DESIRABLE OR INDISPENSABLE?

There’s much talk these days about convening parliament and holding regular meetings. That would be both desirable and costly for a new venue will have to be equipped to suit the needs of the time. BUT IS IT INDISPENSABLE? In the present juncture would debates and PNQ’s be essential to the reasonably good running of democracy and government? Or should a new paradigm be explored?

In a democracy, when a country is under siege, normal procedures have to be withheld to allow leaders to have the necessary leeway to ‘fight’ the enemy. Opposition leaders are expected operate according to new and different norms as they steer away from nitpicking and cheap and opportunistic politicking.

The new leader of the English Labour Party (after the resignation of Jeremy Corbyn as a result of the very bad performance of his party at the 2019 general elections) and leader of Her Majesty’s opposition, Sir Kier Starmer, has had the political courage to offer his help to the Prime Minister to face a common enemy – Covid-19. When it’s all over, they will both return to their trenches. No doubt!

Why does this seem impossible in the blessed trilingual paradise? A study of our political history will definitely point in a different direction. All the so-called big parties have, at one time or another, been bed-partners: Labour Party and PMSD; Labour Party, MSM and PMSD (ble, blan, rouz); MMM and Labour Party; MMM and MSM (lakor Medpoint) …
Is ideology the bugbear impediment? Come off it! All the main parties have adoted neoliberal capitalism and follow blindly Milton Friedman’s views and recommendations and they all claim to be Mr and Ms CLEAN. N’est-ce pas Monsieur Rama Sithanen?

At a time of national emergency when the lives of our brothers and sisters are at stake and the country has ground to a halt, why can’t our political leaders join forces?

There is only ONE answer and it is a three-letter word: EGO. “Je veux être calife à la place du calife.” The political ground is peopled with Iznogouds of different shapes, shades, sizes, grades and calibres. And all the Iznogouds hate and scorn each other. Can they put aside their bloated egos to help the people of Mauritius in these moments of great hardship?

They want to use parliament as a platform to show how important and competent they are hoping that proceedings will be televised and – faute de mieux – for want of a better alternative, see how they cling to Facebook hoping that a few trolls will successfully act as drive belts and broaden their audience.

Why can’t they meet the Prime Minister and his ministers individually or in group to seek information and offer guidance in camera? Do they fear that their ideas will not be acknowledged or simply be pirated? Is there a fear that after the meeting, each will use the media to disparage the other and blow his own trumpet?

If our leaders are unable to rise above pettiness in the face of calamities, it simply means that our democracy is very weak with or witout the meeting of parliament.

22.04.20

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