Mauritius: Jugnauth’s no nonsense gains massive support

ameenah gurib-fakim and SAJ

ameenah guribfakim and SAJ

With persistent reports of a sudden change on the ground, the country is seeing large amounts of money transferring hands, but Sir Aneerood Jugnauth (SAJ) no-nonsense approach is winning the opposition massive support, said an observer to <!more–>

Mauritius is reeling with a high tension political atmosphere, in the run up the Dec 10 polls, a general election that came earlier than scheduled with prospects for a close fight in the making.
“SAJ is conquering the citadel of the MMM of Paul Berenger in the towns as well, after making an impact in the villages,” said an opposition insider to
SAJ has risen like a phoenix in local politics, after a rough ride as the country’s President and his subsequent resignation when he was duped to join Berenger in the opposition.
SAJ sarcastically said during a rally that gathered a large crowd that he was betrayed by Berenger “on my birthday, after eating cake with me,” only to be dumped by the Movement Militant Mauricien (MMM) that concocted an alliance with outgoing Prime Minister Navin Ramgoolam.
The local political stalwart is received with a tremendous clatter by opposition supporters in the ‘Alliance Le Pep’ rallies across the country.
His remonstration of Navin Ramgoolam for the latter’s criticism of local biologist Ameenah Gurib-Fakim – tipped to be the next President of Mauritius in case of an opposition victory – has brought even more support for the MSM-PMSD-ML.
SAJ’s Movement Socialist Militant (MSM) insider told things are taking a different shape on the ground, with SAJ bulldozing into Ramgoolam’s Labour Party’s territory, making inroads among the Hindu community but attracting significant followings from minorities from the Muslim and Creole communities.

With reports that the ‘Vire Mam’ campaign is several points ahead of the MMM-Labour, holding several points clear with the prospects that it wins the elections unexpectedly, the big capital is said to be pressing ahead with cash handouts to political parties.
In yet another surprising development, the Party Mauricien Social Democrat (PMSD) headed by Xavier Duval, the son of former political maverick Sir Gaetan Duval, seem to be getting traction among the General Population.
“This is eating into the MMM’s vote bank, while the Movement Liberateur of Steve Obeegadoo is also a pain in the back of the MMM,” said another observer.
He said there are talks of a possible backlash against Ramgoolam at the constituency No 5, where the MSM may lift one seat or two. The constituency has always elected Navin since his entry in politics in1991.
There are talks of ruling MP’s and Minister’s buying their tickets, some forking up to Rupees 13 million for a seat in a particular MMM-Labour bastion in Port Louis.
Rumours are running high that some foreign companies, including one from India and one from Singapore, are helping the Labour-MMM campaign with millions of Rupees disbursed in the early stages of the election campaign.
“Promises of better deals, in the services sector and the maritime sectors are being made and these companies, known for their strong cash position, are within reach of the corridors of power,” said a local activist.
He said money is fast exchanging hands in these elections, which is a crucial test for the Berenger-Ramgoolam tandem.
“I heard that Rm100 million has been spent on the elections by the ruling coalition so far, and much of this money comes from local and foreign bankrolling,” said the activist.
Adding to the troubled MMM-Labour campaign is the recent claims by Berenger that the LRT or Metro Leger contract was wrongly allocated, with India’s leader Narendra Modi coming into the picture.
The Labour government has hastily allocated the contracts for the construction of a controversial light rail transit service between Port-Louis and other cities in the Midlands.
Berenger said he disagreed that an Indian company has been allocated the first phase of the contract, that is the design and construction while the second phase will be allocated to another company for the running of the operations.
According to Berenger, this endangers the entire investment, since the company engaged to run the show may claim it had no say in the construction and design if anything goes wrong in the future.
This, it is said, has offended the Indian embassy in Port Louis with reverberations in New Delhi.

Mosul salient in Islamic State strategy

A must read if you want to know more about IS


The Islamic State (IS) or the ISIS has a few good reasons to hold on to Mosul, the northern Iraqi city which they took during a sweeping offensive in June, and they are as strategic and economic importance to the Islamist force.

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Mauritius: Vire mam or macarena goes unchecked?

The glory days of the MMM when Paul Berenger was the dominant figure, and SAJ the man in the waiting...

The glory days of the MMM when Paul Berenger was the dominant figure, and SAJ the man in the waiting…

A few months ago, the political situation in Mauritius was in ebullition with the Labour Party holding on to power with a slim majority in Parliament. The defection of the Movement Socialist Mauricien (MSM) from the government in 2011 could have endangered Prime Minister Navin Ramgoolam’s rule, but the ongoing crisis offered a chance of a lifetime to Paul Berenger to grab power for the last time. <!more–>

As a backdrop of the crisis, is the sale of a private medical institution, the MedPoint. MedPoint is where a historic meeting in 2000 sealed an unlikely alliance that defeated the MLP. Berenger, a Mauritian of European descent has clear chances of becoming Prime Minister again. After the MedPoint saga, the burning question around the ‘Government House’ in Port Louis is for how long will Ramgoolam hold on to power?

The ‘MedPoint affair’ as it is called in Mauritius, remains at the forefront of the events that has stirred the crisis. Now that the MMM and the Labour party has joined forces to bring massive constitutional changes in Mauritius, the battle is between former Prime Minister Sir Anerood Jugnauth (SAJ) and Navin Ramgoolam. In this battle of personalities, it is apparent that SAJ has the upper hand, due to perceived faults in Ramgoolam’s leadership, and the creeping corruption that the latter’s reign has allowed to feed on the government’s projects and finances.
SAJ is credited with his ‘sacrifice’ that allowed Berenger to become Prime Minister in 2002. He is also known as the man who transformed Mauritius economy, assisted by Vishnu Lutchmeenaraidoo then Minister of Finance, who has now joined SAj in the battle against the Labour-MMM alliance.
While Berenger’s charisma brought him huge popularity, his being ‘white’ would always be a stumbling block in his political ambitions. His party would always face defeat with him as PM, sticking the label of ‘eternal’ opposition leader on his back. With Pravind Jugnauth as leader of the MSM, the MMM could not accept playing second fiddle to the smaller party. Jugnauth Jr. does not have the same clout that was known of his father. SAJ was tough to deal with and ruled at times with an iron fist. Unfortunately for Berenger, Pravind does not have that iron fisted personality, thus the MMM’s decision to unite with the Labour party on the backdrop of a 2nd republic that will – according to Berenger and Ramgoolam – transform Mauritius from a sleepy township to a hustle and bustle economic dragon.
Nevertheless, Berenger is being targeted for a historic flip-flop, with the town is buzzing that SAJ’s resignation as President of the nation to join the latter in the opposition against Ramgoolam a few years ago, was a move by Berenger to rid the country of the old political stalwart.
SAJ was mooted to lead a new MSM-MMM alliance, with his presidency being a pain in the neck of Ramgoolam, limiting the Labour party’s political plans over the years. During his reign as President, SAJ did criticize Ramgoolam’s government on major issues of contention. SAJ and Berenger will always be known as the two political animals who ‘destroyed’ Navin’s father, Sir Seewoosagur Ramgoolam (SSR) in the 1982 elections.
Labour sources indicate that Ramgoolam, who had tussles with SAJ since 2005, is still in control of situation despite the growing opposition to his alliance with Berenger.
Ramgoolam is said to have turned the tables against the Jugnauth clan, and has also caused Berenger to be unsettled, threatening him with arrests and legal actions prior to the 2010 elections.

The MedPoint Affair
The cabinet run by Ramgoolam since 2010 had two members of the Jagnauth clan as Ministers. Pravind, was the deputy PM and Minister of Finance. This made him one of the most powerful man in the country after Ramgoolam. Pravind’s cousin Shakoontala Howaldar was the Minister of Health. It is through her Ministry and under her tutelage that the MedPoint clinic sale was carried out.
This would be the most politically damaging sale in Mauritius history as the ‘pot of roses’ came under scrutiny.
MedPoint is a private medical institution owned by Dr Malhotra, the son –in –law of SAJ. Dr. Malhotra had been severely wounded in an ‘acid’ attack by a grudging customer who claimed the clinic overcharged him.
The clinic that was subsequently sold at an overvalued price of Mauritius Rupees (MRU) 114 million. MedPoint is said to be valued at MRU74 million.
The overpriced sale caught the attention of the Independent Anti-Corruption Agency (ICAC). An agency set-up by the Prime Minister, ICAC was viewed as a ‘lame agency’ by the U.S. Ambassador to Mauritius.
Now it is seen as being ‘used’ as a political tool by the opposition. Ramgoolam claims the ICAC is an independent body that is doing its job. The Med Point clinic was said to be unprofitable, accumulating debts exceeding MRU100m. The Jugnauth clan is accused of literally plotting to get rid of the clinic by selling it to the Government.
Ramgoolam is also said to have played along with the Jugnauth clan in the Cabinet by allowing the deal to go through. He altogether allowed the payment by the Ministry of Finance to be approved. Ramgoolam has accused the Jugnauth clan of conflict of interest in the scandal in which Paul Berenger is being dragged inadvertently. Berenger placed himself in the line of fire for his support to the Jagnauth clan. Berenger has been Aneerood Jagnauth’s ‘political’ son since SAJ joined the MMM in the early 1970’s.
Overall, the Labour-MSM alliance in 2010 was one in which the MSM and the Labour did everything to undermine each other, and unfortunately for the MSM, Ramgoolam came on top in the MedPoint affair.
Will the MedPoint damage the MSM-PMSD-ML chances in the upcoming elections on Dec 10, or will the rising rejection of the Labour-MMM alliance sway the votes in favor of SAJ?
Ultimately, it is hoped that the Mauritians does not end up losers, in what seems to be a long drawn political battle between the most powerful clans in the country pitting the Ramgoolam’s against the Jugnauth’s and the Berenger’s against the Duval’s while the Muslims elites are backing the MMM-Labour alliance.
A question that remains unanswered: Where will the 1% Chinese vote go?

Mauritius: A two party system at a loss


As is the case in many ‘democracies’, the people are losing faith in long existing political parties, to the point that new factions are making headway as we have seen in England and the EU recently. Mauritius is not immune to these changing times, where democracies are facing a crisis of confidence and the people are losing interest in party politics. <!more–>

Nevertheless, in Mauritius, the communal factor may just be the major decider in an election that many are seeing as a game changer in the country’s democratic future.

“This election is about Hindu power, not about the usual. The constitutional changes proposed by the Berenger and accepted by Navin, is seen as an attempt to weaken the Hindu majority,” said an observer to

He said if the Hindus – who forms 50% of the electorate – feels they will lose their political power to the minorities, then they will vote massively for the MSM-PMSD-ML alliance of the people (Alliance Le Pep).

The democratic slump was seen, most recently in the United States, where less than 50% of the electorate went to choose a new senate and congress. Not too long ago, the number one democracy in the world saw the rise of the ‘Tea parties’, which eroded the voter base of both the Republicans and the Democrats.

Today, the Tea parties are the most influential political warlords in America, and the country is heading where these warlords want it to go.

In Indonesia, a different trend has surfaced in the past ten years, with the electorate tired of parties not delivering on their promises. They are now backing the most popular figures in the country, without putting too much interest in the fate of the political parties they represent.

“This personality cult, which is not new in Indonesia but is at its height these days, is the answer to the party infighting, party hopping and lackluster performances by the parties,” said Indonesian political analyst Muhd Isa Selamat to

He said he foresees this trend to continue in Indonesia for another decade, until and unless the political organisations – including the Partai Democratik Indonesia – Perjuangan (PDIP) of which he is a member – presents a stronger image to the public.

Mauritius, where the people will head to the polls on Dec 10, the political landscape is primarily bi-polarized with two factions claiming they will win the majority and rule the country.

The December polls are probably one of the biggest tests of democracy in Mauritius, with the Labour-MMM coalition in power struggling to pin its pet project of a new “Republic of Mauritius”, while the MSM-PMSD-ML is facing the uphill battle of cohesiveness to the voters.

Recent polls in local newspapers indicate the Labour-MMM will win by a slim margin over the MSM-PMSD-ML, which does not augur well for the ruling coalition since its leaders PM Navin Ramgoolam and former opposition leader Paul Berenger expected a landslide victory.

However, the announcement of the alliance between the Labour and the MMM opposition party, did not go down well with a majority of the online netizens in Mauritius. The offer to change the constitution, replacing it with a so called modern concept based on the French republic, has probably caused much confusion among the voters.

To carry out the changes, the Labour-MMM need to win three quarters of the seats in the current parliament of 70 MP’s. The bold stance by Sir Aneerood Jugnauth, former Prime Minister in the 1982-1995 era, rallying an alliance of the weaker parties has stunned the ruling coalition.

The campaign by the MSM-PMSD-ML has gained traction since the early November rally that saw both coalitions at almost the same strength, but the Hindu majority seemingly turning away from the Labour-MMM alliance.

Would the Republicans unseat Obama?

Some U.S. lawmakers have said that the prisoner swap that led to Bergdahl's release may have been illegal.

Some U.S. lawmakers have said that the prisoner swap that led to Bergdahl’s release may have been illegal.

An interesting perspective has risen up with Tuesday’s comprehensive rout of the Democrats by the Republicans in the midterm elections: Would the Republicans push for President Barack Obama’s impeachment or would they carry on and risk the full brunt of the electorate in 2016? <!more–>
The republicans got a strong mandate from the electorate, one that they must use wisely in order to remain strong and capture the White House in the 2016 elections.
However, they do have the opportunity to send Obama into the dustbin of history, if they pick up on an impeachment call made by extreme republican lawmakers.
They will probably altogether push for more aggression against the external enemies of the US, perhaps even consider troops on the ground in Iraq, Syria and Libya where the US is losing control of the revolutions it triggered.
In the eyes of many, the Arab Spring – which got the support of the Obama administration – has failed in Egypt, Libya, Syria and the Iraq situation have deteriorated since the US troop pullout ordered by Obama.
The discontent with Obama is such that the Democrats lost in Obama’s home state of Illinois, and the Republicans swept a number of governors’ races.
Another question is what are Obama’s plans in the light of this rebuke by the American electorate?
According to analysts, Obama can try to push for a deal with the Republican majority in the congress and the senate to allow him to survive the last two years of his Presidential life. Depending on the mood of the Republican reps, he may altogether be given a rough ride, and become marginalised at the White House. Or the Republicans may attempt at exterminating him outright, with a potential vote for his impeachment.
On what grounds would they impeach Obama?
If Obama decides to stay in office by ignoring Congress, with the use of executive powers and federal regulations to push for his own agenda, he might have it coming.
Obama could face the wrath of the Republicans if he tries to implement immigration reform through an executive order. The congressmen may also find him guilty for imposing Obama Care, and for his role in the freeing of Bowe Bergdahl. Captured by the Taliban in 2009, Bergdahl was released on May 31, 2014, as part of a prisoner exchange for five Taliban members who were being held at the detention center at Guantanamo Bay. This exchange quickly became a political controversy within the United States. Obama was put under intense fire over Bergdahl’s release, because the US negotiated with terrorists!

Libya: The Benghazi Affair

Saif al-Islam Gaddafi, the son of slain Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi and dozens of former government officials have appeared in a Tripoli court to face charges ranging from war crimes to corruption... a bogus court?

Saif al-Islam Gaddafi, the son of slain Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi and dozens of former government officials have appeared in a Tripoli court to face charges ranging from war crimes to corruption… a bogus court?

Trouble in Libya is not new, it brewed since the days of Colonel Gaddafi’s rule, and back in the 1980’s there were echoes of discontent with his leadership but there was also the tight lipped approach by the opposition not to divulge information. But who is gaining from the oil exports from Libya?
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