So, the lady refuses to go. So, not only is she clinging to her position and continues to benefit from the largesse of the state paid for with our hard-earned money but – as if she hadn’t travelled enough at our expense – she is also shamelessly planning yet another seven trips! (SEVEN! Isn’t there any limit to indecency?) So, she rubs it in by organising a book launch at the State House and inviting the whole diplomatic corps, with only one single member of the government present.
And so, the prime minister, Pravind Jugnauth, announces to us that he and the president of the republic “are not on the same wavelength”. Strip the euphemism and read that the highest office in the state and the highest office in government are at loggerheads; that there is, in other words, a constitutional crisis at the head of the country. That’s a huge revelation! The first in the history of this country.
Where do we go from here? If the president doesn’t want to go – probably on the advice of someone who may be playing a double game – Jugnauth has no choice but to initiate action for her destitution. The government – it would seem – the opposition and the population at large are all asking for the immediate removal of Ameenah Gurib-Fakim. The vice-president – in an act of rare selflessness – has declared that he is prepared to step in if the need arises “to serve the country”. The opposition is threatening to boycott the Independence Day celebrations should Gurib-Fakim preside over them and the press might take a cue from that. So Gurib-Fakim is entirely alone – no support from any community, women’s associations or academia.
Gurib-Fakim is therefore totally isolated, except perhaps for a minister mentor who has always had problems looking up the word ‘morality’ in his dictionary, Ravi Rutnah about whom the less said the better, and her friend and perhaps adviser, Ivan Collenadavelloo, whose unlikely departure will not bring the government down or cause the prime minister any embarrassment in the least. In fact, it may even be a blessing in disguise for the government.
The president’s immediate suspension will, therefore, not result in any tears. Those who committed the blunder of nominating her have the moral obligation to rid the country of her and clear the way for the National Day celebrations. Naturally, her destitution will call for a full investigation into the whole Sobrinho saga – a great opportunity for a number of questions to be answered, starting with the budget announcement that moved the power of granting investment banking licences from the Bank of Mauritius to the Financial Services Commission, the banking licences given to a shady businessman, in spite of the mass resignations at the head of the FSC and the damning report on him, the rumours about cars, villas and other luxury items gifted to very high personalities and the extent of the president’s greed: did she continue to draw per diem even when she was on her shopping sprees and visiting her family? Another very strong rumour that needs to be put to rest.
If the prime minister has the power to immediately call parliament and present a motion to suspend the president and have a tribunal set up to answer the questions the whole population is asking; if he, on top of that, has the support of the population to do that; if the tribunal is likely to lead to the destitution of the president and possibly to criminal ramifications, what exactly is preventing him from initiating procedures to do just that? Who is afraid of an investigation? Who is afraid of a tribunal? In the end, who is afraid of Ameenah?
For more views and in-depth analysis of current issues, Weekly magazine (Price: Rs 25) or subscribe to Weekly for Rs110 a month. (Free delivery to your doorstep). Email us on: firstname.lastname@example.org(link sends e-mail)
Un nouveau scandale défraie la chronique depuis le mercredi 28 février à Maurice. Cette fois-ci cela concerne ni plus ni moins la garante de notre Constitution, son excellence Ameenah Gurib-Fakim, présidente de la République. Elle a dépensé plusieurs centaines de milliers de roupies pour des achats personnels, entre autres, sur une carte de crédit Platinum offerte par la Planet Earth Institute, la fondation d’Álvaro Sobrinho, homme d’affaires angolais hautement controversé. Retrouvez tous les articles concernant cette affaire dans notre dossier spécial : Platinum Card. Une enquête exclusive de l’express.