Blog: The Renewal
What has changed since last Monday, the day of the proclamation of results of village council elections? And what will change as from Monday next, the day of the results of municipal elections? Two significant changes will take place.
This increase in the percentage of women is due to the Aimée legislation which provides for at least 30% representation by women in district and municipal councils. Except for Cehl Meeah, all parties and leaders have welcomed this change.
All those who believe in democracy should appreciate the initiative of the Prime Minister to hold these elections just after the publication of the PRB report and the presentation of the 2013 budget. It is healthy.
Mauritius is just like America. Elections are held at all levels and at all times from youth clubs, parent-teachers associations, socio-cultural organizations, village and municipal elections to general elections. This is the way of life we have chosen and given to ourselves. Besides voting once in a while, we have reinforced our democracy by guaranteeing freedom of expression in our constitution, a free and diverse media and an independent judiciary.
For the village elections, the main political parties do no field candidates officially; but for the municipal elections, the main parties engage themselves fully with their official symbols.
After the resignation of SAJ and his decision to lead the remake alliance MMM-MSM, the opposition had wished and expected the population to rise and topple the government by either a majority of MPs defeating it on the floor of the house or forcing it to organize general elections.
The government is solidly saddled in office and will, I am sure, complete its mandate till 2015. The ballot box has given its verdict in rural areas. It has spoken loud and clear. More than 75% of those elected have publicly declared their affinity to Labour and Navin Ramgoolam.
In many areas, opposing groups were fighting, proclaiming to do so under the leadership of the Prime Minister. It should be noted that there are some 100,000 more voters who reside in the countryside.
I have been following the campaign trail personally. The beauty of election and democracy is that it proves that politicians are no gods. They have to campaign door to door, organize street corner meetings, hold a series of private meetings to explain their program and practically beg for votes.
The right to vote at 18 is the most powerful weapon given by SSR to all citizens of the country. It allows them to take their destiny in their own hands.
I remember the struggle for the universal suffrage. Many educated persons objected to granting of universal suffrage on the ground that it will be equivalent to putting a razor in the hands of monkeys. They will cut their own throat. By and large the electors have not done so. Whenever it has happened they have taken corrective measures soon after.
Coming three years before the scheduled general elections, the present village and municipal elections have provided an excellent opportunity to the ruling parties to gauge their popularity; and to go to the people and explain what they have done so far, what they are doing now and what they will do for the people in future.
I have attended some of these meetings. While the opposition is galvanizing its followers on the issues of corruptions and scandals the ruling parties are eloquently and seriously putting across their achievements.
The accusation of Celh Meeah against Minister Aimée having fallen flat, Celh Meeah being himself prosecuted for propagating false news and ICAC finding his accusations to be all wind; Transparency International saying that Mauritius has improved its ranking by three points on the issue of corruption. I am wondering what effect the appeal of the opposition to the basic instinct of the people will have on the municipal elections.
Everybody knows that the times are difficult and that there is a lot of frustration among the followers of Labour and PMSD. I have seen the frustration giving way to understanding with the promise that life will be better in the future once the world economic crisis is over. It is also due to the magic of ministers and MPs going out personally to the people and listening to them. Will they learn any lesson from this communication strategy for 2015?
Whatever happens next Monday, all Mauritians will wake up on Tuesday to find Navin Ramgoolam still Prime Minister. Still we cannot ignore the fact that each group commands at least 35% of the electorate as vote bank. But a definite change for renewal will take place. The process is unstoppable.
I am reading at present the book from the former President of India, Abdul Kalam "Turning Points - A journey through challenges".
I feel perhaps Navin Ramgoolam is inspired by Abdul Kalam whom he knew personally to ignite the minds of youth and woman. Abdul Kalam says "the ignited mind of the youth is the most powerful resource on the earth, above the earth and under the earth."
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