Beware of ‘Lepep Mouton’

Avec le soutien de

Yogida Sawmynaden may or may not be tried, let alone convicted. Simla Kistnen may or may not find the closure she is fighting for. And the country may or may not see justice.

As you must have gathered, the whole process hinges upon things that seem rather obscure to us, possibly irrelevant. No one is asking yet whether a minister of the republic has or has not been robbing a woman of her salary every month or swindling the country on top of the indecent salary he is drawing. No one is asking whether we are dealing with a swindler – a thief in common parlance – or an honest citizen wrongly accused and swift to defend his name. 

The fate of justice in this country now hinges upon a formality and one man, who will decide – on his mind and in his heart of course – whether Sawmynaden will be questioned under warning or not. One man who has to reckon with a whole cabinet and a prime minister who has already given his verdict and who has absolute powers, considering that the breed of ministers and MPs we have today would do anything to cling to the posts which, in their wildest dreams, they had never even dreamt they would occupy. A foretaste of the way things might go was already given on Tuesday when goons and ex-convicts, crawling out of the woodwork in support of an accused minister who does not see clearing his name as an absolute priority, flexed their muscles in front of the very symbol of justice and threatened journalists under the nose of this very police we are relying on to help us see justice.

Should we be heartened by the fact that the dhal that has been soaking for weeks at our terribly independent institution in Réduit is finally ready for gato piman as Kistnen’s widow has at last been called by the ICAC for a “further statement”? Considering the Angus Road inquiry entering its 11th year, how long the appetising balls will take to hit the hot sizzling oil is anyone’s guess. The pantry is already chockfull of stale overpriced gato piman (costing Rs200 million every year) we had been waiting to be served but which will never reach our palate: Choomkha, Sumputh, Yerrigadoo etc. So we are still far from due process of the law, let alone justice.

The excesses of a government that has erected threats and rewards as a system of governance are based on a dodgy premise: that Lepep Mouton will always be Lepep Mouton. While we agree that elections have been reduced to a well-calculated barter between the roder boutte and the donneurs boutte, one should not make the mistake of thinking that the Mauritian nation is made of sheeple. Far from it. The reason we have been a peaceful people is that because our institutions were working properly so we put up with a lot of nonsense while waiting for that moment to inflict a severe punishment – election correction! Barring one occasion, no one ever questioned the electoral process, the Electoral Commission or the electoral commissioner. When ministers were caught with their hands in the cookie jar, they had to step down and face justice as ordinary men. The MBC was never an independent station but there were limits it did not transgress. Institutions were by and large functioning properly. And one thing is for sure: there was never as much corruption, nepotism, opacity, oppression and repression as we are living today and nowhere as many resources deployed to protect one ordinary minister. As for the rate of bizarre ‘suicides’ and allegations of murder, conceded by the police, let’s not even go there!

A people with no hope of obtaining justice or equality and with little say in the governance of their own country is a people that will not sit and watch injustice, oppression and corruption happen. The events we are living are unprecedented. So will be the reaction to them. If we do not change tack, we will soon see a totally different side of the ‘Moutons’. I dread that day with all my might!  

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