Touria Prayag's Blog

Editorial Weekly No. 1

Posted in Uncategorized by touriaprayag on July 30, 2012

The real winning formula

There is nothing definite to support the idea that we are heading towards a second republic yet.

But, if you have to put your money down now, bet yes. Yes, not because you or I want it but because

our leaders are desperate to cut and run. They naturally need the support of the population, which le

peupl admirabl will give unstintingly.

Of course, nobody is a dupe. There is nothing in the koze kozé (chatting) between the prime minister

and the leader of the opposition to suggest that they give two hoots about the interests of the

country. It all sounds like two lovers who, after a period of ‘we can’t live with each other but we can’t

live without each other’, have fi nally found a way to compromise.

Paul Bérenger knows that, given the ethnic realpolitik in Mauritius, he can never be prime minister

by going it alone. Besides, he is nearing the end of his political career. He has also come to terms, for

some time already, with the fact that the remake has been met with public apathy if not hostility. Navin

Ramgoolam, on the other hand, is, as Jean Claude de l’Estrac said in his recent interview, “not interested

in ruling but in reigning”. He has satisfi ed his ambition for ruling and now dreams of rubbing

shoulders with the Obamas, Camerons and Hollandes of this world and playing the political game on

an equal footing. He is therefore happy for Paul Bérenger to fulfi l his lifetime dream of managing and

governing the country. And the latter is cut out for that: he is diligent, assiduous, tireless, disciplined

and rigorous.

Will the marriage last? Yes, we think so. The reason is the same as why the remake did not: Navin

Ramgoolam and Paul Bérenger have affi nities, a lot of affection for each other and – most importantly

– they respect each other. Even at the peak of their animosity, the complicity between them was evident.

Also, while Paul Bérenger has coined unique expressions about almost each one of his colleagues invoking

anything from plants to animals going through utensils (gros feye, ti-cretin, bourique, laké sate,

minis patole, fi gir pot d’sam etc.) one cannot attribute to him a single derogatory expression about Navin

Ramgoolam. You will also recall that on May Day, while the remake was going on full swing, Paul Bérenger,

referring to the crowds each leader managed to attract, could not resist almost congratulating Ramgoolam

for having “kept his head above water”. Navin Ramgoolam, on the other hand, has always been

very mild in his criticism of his ‘brother’, at times even complimentary going to the extent of saying once

that “if Bérenger had been in the Labour Party, he would have become prime minister”.

But beyond the personalities of two people, beyond the here and now, what would a second republic

bring to the country? Apart from the fact that there would be no opposition (some of the 3%

the MSM represents will most probably cross over), when these two sexagenarians pass from the

political scene, we are set for a series of confl icts in case the president and the prime minister are from

different political parties or simply have different interests.

In the meantime, for the two protagonists, this is a real winning formula. If ever there was one.

By Touria Prayag, Editor in chief


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