Touria Prayag's Blog

l’Express Weekly, 23 September 2011

Posted in Uncategorized by touriaprayag on February 27, 2012

Institution vs. institution

When felicitous restraint fl ies out of the window; when decorum is consumed by family interest; when a head of state, who is supposed to be independent, walks into the political arena; when the guarantor of our constitution comes out in the open against our institutions; when those who are paid to safeguard our democracy decide to publicly criticise it; when shame becomes a futile word, we say that our republic has really hit rock bottom.

We are not talking here, of course, about a president exercising his right to resign and give up all the comforts and privileges of the State House in order to stand up for a principle. No, oh no, sir. We are not talking about a president who uses the various channels open to him, and there are many, to offer his views on how to tackle the law and order situation which, it would seem, has deteriorated so much since his son was called by the ICAC under warning. We are talking about a president who, before resigning or perhaps with no intention of doing so, threatens to leave offi ce on account of the newly discovered interests of the country which coincide with his son’s appearance at the ICAC. We should perhaps all be grateful to God for his little mercies: every time a powerful politician is called by the ICAC, our political leaders suddenly discover a scourge they absolutely want to eradicate.

What we are witnessing is a remake of July when six ministers became famous for “ lev paké resté”. They tried to destabilize the government and threaten the very institution which is trying to combat the biggest evils our society is suffering from: corruption, nepotism and favouritism. Coming from the president, the act is even more unforgivable.

Two other worrying events should also be fl agged for the survival of our democracy. The meeting of the leader of the opposition ( LoO) with the president to discuss… the law and order situation, this time! The LoP is paid to keep the government in check and make sure our institutions work in all serenity.

What we have seen is a LoO who, instead of playing the democratic game and consolidating his credibility for the next general elections, jumps at every opportunity to try and plot his way into power. This is a threat to the stability of this country.

A government needs stability to be able to work and attract the investment it is in dire need of. It needs the serenity to carry out its projects. No matter what one may think of the current government, one has to be blind not to see that the country is being turned inside out and modernized at a speed unseen before. We cannot have the whole cabinet on the back foot all the time fi ghting for survival. They have been elected by the people in the proper forum and they have the legitimacy to carry on with what they have been elected to do until the next verdict of the people. We cannot go to the polls every time a politician does not accept the verdict of our institutions and has the support of the president who happens to be his father.

The second event, the MMM’s call on its supporters to “ mobilize” in front of the ICAC, perhaps needs no comment. Suffi ce it to say that after the Radio one “ mobilization”, some have acquired enough practice in the fi eld.

The fact that the ICAC went ahead and pressed the charges and did not give in to the threats and show of bravado is commendable. We, however, need to know the truth. If that means making some confi dential cabinet papers offi – cial. So be it. The authorities owe it to us.

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