Open letter to the President of the Republic: a case of doing the honourable thing

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The President of the Republic represented the hopes and expectations of nearly the
whole population, explained the author.

Your Excellency,

When you assumed Office at Réduit as our President, the gross majority of the population had hailed your appointment as heralding a new era for our country. You were seen as:

the first woman to become our Head of State;

the first person who had not been engaged in partisan politics to occupy that prestigious Office; and

a most meritorious scientist, well above party- politics, who would give the Presidency the hitherto much needed aura of statesmanship as opposed to politics.

You represented the hopes and expectations of nearly the whole population. Without being actually revered, you were the symbol of profound respect. But, alas! It soon appeared we were wrong in placing our trust, our hope and our expectation in you.

First, it would appear the temptation of using and abusing the prerogative of your Office - prerogative that made the holder of the Office unaccountable for the quantity and for the purpose of foreign “visits” – had soon transformed you into an incurable “pigeon voyageur”. Instead of being the model and inspiration, instead of being the initiator of debates and discussions on important and pressing matters affecting our society, instead of actively setting the pace for the Nation – specially the youth – to follow towards modern technology, new way of thinking and new approach, instead of all that, you chose to travel the world.

Officially, you are described as partaking in world conferences and summit meetings. But, can anybody reveal how many out of those more than 100 “conferences” and “meetings” have proved beneficial – even, slightly beneficial – to Mauritius? Or, for that matter, how many of our citizens are actually aware of the topics of the “conferences” and “meetings” and their pertinence to us?

Then, was revealed your penchant to associate yourself with certain dubious characters who have amassed huge fortunes – however doubtful their sources of richness. While assisting and helping – within legal limits – “clean” investors to invest in Mauritius is a very laudable action (and can very well fall within the role of the President), no citizen, with an iota of patriotism in him, will ever exert the slightest pressure on our institutions to force them to assist in laundering dirty or fraudulently obtained money.

And now, it seems, you have accepted that a Platinum credit card, with a million rupees credit ceiling, to be drawn in your name by the same foreign “investor”. More, you have used the credit card to effect payments for your personal purchases and other expenses. If it had been for purposes related “to the advancement of students benefiting the scholarship” bearing your name, it could perhaps have been excusable. But, payments for food consumed personally, or for personal jewellery and apparel purchased?

Breach of provisions?

When the Constitutional provisions regarding your Office specifically stressed that the President is not entitled to any emolument, wage, salary or payment other than what legally accrues to him/her as salary from the Government of Mauritius, don’t you think your using the said credit card, especially for your very own personal expenses, does constitute a serious breach of these provisions? In other words, that you have done something totally illegal?

Technically speaking, there might be no case against you. And, therefore, under our laws, you are innocent, and unjustly accused. But, isn’t the fact that you opted to give l’express an ultimatum instead of flatly denying the accusations published, indicative that there is no smoke without fire?

Sir Anerood Jugnauth (SAJ), in a declaration to a radio, stated that you have acknowledged (to him) having effected the payments as detailed in the newspaper’s articles, but also having subsequently reimbursed – to, presumably, the bank account under your name – the sums spent. If what SAJ has declared is correct, doesn’t your reimbursement confirm that whatever l’express has revealed about using the Platinum card to effect personal expenses is true? Subsequently correcting the “maldonne” in no way means there has been no “maldonne”.

You have declared to the media that throwing “en pature”a client’s bank’s account is a serious breach of privacy and confidentiality, and that an inquiry should be initiated to identify the culprit/s responsible for this leak to l’express. Isn’t this declaration an ipso facto acknowledgement that the documents published are indeed your bank statements? The fact that there might have been a criminal or punishable robbery, a leak or an indiscretion regarding the documents does in no way diminish their authenticity.

While there might be no case, legally speaking, public opinion has already delivered its judgement… I have no doubt, you know what it is. Is it wise to wait for a motion of no confidence, motion of blame or, ultimately, a motion of impeachment? Isn’t it wiser to resign and step-down before any or whatever motion?

Submitted for your kind consideration. Neither honourably nor excellently yours.

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