The Politics of Vengeance

We all know how the knives come out when elections loom. That of political arming of course in the hopes that adversaries will fall to the ground while others reign supreme.

Mudslinging, witch hunts and the like come to pass so that political victories are won and likewise, political careers forged. It’s a difficult game but once the battle is over and the last ballots have been counted, and of course, the winners declared, it seems to bring with it, a certain calm. Adversaries – while still remaining such – put to bed the plans of destroying one another with an almost unspoken understanding that whoever has won has conquered – for the time being of course.

That was the impression until last year it seems when the new government rose from their landslide victory and almost immediately got to work at cleaning house, so to speak. It didn’t take long for the likes of the former prime minister Navin Ramgoolam to find himself and his drop safes being hauled off to the CCID for all the Island – and world – to see.  Perhaps the wheels were set in motion when Pravind Jugnauth’s arrest came to pass the previous year, and if that was the case then what we are seeing in today’s political landscape is vast change in the way the political players conduct themselves in the game. If the water was murky before, it just became even dirtier.

It would appear as though this tack of rampant house cleaning was far more aggressive on SAJ’s part than we may all have realised. Part of the mandate of the new government, of course, was to create a better environment in the country but no one really anticipated him taking this approach as seriously or maliciously as he has in the last few months. Not stopping at the Ramgoolam arrest – as many times as it happened – SAJ made it pretty clear with his comments and actions that incidents like the BAI affair, Soornack’s extradition, and Pandit Sunkur’s land reclamation, to name but a few, were the new order of the day and of course the new way politics was going to happen in the country. Whether he deemed this as aggressive or not seemed to hardly matter, if it ever did at all. His actions have been far from a slap on the hand when you look at how the above set of circumstances have each panned out.

The BAI affair is something that in itself was a shock to every Mauritian’s system more so those who were so badly affected by the entire scheme and its consequences thereafter. It has not stopped SAJ or his ministers concerned, on several occasions, from vocalising just how serious they were about seeing justice served on the perpetrators which also seemed conveniently positioned to inflict just the right amount of vengeance on any affiliates from the previous government who may have been involved in any illegal activity. Are we looking at knights in shining armour determined to see wrongs corrected or is this just the front of a far deeper seated hatred finally being able to surface?

However, a strong underlying theme of political revenge seems to be making its way through the new government in more ways than we realise. Roshi Bhadain – or as some call him ‘Superman’ – whose mission it seems is to rid the country of fraud and corruption, is said to be taking this task a little too much to heart. His techniques and objectives seem to be more in line with a corporate agenda and not that of politics. Perhaps he has confused the country for a company?

Enter the Good Governance and Integrity Reporting Bill. The policy-to-be that seems to have not only caused waves but seems also to be causing dissent among politicians alike. What is worded as a bill to “promote a culture of good governance and integrity reporting, and for related matters”, has seen mixed reactions from all the political spheres with some saying it cannot be accepted without modifications to others saying it simply cannot be enforced to the prime minister himself being quoted as “convinced” it is for the betterment of a country like Mauritius.

The bill is also meant to “recover unexplained wealth” which can only mean that those who have been merrily lining their pockets with the nation’s hard earned money will finally be brought to task. Is it fair to demand that public servants – no matter what their position on the food chain – be held accountable for their fortunes and often lavish lifestyles they seem to lead? Could this be one of the reasons why people are so up in arms about the bill? Or is it simply too much of a blatant means of revenge on the part of the current government?

Once more it looks like everything not related to actual policymaking and bureaucracy has made its way into the political arena and shows no intention of leaving any time soon. Is this the new standard of politics in Mauritius? That of going for your opponents jugular because you were roughed up in the past. Has our politics honestly become a tit-for-tat game that will only surely continue to get worse and worse as the years go on?

So what happens to those that are wronged with this government’s actions? If and/or when they make it back into power will they too work at unleashing damning policy that see their foes fall immediately? This sounds like the beginning of a very vicious cycle and comes back to the same dirty, vengeful game that we seem so hell-bent on turning politics into.

There is no long-term benefit for this type of rule. The vengeance is a short-term remedy to emotions running high and egos being trampled, no matter which side you look at it from. Once more we look at what the outcome of this is, and what is the common denominator? Mauritians and the greater country as a whole ending up as the loser once more. Politics 1, Mauritius 0!


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