Showing posts with label Pravind Jugnauth. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Pravind Jugnauth. Show all posts

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.

Tuesday, June 4, 2019

The Future of Chagos and Agalega


The sovereignty of, and territorial rights over, the Chagos Archipelago is a matter of contention between Mauritius and the United Kingdom for more than half a century now. Before granting national independence to Mauritius in 1968, the retreating colonial power played shady games to retain its strategic interests in the Indian Ocean region. As it happened, two years before the granting of Independence, the colonial power decided to retain a land foothold in the region for the longer term and hence excised the Chagos Archipelago from Mauritius. During the pre-independence political negotiations between Mauritius national leaders and the British government, the continued British-control over the Islands was legitimated through questionable deals- thanks to the obvious unequal bargaining power between the parties- the Conquerors leveraging their heft of power and their political subjects on the negotiating table desperately seeking freedom from colonial yoke. Through offering best relations beyond independence, paying 'peanuts' as immediate compensation and a vague promise of returning the Islands to Mauritius at an unspecified future date when the facility at the Islands would no longer be needed for 'defence purposes', Britain sought to retain its control over the Chagos Archipelago for the indefinite future. 

Responding to global shifts in power and the emerging equation with the US in the post-second World War/ Cold War  scenario, the UK later through a bilateral agreement, leased the strategic Islands to the United States for establishing its grand military base in the heart of the Indian Ocean- the Diego Garcia Naval Base. Almost in parallel, within a decade (1967-1973), Britain ensured that Chagossian villagers were systematically and stealthily ousted from their homes and lands permanently, without any opportunity of returning to their homeland forever! British national security and strategic interests trumped over the rights of poor and vulnerable islanders. Even as the Big Powers- the United States and the United Kingdom- consolidated their strategic interests and military control of the region, the hapless Chagossian people were left to languish in the wilderness of their own catastrophe- in mainland Mauritius, Seychelles,  the UK and elsewhere. No wonder, the British colonial excesses in the region continue to scar the national spirit of the formerly subjugated people, the Chagossians in particular.