To Former Prime Minister, The Hon Paul Berenger

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There’s a lot at stake for those participating in the upcoming by-election but no one’s sure who’s going to win. Dear Arvind was set to be the front-runner – but his Dear Leader failed to do the decent thing by swallowing a lethal dose of macaroni. Is there a way your candidate can come out on top, in a non-sexist sense? You’ve procured a non-mel candidate, which could be an advantage, and your party’s always had some good proposals – even if Lepep nicked many of them last time round. Not that any government has ever actually implemented radical change. Indeed, the credibility gap is now a chasm, which no party looks likely to bridge unless the Boss springs a surprise by finally implementing his party’s manifesto.

How tempting must be a Machiavellian arrangement with the LP and PMSD (if there’s a chance of it surviving its latest cock-up), and possibly the MP (if it appears they’ll attract more than a handful of supporters), so that you all get the same number of votes. Many countries in the African Union can offer expert advice on how to tamper with election results. Of course, the Electoral Commissioner might smell a rat, but it could be a risk worth taking as he has too little real power. Mind you, there could still be a surprise. Given the disenchantment with the main political parties, 1 May could put a spanner in the works on17 December.

How communal will the by-election be? The signs are a bit muddled as another former’s bizarrely branded Lemon Man a white elephant. But how long can society continue to tolerate leaders exploiting deeprooted antipathies? Hasn’t the time come to cut out scientific communalism? Even la campagne doesn’t mind who’s PM – as long as he doesn’t discriminate against them, while elsewhere Admirables ignore the bells, minarets and chanting as best they can.

While the pilgrimage to Ganga Talao and the march to Fr Laval’s tomb are great moments for their specific communities, as a modern-day femel daemon recently wrote in a weekend rag, they can feel to others like a display of power. It might all be easier if at least some politicos showed themselves genuinely prepared to tackle the mudded waters of communalism, religion and politics. Only a backward minority are impressed by the Buddhist-led oppression of the Rohingyas in Myanmar, or rightwing nationalism in India, let alone by ministers announcing they’ll look after their own community, Marathi or otherwise, before anyone else. Mind you, you might well wonder how the Emir has such devoted followers. It’s what happens when demagogues inject their poisonous ideas into brain-washed members of hoi polloi. At least you won’t be tempted to take him on board if he jumps ship…

You love lecturing other countries about their policies but, unlike Shakheel, seem unbothered by the visit of a divisive figure. You’re both right of course. A country has to accept relations with various undesirable regimes and individuals unless it’s prepared to suffer economic collapse but realpolitik can hardly be described as ethical. The obvious solution in fact prevailed, with a show of traditional Mauritian hospitality tempered with a wayward flag.

The path to less religious and communal attitudes could come with wide-ranging electoral reform, like single-member constituencies, coupled with that anti-racism bill. After the by-election may be the right time to have a few kozé kozé sessions on the subjects with the Boss – but at an end-of-year rather than a birthday party.

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