Blog: Myth surrounding Sir Anerood Jugnauth dissolves before public’s eyes
Had Sir Anerood Jugnauth remained President, which he now admits is a cushy job, and retired gracefully, the myth surrounding him may have survived; he showed no sparks and no attraction to the electorate, except his nuisance value. For his part, former journalist and former MMM Minister Jean-Claude de l’Estrac takes Mauritians for donkeys ready to swallow any form of fascist garbage in an attempt to bring Paul Bérenger and his crutch SAJ back to power, which we have seen splattered in the press through the Méthode Coué without any right of reply.
Because SAJ secretly traded with the Catholic church a discriminatory 50% reserved places in Catholic confessional schools financed by the taxpayer for the rights of Indo-Mauritians (i.e., 70% of the population) who choose to learn their Bhojpuri ancestral language in schools and subsequently made a power-sharing deal with Franco-Mauritian Paul Bérenger in September 2000 whereby SAJ resigned in 2003 to allow Bérenger to replace him as PM while SAJ was made President, the pro-Franco press has elevated him to some form of superman and miracle worker. While the MMM-MSM alliance was defeated by mainly Ramgoolam’s PTr in 2005 and SAJ’s presidency renewed, the earlier years of alleged economic miracle when SAJ was PM tend to be pitched against the present PTr-PMSD government which is operating in a more difficult and hostile world economic environment with austerity measures and riots in countries such as the USA, Greece, Spain, Italy and so on, while the Mauritian economy proved more resilient and the Governor of the Bank of Mauritius, Rhundeersing Bheenick, strived for and achieved price stability.
Since, in the aftermath of the arrest of and provisional corruption charge brought against his son Pravind Jugnauth by the watchdog against corruption (ICAC) under the Prevention of Corruption Act (PoCA), former PM and former MSM leader Anerood Jugnauth resigned as President at the age of 82 in order to rejoin politics (while still benefitting from his ‘retirement’ pension) on the side of Pravind Jugnauth, leader of the MSM, and Paul Bérenger, leader of the MMM, in a new power-sharing deal (codenamed ‘Remake 2000’) in their quest for power, fascist propaganda in a section of the press has been trying to inflate SAJ into a sort of super human being, ready to overturn the present government and retake political power well before the 2015 general elections, having promised to deal with ICAC which arrested and charged his son and to turn the people’s alleged misfortunes around. In his excellent editorial « Compte à rebours », le Matinal 4th May 2012, Kiran Ramsahaye rightly speaks of that « battage médiatique savamment orchestré ».
Lindsay Rivière, President of the editorial team of La Sentinelle Ltd, reared his ugly head by publishing regular propaganda pieces in l’Express to prop up an aging SAJ. While he is responsible for delving into all sorts of silly and contradictory speculations even prior to the resignation of SAJ as President, Lindsay Rivière puts the blame squarely on the people when he says « le pays tout entier a-t-il pu être embarqué dans pareil tourbillon de spéculations et de folles rumours [..]? » but, at the same time, he speaks in terms of SAJ’s « perspective d’un retour triomphal au pouvoir ». In « Une dévalorisation des institutions » (26/03/12), instead of condemning SAJ for using his Presidency to attack ICAC and Ramgoolam’s government, he accuses the government of « affronts protocolaires de plus en plus fréquents et humiliants » for reacting to SAJ’s attacks, and brandishes the prospect/threat of « minorité parlementaire du gouvernement » while uplifting SAJ as « un grand Premier ministre, entraînant le pays vers des sommets économiques insoupçonnés » without displaying any understanding of business cycles in the global economic conditions prevailing at the time. Upon the resignation of SAJ on 30th March 2012, he thrusts the dagger deeper into the flesh of Ramgoolam by raising the hopes of the MMM-MSM opposition with the MSM obtaining « une super-prime équivalent à la moitié des tickets, plus le prime ministership initial » and alleged wrongly that « Un demi-million de Mauriciens croient désespérément en Paul Bérenger ». He also describes SAJ as a « challenger de poids » (09/04/12) while, earlier, former journalist Yvan Martial sees SAJ as a trump card which allegedly gives the rural (meaning Hindu) community a « credible alternative » (Mauritius Times, 30 March 2012).
The strategy was to dismantle the government thin majority by or before the Mayday celebrations by betting on the MMM-MSM alliance attracting a much bigger crowd on that day which, according to their calculations (perhaps using Rama Sithanen’s inappropriate and wrong formulae in his deeply flawed and discredited January 2012 report on electoral reform), would provoke a haemorrhage and defections within the ranks of the government. In an interview published in Mauritius Times on 27th April 2012, former MMM Minister and former Director of La Sentinelle Ltée (l’Express) Jean-Claude de l’Estrac puts his dirty boot in saying that it was « logical » that the MMM opposition would draw the biggest crowd at the Mayday celebrations on Tuesday 1st May 2012 because, according to him, it is easier to draw crowds against rather than for the government. He also felt that SAJ would help attract people as they would want to see if he has preserved his verve and energy. He clearly takes Mauritians for donkeys ready to swallow any form of fascist garbage which we have seen splattered in the press through the Méthode Coué without any right of reply.
It turns out that the crowd ploy fell flat on its face with both sides claiming a larger attendance, while the myth surrounding SAJ, who Lindsay Rivière referred to as « politiquement trop fin » (l’Express 06/03/12), dissolves before the very public’s eyes in disgrace as he indulged in personal attacks and sheer vulgarity for which he was even asked to apologise, people are told. Even the MMM main propaganda machine had to admit : « Mise en minorité du gouvernement : SAJ et Paul Bérenger mettent leur projet au frigo » (l’Express 3rd May 2012). SAJ showed no sparks and no attraction to the electorate, except his nuisance value. Had SAJ remained President, which he now admits is a cushy job, and retired gracefully, the myth surrounding him may have survived. But now, it is a totally different ball game as the cat is out of the bag. Mauritians are much more educated and have evolved a great deal. It does not take a genius to see that SAJ was never either a good orator or coherent in his deliberations. His language always left a lot to be desired. One may well argue that his approach and manipulations are as sickening as ever. The devilish thing about the MMM-MSM alliance is that Paul Bérenger is still the leader of the MMM and Pravind Jugnauth still leader of the MSM, both MPs, but SAJ, a mere member of the MSM, is not elected but he is the leader of the MMM-MSM alliance without being the leader of any political party, which people are being forced to accept. Does anyone see the parallel with the MedPoint 2000 deal when people were forced to accept a PM (Bérenger) in 2003 for votes cast for a different PM (SAJ) in 2000?