give effective consideration to any recommendation of the president to appoint and revoke a Minister.”

The word “shall” means an obligation to “effectively consider” the recommendation of the President. The Prime Minister will have no discretionary powers. He cannot ignore the recommendation of the President. Now what about the obligation to “give effective consideration”? The Prime Minister shall have here also an obligation to enforce the recommendation of the President. However, the terms used need to be clarified. This clause requires the prime minister only to seriously consider any recommendation of the President on the appointment and dismissal of a minister. For me, the Prime Minister is not obliged to follow the recommendations of the president. According to the Constitution, the prime minister is the only master on board. Under the Constitution, only the Prime Minister decides on the appointment or dismissal of a minister even though on paper it's the president who executes the decision. According to Article 60 (4) of the Constitution, it is only on the advice of the Prime Minister that a Ministerial position may be declared vacant by the President. The President cannot, on his own initiative, appoint or dismiss a minister.

Insha-Allah, I shall do some more research on the subject and Insha-Allah, may Allah give me the Tawfiq next Friday to talk on the subject which is still not clear in the minds of the people. And I pray to Allah the Exalted that He enlightens me on the subject concerning the general elections 2014 in Mauritius. Many Mauritians, Rodriguans etc. from all religions are asking me questions on the subject, either directly, through letters and also emails. That is why I am decided to talk about this subject in my sermon today.

Before proceeding with my sermon, let me relate to you a dream which I had made on Wednesday 05 November 2014 before Tahajjud, in Rodrigues.

I dreamt of the Sir Aneerood Jugnauth, aged 85, leader of the People’s Alliance for the general elections to be held on 10 December 2014 – also: ex-leader of the MSM, ex-Prime Minister and ex-President of the Republic of Mauritius. In my dream, I saw him very chic in a beautiful suit and he was with me and we were talking. We then entered a car and I was driving. I then began to tease him, saying that “Paul Berenger made a political remake with you and drove you to resign from the post of president of the Republic and he told you to come forward to save our country, and now Paul Berenger has left you alone and proceeded for an alliance with Navin Ramgoolam – PTR. He did not do right with you.” 

He then smiled and told me: “No, Paul Berenger is a very intelligent man. He is a great politician. He spent 45 years of his life in politics. He knows very well what he is doing. In fact he is not against me. He has a strategy…” That’ all. My dream stopped here and I woke up in time for the Tahajjud prayers.

- Extracts from the Friday Sermon of 28 November 2014 (05 Safar 1436 Hijri) delivered by the Khalifatullah Hadhrat Munir Ahmad Azim Sahib (atba) of Mauritius