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I was very pleased to hear the prime minister, Pravind Jugnauth, declare war on corruption at the Enhancing Business Integrity Conference this week. It’s so heart-warming. Corruption is one of the worst evils a country can suffer from. It reduces our productivity and impoverishes our people as well as the quality of services we offer. It weakens our institutions, undermines democracy and threatens human rights and freedom as well as social justice and fairness. And it thwarts economic development. 

So no one is happier than I to hear this very commendable expression: “I will be ruthless on corruption!” After hearing it repeated a few sickening times on our national broadcaster, we will end up believing it. It is easy to believe what politicians say. Because they mean every word that comes out of their honest mouths.

You will recall that the same prime minister had declared that he would be “ruthless against drug traffickers” and that he would curb drug trafficking by “Kas lerin mafia ladrog”? Well, there you are! Do you see any drug traffickers in the country anymore? Are there any drug users left? Anyone in the prime of their youth dying of an overdose every day? Any families decimated by this scourge? Any convicted drug barons who are very close to power roaming around free? Any hard drugs coming into the country through any route, including in the first Metro Express train, which was welcomed by the prime minister himself? Of course, not. Only anti-patriots are engaged in rumour-mongering as usual.

“Perhaps a good place to start is with nepotism, one of the worst forms of corruption. Apart from being unspeakable, it is also always done at the expense of others. It leaves a terrible sense of injustice, demotivates people and kills their ambition.”

So now that the drug problem has been solved, drug dealers are scared stiff of importing drugs into the country, our youngsters are steering clear of the poison and families are living together happily again, corruption is a much easier scourge to tackle. Congratulations for embarking on that fight too. Highly appreciated. 

There are naturally many forms of corruption and the prime minister – God bless his soul – must be tackling the problem on several fronts. He must have already started dealing with all the pre-election revelations made by Top TV. Very serious allegations, you will concede. So very soon, the Very Independent Commission Against Corruption (VICAC) will start looking into all the gates that came out during the campaign. I hear that is happening already as the hapless chap who denounced one of these gates is being called to the VICAC quarters on a daily basis. For those very close to power who are allegedly involved, you need time to ‘etudier dossier la’. It is a big job. Not like making gato pima.

You will also concede that it takes a long time to process other cases like those of Youshreen Choomka, Vijaya Sumputh and several others. But in spite of that, we will be ruthless against corruption.

Perhaps a good place to start is with nepotism, one of the worst forms of corruption. Apart from being unspeakable, it is also always done at the expense of others. It leaves a terrible sense of injustice, demotivates people and kills their ambition. But don’t worry. We have gone a long way in eradicating nepotism. Family members of the ruling family are all home and dry. Relatives of many ministers have been rewarded with full-time cushy jobs and benefits, including scholarships abroad for some. No one has been left behind. Those who were rejected by the population at the last election or were not deemed worthy to be fielded as candidates are now generally safe in different great positions. Some political agents, whose only qualification is having a taxi licence, are now heading some of our very important institutions. At the MBC, our national broadcaster, the one who sings the praises of Jugnauth the loudest will, by the looks of it, qualify to head the corporation. The Bank of Mauritius, once a reputable institution now depleted of its reserves, is the battlefield of an insidious war where the choice is between family members and agents, irrespective of qualifications. 

So, yes, the fight against corruption is nearly won. Nepotism is something of the past. We only need to put on our patriotic lenses to see that. Our youth can start dreaming again. Or join me in my daydreams. 

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: [email protected]

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