In the streets of Port Louis and in all areas where Muslims reside there are posters which have been put up congratulating Minister Shakeel Mohamed for the stand he has taken regarding the pension rights of widows. I presume that the congratulations are in order for work that a minister does in the interests of every one and not only for a particular community. Whether or not the widows who are targeted in the posters deserve any pension is not for me to say but I rise against this kind of segregationist approach. It is hard to understand why there should be differential treatment for widows belonging to any particular ethnic group. All widows from all communities must be treated equally. It is when there is a departure from such established norms that anarchy reigns and the situation becomes unmanageable.
More than 45 years after this ‘plaisir’ country had the pleasure of declaring to the whole world that it was a sovereign nation, it is appalling to have to come to terms with an inexorable descent into a shocking parochialism. Mauritius is a nation made up of communities when we should have been communities making a nation. The ‘rot’ must stop and it is the duty of every one to do something about that. Our future depends on a shared commitment to equality of treatment and meritocracy.
Everyone who is well connected i.e to the political powers can get away with almost everything. Recently the car of minister Shakeel Mohamed was involved in a scratching activity with another luxurious motor vehicle belonging to someone who is the son of someone who is very close to someone very powerful. Had there been posters about this and applauding what minister Mohamed did or tried to do, the whole country would have supported it. In view of the fact that the incident involving the two cars happened in the car park of Government House and the non-ministerial car had no right to get a parking space in that restricted area, it would have been perfectly in order for the Police to come to the rescue of minister Mohamed. But this is not what happened and the rule of procedures had to cave in to the rule of those close to rulers who are more powerful than the unfortunate Shakeel.
Mauritius can go on claiming that the Rule of Law exists and that there is equal opportunity for all. Rubbish one is tempted to say. We have missed opportunities to make this country a shining example of meritocracy and excellence. Mediocrity and non observance of the legitimate rights of the deserving have reduced us to a system where what prevails and wins the day is ‘roderboutocracy’. Smaller countries like the Seychelles have been able to do in terms of recognizing the contributions of their nationals irrespective of their political preferences what we have never done. Politics and closeness to the political masters of the present day matter more than anything else. No nation can be constructed on that basis.