Now that we have him, we definitely have to clone him. Seventy-two hours of Showkutally Soodhun as acting prime minister was quite an experience! We are not quite sure what he did while he was acting. And acting prime minister. But we do know that one of him is not nearly enough.
According to our cameras and our colleagues who had the great privilege of following him everywhere, Soodhun first had a meeting with the government’s legal adviser and the chief surveyor, stamped his foot and signalled his disagreement. In very strong terms. “And do let him know that I don’t agree.”
Then he met the minister of commerce before he landed at a meeting of the elderly and bombarded them with his “achievement” as acting prime minister and how he dedicates “this achievement” to Anerood and Pravind Jugnauth. He was modest enough to admit that it is to his loyalty that he owes this “achievement”.
Then he went to the Cardiac Centre – where he was received as a hero coming back from the war and later headed for Sir Harilal Vaghjee Hall where he handed over cheques to very grateful citizens. His prime ministership ended with a meeting with the minister of finance for what we think must have been a discussion about matters which the acting prime minister understood. And the climax was his landing at the municipality of Vacoas-Phoenix for a grand meeting in honour of the 72-hour acting prime minister.
Bodyguards, security, fanfare… who can afford modesty?
Convinced by now that he has “done more in one day than others did in a whole year”, he half-jokingly stated that he has been so efficient that it would have been great if neither Xavier Duval nor the prime minister returned to the country.
Naturally, while people were thronging the streets to protest against job losses and others were organising press conferences to highlight the hypocrisy surrounding the ID card, he was nowhere to be found. When a minister made discriminatory comments about having decided to deny substance users methadone treatment because he suspected they may have voted for his opponent, Soodhun was neither seen nor heard. When salaries of cronies, including Rs75,000 just as a car allowance for the chairman of our ailing national carrier, started making very embarrassing headlines, he preferred to talk about his “great achievement” in bringing down the price of beef and increasing the hajji quotas and, for good measure, he threatened Emirates Airline to "fou dehors" if they didn't hire Mauritian pilots!
When, upon Duval’s return, his prime ministership ended, he suddenly remembered that he was as desperately needed out of our shores as he was within. He then called the press and, referring to himself as ‘the minister of Hajj’,stamped his foot quite hard again and, surrounded by two Muslim ministers, made a solemn announcement of an upcoming earth-shattering event – that he is, after all, going to Mecca to bring back our compatriots who had gone missing during the unfortunate stampede in Saudi Arabia.
Before he got there, one missing member had unfortunately been identified among the dead, which led to finding the remaining missing members. But the former 72-hour acting prime minister is not one to miss an opportunity. So, basking in the confusion of the Saudi health minister, who kept referring to him as “Prime Minister”, he nodded in satisfaction and smiled all the way to the bank. Then, talking to our local radios, he stamped his foot quite hard again and insisted that the search – which was naturally ongoing – continue. Soodhun would not have it any other way. It must continue until all our compatriots have been found. I am sure the Saudi authorities will now not dare stop the search half-way through.
Well, that was just in 72 hours! Too much for one single man. Which is why I sincerely think that we should clone him. Immediately. So any help towards that is much appreciated.