The joke backfires

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May I please ask you to first roar with laughter as I am about to tell you a brilliant joke. It must be hilarious because it was told by our now former attorney general, Ravi Yerrigadoo, on air, and he nearly choked with laughter at his own joke: “Many journalists know that even if we are in May or April, and they ask me what I think about something, I reply, ‘Merry Christmas and Happy New Year’!”

Naturally, when he took part in that face-off on Tuesday, using every opportunity to talk about himself while refusing to shed any light on the accusations levelled against him, he was confident that he had the support of the prime minister “because I am the attorney general of the republic”. And while he refused to breathe a word about what he was invited to discuss, he did not miss the opportunity to talk about everything else no one is interested in: his honour, his hard work and how he has been upholding the integrity of his office, repeating in other words the comments he made in an earlier communiqué verbatim.

Whether upholding the integrity of his office means sequestrating foreign nationals in his own flat, participating in their interrogation and preventing them from leaving the country or acting as a courier in a case against Nandanee Soornack which has resulted in a Rs400-million lawsuit hanging over our heads is not clear. What is clear is the obscene arrogance that transpired during that radio show!

That arrogance seems to have disappeared – or at least I hope it has – as the man whose support he claimed to have has just dropped him like a hot potato! What Yerrigadoo perhaps failed to realise is that he was not an elected member and that his resignation would not cause the kind of embarrassment a by-election would cause if an elected member were to be asked to step down. In fact, his departure could even be a blessing in disguise: First, it shows that Pravind Jugnauth has finally found the courage he has been lacking since the beginning of his mandate when he could not call any of his MPs to order. Secondly, it satisfies the ambitions of one of the MPs – the new attorney general, Maneesh Gobin – previously frustrated by sitting on the backbenches for too long. All that without the whiff of a by-election!

So maybe Yerrigadoo should have shown a little more humility as he does not have the same immunity as people like Showkutally Soodhun. The notorious star clown has been getting away with murder. He has involved the country in taking sides with Saudi Arabia against Iran. He has more recently issued a communiqué on his own initiative – or rather folly – to side with Saudi Arabia against Qatar – a diplomatic blunder we are still paying the consequences of. He has had people arrested for having said the truth about him not paying his hospital or car bills. And he topped it all up by openly threatening to kill the leader of the opposition! And not even a slap on the wrist!

Yesterday, he showed his crude, uncouth and terribly arrogant nature by insulting a brave lady who dared suggest to him that the electoral campaign was over more than two years ago and that he should concentrate on what he invited people to listen to instead of embarking on useless diatribes against his predecessors. “Shut your mouth,” he shouted at the lady. “Or leave right away!” That was followed by some sheeple turning the minister’s wish into reality instantly.

But Soodhun has been getting away with all this because he is Soodhun, an elected member whose departure would wreak havoc for the party. And, feeling comfortable in that immunity, he will continue to treat the lesser mortals as if they had no right to live, let alone open their mouth to ask him to be relevant!

As for Yerrigadoo, well, no by-election, no immunity. So, Merry Christmas and Happy New Year.

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