Let us pray!

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When the missionaries came to Africa, they had the bible and we had the land,” South African Bishop Desmond Tutu once said. “They said ‘Let us pray.’ We closed our eyes. When we opened them, we had the bible and they had the land.”

I really cannot think of a better analogy when it comes to what has been happening on our local scene. The Alliance Lepep came to power riding on a wave of anger and promising to selflessly work for the people and make sure meritocracy prevails. We trusted them and put our faith in their hands. We closed our eyes to pray that they succeed in everything they promised. When we opened our eyes, we had a few hundred rupees added to our pension and a salary compensation of – at most – Rs250. They had all the good jobs for their near and dear. And we kept praying.

We were in deep prayer when Minister of Health Anil Gayan appointed his very close lady friend and his wife at two different positions in government and parastatals. Gayan then took the moral high ground and said that everything is done in all transparency and that he is convinced those selected were the ones most qualified so shut up! And we did as we were told.

You will also recall that while we were praying, 60 doctors were picked to fill our hospitals no questions asked. They all – or almost all – had some relation to those in power or their agents. We kept praying, this time for the patients in these hospitals. Those who must have prayed the hardest were the more qualifi ed doctors who were left behind because they were not related to anyone in power and so they ended up making the unemployment queues longer.

We were still in deep prayer when another lady close to Minister of Energy Ivan Collendavelloo grabbed the top position at the Independent Review Panel. For the Financial Intelligence Unit, Roshi Bhadain deemed his own good friend and neighbour to be the most suitable guy to head that very sensitive organisation. Add to that the same minister’s father at the Development Bank of Mauritius and his political agent to be appointed as the head of the Financial Services Commission and keep praying.

Raj Dayal was not left out of the opportunity of our deep prayer when his son got appointed as the head of the conciliation service at the Ministry of Public Service and Administrative Reforms. He naturally expressed the very objective opinion that his son is qualifi ed for the position he so meritoriously received.

We had not closed the bible yet when we heard of the appointment of Speaker of the National Assembly Maya Hanoomanjee’s daughter as CEO of the State Property Development Company. This appointment came straight out of Santa’s sack. The young lady, by her own admission, applied for a job without knowing what it was about. “It is after an email was sent to me a week after applying,” the newly-appointed CEO tells us, “informing me that I had been selected for the interview that I found out the post in question.” This is how she got a position she did not know existed!

There are very strange coincidences in life. In this case, all the competent and deserving people happen to be related to the ones in power! Coincidence, I tell you! Some might call it a miracle. The same kind of miracle which happens when our minister of land, sand, bulls, sheep and goats tells us that 12,000 jobs have been lost overnight before he announces to us the next day that the exact same number of jobs have been created thanks to him. Keep your eyes closed. And keep praying!

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