Sakenn so bout*

Avec le soutien de

If, by any chance, you want to take stock of the extent of the rot and decay that have gangrened this country, look no further than our ‘social’ workers – the very people who are supposed to be selflessly devoting themselves to the improvement of our society and the well-being of the most vulnerable citizens.

The battle to accede to the post of president of the Mauritius Council of Social Services (MACOSS) – the organisation that groups NGOs – that has been taking place over the last two weeks, was brutal. Many candidates went as far as falsifying proxy forms in a shameless way that Electoral Commissioner Irfan Rahman qualified as unprecedented. Such is the desire to serve the people of this nation! The outgoing president himself who, thanks to the delaying of the election, will remain in post for another three months, tells our colleagues from l’express that he had “made sacrifices and was completely devoted to his job” and will now dedicate himself to his family and professional life. But, he by and by mentions that he is a candidate to sit on the board! Difficult to root out the spirit of sacrifice in those who are so inclined!

As it happens, the price of this great ‘sacrifice’ is some hefty fees when our saints sit on boards and scrumptious missions abroad, complete with accommodation and per diems. Add this to the CSR money and the leeway in spending it and you understand what our saints are fighting for. A bout, in other words, that will, incidentally, also help them garner support and be marketable in the political arena.

And why shouldn’t they fight for their bout? That seems to be our national sport these days. Those we have elected to also sacrifice themselves for the country seem to be busy getting whatever they can for as long as they can. Sudesh Rughoobur has just walked away with a Rs23 million cleaning contract, courtesy of a government ever so ready to buy the consent and silence of its members. He owes this feat to blowing hot and cold and managing his ‘outspokenness’ well enough to get what he wants. Raj Dayal’s Rs15 million settlement and cosy jobs for his uniquely competent children are a nice reward for just sitting and doing nothing. Yogida Sawmynaden’s wife Wenda’s notary fees; Nando Bodha’s brother-in-law Kailash Trilochun’s feast at the ICTA; Sudhir Sesungkur’s treats; the hundreds of absolutely useless and very costly jobs created for relatives and cronies in various embassies and missions denounced in a letter that the ICAC is very busy ‘looking into’; the biscuitgate and the I-did-not-know-the-job-I-was-being-interviewed-for gate; the jobs and contracts for Anil Gayan’s son and other relatives; Sandyah Boygah’s Barachois; Prem Koonjoo’s son and nephew’s job and fish farm; Collendavelloo’s hearty send-off of his very close friend to the land down and under... They all seem to be busy at it. And there is no bout too small not to crawl for. For Zouberr Joomaye, a nomination of his sister-in-law as honorary consul was enough for him to continuously wax lyrical about the great prime minister we have!

And the great prime minister we have is happy to pay the price of his MPs’ obedience. His game is different to theirs. While the choicest morsels are kept for him and the kitchen circle – Safe City, overambitious construction projects, sale of passports…– his agenda is clear to everyone – to save himself. And for that, there is no price he is not prepared to pay: humiliating his ministers in his budget speech, taking decisions without consultation, knowing the koalas sitting in the National Assembly are too worried about losing their own bout to challenge him, an unprecedented level of propaganda on the MBC…

So, when all the Karapates have had their bout, we will wake up to a bankrupt country that has lost the hard work spirit and dignity that made us what we are today. Whether we are social workers, union leaders, politicians or citizens, we won’t be able to look at ourselves in the mirror. The worst price we are paying is the example we are setting for our children. It is heartbreaking!

*Everyone wants a piece of the pie

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