The political messiah

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Member of Parliament Zouberr Joomaye’s resignation from the MMM is a topic I initially opted to keep my mouth shut about. On a personal level, Joomaye is a likeable person. Politically, what he does with his life is his own business.

Whether this latest resignation remains an isolated event and the MMM manages to contain the ripple effects is a problem for the militants to deal with. As a citizen of this country, I am reassured that, for the time being, the leader of the opposition remains Paul Bérenger. The internal squabbles of the party are none of my concern.

But then some political observers were quick to applaud Joomaye for his courage and almost hailed him as the political messiah we had been waiting for all these years to change the way we do politics in this country. They are naturally entitled to their own opinion. Here’s why I would not go that route.

First, it does not take much courage to leave a party that is knee-deep in the opposition. On the contrary, it takes courage and loyalty to stay and fight to make the party rise again from its ashes. There are some brave men and women still in the MMM doing that. Joomaye is no longer one of them.

Secondly, the friction within the MMM started on an issue which should be of interest to us all. State land and some alleged connection with Showkutally Soodhun in a deal Reza Uteem raised questions about in parliament. Would Joomaye have stayed in the MMM had his colleague within the party stopped probing?

Thirdly, and perhaps more importantly, as soon as Joomaye left the party, in a fit of moralism, which suggested that his memories had been wiped clean of all the wrong doings of the government in place, he served us a huge slice of meaningless waffle about principles: How Paul Bérenger (71 years old) should have resigned a long time ago and how commendable the now nearly 87-year-old Anerood Jugnauth’s move of stepping back to pass on the mantle of power to his son is! And he looked us straight in the eye and tried to convince us that this is the best thing that could have happened to our democracy! Really? A past prime minister and past president waltzing back into the political arena at the age of 85, trying to convince everyone that he had come to save the country and, less than two years later, handing over the throne to his son without a hint of an election – not even a by-election – is the height of democracy?!

The debate around Joomaye’s resignation has focussed on the fact that he is young. Good but not enough. Youth can be a great asset and an opportunity to open up to new ideas and new practices. However, it does not necessarily always rhyme with a better way of doing politics. Today, we have more young members of parliament in our national assembly than we perhaps have ever had. Who sincerely believes we are better off? Between a young Ravi Rutnah and an old Jack Bizlall, for example, who would you choose?

Joomaye may continue repeating that he will not join any of the parties in government. His political spiel however suggests only one thing: The MSM party and the new deserter may not be getting married anytime soon. They are however getting into bed together for a while. Perhaps until the MSM starts feeling less threatened. So, I will not join my colleagues in their praise. Resigning from the opposition to make the government feel stronger and more entitled to carry on abusing us is not an act of heroism. It sounds more like an act of cynicism!

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