Sunday, October 27, 2019

Elections 2019: Whither Mauritius?

On the Forthcoming General Elections

As you know, Sunday, 06 October 2019, the Prime Minister Pravind Jugnauth announced as a Breaking News the dissolution of the parliament and fixed the date of the general elections on 07 November 2019. He made this announcement after he made the launch of the Metro Express on Thursday, 03 October 2019 which was funded by the Government of India, and after a live speech from India by Prime Minister Narendra Modi. It is right after the launch that Pravind Jugnauth - according to the instructions from his Gurus and counsellors - without thinking, on Sunday the 06 October 2019 in the afternoon made this announcement. By doing so, he applied his authority with such arrogance and announced the political registration for 3 days: Wednesday, 09 October to Friday, 11 October, and the Nomination Day on 22 October, and he fixed the date of the general elections on Thursday, 07 November 2019. He had plenty of time to announce the general election until March or April of next year.

He ignored dates such as 01 and 02 November which are public holidays, as well as the 03 November that falls on a Sunday, but instead, he chooses another day [in the middle of the week]. A panic and great fear took hold of him, lest he loses in the upcoming election, thus losing this power, especially with so many scandals in his government. So, on 06 October he announced the elections for the 7th day of November. He only gave a delay of one month to hold the general elections. He does not give the other political parties time to prepare themselves properly. It is true that after five years (2014-2019) the National Assembly must be dissolved by the end of December 2019. I do not want to go into details on this subject, but what is deplorable is that the date chosen for the elections falls on a Thursday where there are exams that will take place on that day for the School Certificate (SC) and Higher School Certificate (HSC) students. So, on 06 October, the day of the announcement, the Election Commission officials had to find alternative places so as not to disturb the conduct of these examinations.

So, out of 9,41,719 voters, 104,903 voters will have to vote on 07 November in a different place from where they are used to. These are tactics that he [the current Prime Minister] is using so that young students of the SC and HSC do not have time to think about which political party they are going to vote for because they have to focus on their final exams which are very important.

Students who have exams scheduled will be very worried on election day where there will be a lot of traffic jams and so they may be late in their exam rooms. The vagueness persists a lot on this case. Young students of voting age show their disagreement and anger and say that the government has not thought about all this and then everyone will not have the chance to vote and that’s a shame.

In addition, traffic jams will certainly affect the candidates [students]. All of this will have a negative effect on their schedule. Other candidates say that it is a bad choice to hold the elections the same day as the exams, because the votes of the young people are very important.

For me (the Khalifatullah) the right to vote is to have the future of Mauritius in hand so that it does not fall into wrong hands. So all voters must make good choices, without the slightest trace of communalism. They have to go to the polls, they have to fulfill their civic right to elect people who are honest, and who are not corrupt and who are respectable, so as to have a better future, a better Mauritius, a clean Mauritius for our future generations.

I have met young people who have expressed their opinions and they are frustrated and angry that a prime minister has made such a bad decision that is against the rights and interests of young people. They categorically said that it is not a good decision at all to set the date of the general election at the same time as their exams, and they told me they and their friends are old enough to vote, but with the pressure of the exams, and now also with the pressure of these upcoming elections, they are disturbed by all that, and they may not go to vote because for them, they must give priority to their exams. So all this affects them morally.

It is a terrible mess and especially the next day [of the election], Friday 08 November 2019 is Jumu’ah (the Friday prayer) where many Muslims who will go to work for the Counting of votes, will not be able to make it for the Jumu’ah and for us Muslims the Jumu’ah is extremely important, and it is part of our faith and it is a duty we must fulfill for Allah where we have been instructed to leave everything - all our work - to go and attend the Jumu’ah and then to go about to seek the favours of Allah.

A minister who does not think for the well-being of his people [and he says that he is in a Mauritian Alliance], who thinks only for himself, for his own gain, then all that which he is doing is very reprehensible and dangerous, especially for the future of our children tomorrow. He announces the elections in quickly so that no one has time to take stock of his government and go quickly vote without thinking, and then he believes that he will again come back to power, this time by being elected by the people. He uses us like puppets, using dirty methods that are not worthy of a modern Mauritius!

Here in Mauritius, [some] politicians unfortunately attack their political opponents in lamentable, disgusting ways, which is not worthy of a modern and ethical Mauritius. They use all kinds of strategies, some more disgusting than others in order to denigrate their opponents and that’s a shame, because politics is very behind the evolution of the Mauritian nation. Mauritians, for the most part, want the politicians, in whom they place their trust, to keep their words and do what they promised to do, but only while remaining in the right path, and not having fun with the people’s money. They want leaders who know how to administer this country while preserving their dignity and moral principles. They want to see a revival of morality in the political circle, and not of communalism where everyone seeks to protect his fellow men [especially on the ethnic/ religious level].

We want a leader and such representatives who will really work for the interest of this country, those who think in terms of Mauricianism and not in terms of communalism. Such representatives of Mauritius who will make decisions for the interest of Mauritius and who will manage the national fund in all honesty.

Today Mauritians want more respect in the public debate and they want a more civilized politics which is consistent with our century and the evolution of our youth. Unfortunately, nowadays politicians are using dirty methods that are not worthy of a modern Mauritius island, especially in 2019. And we are seeing how many low blows are being used for these elections. But it’s up to Mauritians to be mature. [I am not giving an instruction to vote for a particular political party. Everyone must use his intelligence and know how to vote properly].

The National Radio and Television (MBC) has become the propaganda apparatus for this [present] government and for Mr. Pravind Jagnauth, and it is we, the people who have to pay the monthly fee of this national television [to watch its channels]; such a television which is in the interest of only one section of the population, and not the mass - where it is not at all impartial [it does not treat everyone equally]. Remember that every Mauritian has his rights in this country, and every religion, and even the different groups in the same religion (for example, Islam) where there are several groups; so that does not mean that one group all the time has the right to go on TV [to hold religious programs] and not the others! [This is unfair].

Every Mauritian must fulfill his civil right. It is a privilege you have to choose a government which is respectable [with a high head] and not corrupted [with clean hands]. And Insha-Allah, we pray and we take the necessary actions at the same time so that tomorrow we have a national television that does not differentiate among anyone. But unfortunately, this is far from reality and it is the Mauritians who pay the price. They are forced to pay for a national television they do not want to watch, and then they make a double expense by paying another antenna to watch other TV channels.

The people are suffering and the present government has had its fun during its term from December 2014 to October 2019. I put before you a list of goods acquired by the outgoing MPs:

  • Land bought by 10 elected officials: Rs. 65 million.
  • Acquisitions made by the spouses of 6 elected officials: Rs. 56 million.
  • Loans contracted by 20 elected officials: Rs. 168 million.
  • Vehicles leased by 8 elected officials: Rs. 13 million.

A lot of money has been sown for these general elections. There are some who enjoy themselves a lot, and those are people who are very close to these politicians. There are posters, banners, the sale of Briani, car rentals, vans and buses and also there are political parties that give people gas vouchers for their cars so that they take people and come to their gatherings.

They do all this in order to have more crowds [it’s a war of the crowds]; 40,000 to 60,000 posters for the national rally and 20,000 square feet of pennants and several large cookware (Deg) of Briani for national gatherings. In addition to congresses or meetings, there are expenses for tents, and chairs. They rent hundreds of buses for a national meeting. When you calculate all that, you see that it must have cost Rs. 2,500 to Rs. 3,000 for a bus only, if the place is not far, and Rs. 4,000 if it is for a place further away. And moreover, they attract the crowd by calling them and giving them these buses after the gatherings to have fun on the beach, also supplying them with alcoholic beverages. During these tours, the buses are damaged, and so money is wasted!

When you think about all this, for only five years they were in power, see how all these millions have evaporated! It is not money that they withdrew from their own pockets. Private firms help them a lot in this, and these politicians know that all this help is “on condition” and when they come to power, they have to walk according to their plans, and because of this, finally Mauritians no longer own Mauritius but it is the others who come to take their share of the cake.

I have to stop here for today. We must pray so much that Allah (swt) - The Almighty - sends to the head of the country people who will be honest, with heads up and clean hands [respectable and uncorrupted] and who will fight against corruption, and waste, and who will work for social justice, and who will have in mind to lower the cost of food and drink, and restore the equilibrium of the economy. Insha-Allah, with duahs and the help of Allah, the impossible [or far-fetched] can become possible [realisable]. Ameen.

[---Special Remarks made by Hadhrat Khalifatullah Munir Ahmad Azim Saheb (atba) of Mauritius on the Friday Sermon of 18 October 2019 ~19 Safar 1440 AH.]