Life after SAJ… Surely it is some food for thought as to who will follow in our current prime minister’s footsteps once his tenure is completed. It must have crossed the minds of most of the nation at least once in the past year given all the subsequent arrests that have taken place since December last.
Setting aside the theatrics that seem to have taken over the national assembly, one needs to seriously consider who we are looking at as possible contenders to follow Sir Anerood Jugnauth (SAJ).
Within the MSM camp, a number of potentials seem likely but whether or not the candidates are suitable is yet to be seen. Most would assume that SAJ’s son, Pravind Jugnauth is the likely suitor. On paper this would seem an accurate assumption undoubtedly, however to the people and how they perceive political credibility, this could go either way. He garners strong support among those who believe in both his father and his acumen, but then again, any candidate will have that to some degree and the only telling factor is how the ballots fall come elections time. As we have learned so many times before, political victory is never a certainty. Jugnauth’s seeming demise following his arrest and resignation from his ministry left a to-be-continued sign in place of his political career with everyone keenly watching how this is going to play out in the coming months. All the while, he has been decidedly quiet not looking to draw any further attention to himself.
Then we have a complete change of direction when we consider that Leela Devi Dookhun Luchoomun is within that same pool of contenders. This in itself could be momentous for the country, being that of its first female prime minister. However, it is fair to question the viability of such an occurrence and whether the country is ready for such a giant step into the modern world. After all, could there ever be a day in Mauritian politics where we see both the president of the country and prime minister posts occupied by women?
Next up, still within the MSM, we have Nandcoomar Bodha. Though a fairly active minister within his portfolio, Bodha keeps a fairly low profile in terms of public opinion and it is probably fair to assume that since he keeps such a profile, would he even be interested in assuming the role of head of government, least of all, to follow in SAJ’s footsteps. Perhaps in the coming months, we will see more vigour coming from all of the said candidates when it is realised that the race for the top is indeed finally at stake.
Going from low profile, to too much profile, we have candidate Roshi Bhadain. His drive and subsequent forceful character leaves him no doubt as someone who wants to sit in the hot seat. Anyone who doesn’t see that could well likely be living under a rock. But this drive and forcefulness can be his demise as his demeanour seems to be that of a corporate one treating government matter one after the other like business items being checked off at a board meeting. Perhaps it’s the wrong approach to play the political field in such a manner because one thing is surely clear – he is not a political favourite, no matter which angle you look at it from. After all, he will need the confidence of his people to get into that seat, all of which I am not altogether certain he has at all.
We then have an interesting contender in the form of Raj Dayal. Not one to shy away from the praise, even if it is himself who is awarding it, to himself. While he clearly possesses experience in the political field, one has to wonder whether this self-proclaimed hero is fit to sit at the head of our country. Charisma, when leading, is paramount but is not the only requirement of a suitable leader.
We now venture outside the MSM camp further afield to the Labour Party. Politics itself is a big enough lesson that you should never assume someone is defeated just because they are not in power and that is precisely what most people are likely to be watching in the case of former prime minister, Navin Ramgoolam’s case. After all, it was only a few days prior that PTr member Shakeel Mohamed announced that by November 2016, PTr would be firmly back in power. The competition is strong when it comes to these contenders like Navin Ramgoolam, Arvin Boolel, Anil Baichoo and of course, Shakeel Mohamed but it seems the candidates apart from Ramgoolam, all have something that does not play in their favour whether it is pending litigation, caste preferences or cultural orientation. One only has to wonder whether the nation would be willing to vote in this direction so soon after all the theatrics have taken place or if it is just a matter of time before all is forgotten once more?
In the other directions we also have the likes of Xavier Luc Duval from PMSD, Paul Bérenger from MMM, Ivan Collendaveloo from ML or any of the newest political parties – for example, Vasant Bunwaree’s and Alan Ganoo’s – that have popped up both before and after general elections. However, we have one common denominator in this particular reference in that these contenders operate too individually and may not have the political force behind them to propel them into the hot seat. However, I say this, while maintaining that this does not make them any less of contenders nor should discount the possibility of such.
In all of the above political players I have made mention of, one thing perturbs me quite a lot. The players are all recycled versions of themselves, or well-oiled parts of the Mauritian political machine. There is no fresh blood ready to come in and turn things upside down in a positive way. There is no viable youth candidate who is willing to do whatever it takes to get into that hot seat to finally bring about actual fresh change to this country. How are we honestly expected to expect any new kind of political environment when the players are the same ones who have dominated the arena for the last (dare I say) 20 plus years? Mauritius, perhaps it’s time to stop doing the same actions over and over and expecting different results, after all, that is the classification of insanity!