Until court do us part

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They were all busy drawing scrumptious salaries and enjoying all the trappings of power. It’s easy to get used to power and think you will have it forever.

So while many of the sites of the tramway – built and inaugurated with a lot of chest pumping barely a year ago – turned into muddy swimming pools, making it hard for people to get to their homes; while taps in many households were dry, in spite of the 24/7 promise and the billions spent on pipes to reduce the amount of water wasted; while people were standing in the sun or rain waiting for hours to have a booster done so they are not excluded from public places, ministers and high officials had their own priorities.

Some, oblivious to the disaster caused by their own incompetence and the resulting calls for their resignation, are breaking the rules they made and forced everyone to obey. Others are busy cutting shady deals or placing mistresses in cushy jobs, thus accumulating scandals. And the latest one – a young grinning minister – is busy in a lurid pornographic production that debases not only the office where it took place but is a blow to the dignity of women. And we are not talking here about affairs – which are none of our business. We are talking about a sex slave and a minister of the republic engaged in acts – some of which are illegal – in a public office in exchange for favours paid for by our hard-earned money.

They all seemed to be living a dream they didn’t even dare have. They were safe doing what they wanted with no accountability and no one asking them to justify their salaries.

Suddenly, something that should shake them out of their blissful slumber happened. Jenny Adebiro’s petition, where she is contesting the last election results on the grounds of a number of irregularities in Stanley/Rose-Hill, made headway and it looks as if we are set for a recount. The judges’ decision has not been given yet, but a huge breakthrough came with Deputy Chief Electoral Officer Darmajai Mulloo conceding that there were a number of irregularities in the counting rooms and Electoral Commissioner Irfan Raman declaring that he had no objection to a recount.

This development is very significant and will have a number of snowball effects. Admittedly, whether former Deputy Prime Minister Ivan Collendavelloo stays in parliament or not is neither here or there; he has stopped being relevant a long time ago. However, a setback for the government will cast a shadow over the credibility of the elections and the electoral process and will embolden the anemic opposition, currently crushed into irrelevance by the weight of a partisan speaker and the blatant lack of accountability. More importantly, other petitions will be heard and if a few more are won by the petitioners, major political developments are to be expected.  

A win by Adebiro will also result in a number of legal questions, such as the salary drawn by those who were elected through irregular means and the decisions they took while they were in government. What is clear is that if one petition is won, the arrogance of those who behaved as if they owned this country and its people will be severely diminished.    

That’s a lot of ifs, and the likelihood of such a scenario is still very small. But we do live in interesting times.

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