Municipal elections: an illusion of triumphalism

TP Saran

Following the municipal elections in 2005, that came in the wake of the general elections, the Alliance Sociale led by Labour Party won all the five municipalities, at 122 seats against 4 for the Opposition MMM-MSM.

In the 2012 municipal elections, the MMM-MSM Remake has won 3 municipalities, and is on a par in one.

LP-PMSD has won only one municipality. These results translate into 53 seats for LP-PMSD and 46 seats for the Remake, with one seat for Guimbeau’s MMSD, adding up to a total of 89 seats.

In the political system that we have accepted from the time of Independence to date, you win or lose by one seat or one point. It is the same for examinations, where a quarter point can make or break, and in football and other sports. This is the way of our societies, and this system gives some coherence and order in the running of human affairs.

As the saying goes, this is not rocket science, and you do not need to be a genius at arithmetic to understand this simple fact. A loss is a loss, a win is a win. And, as in sports, one must learn to be a good loser as much as show magnanimity as a winner.

In Mauritius, we seem to have neither. And on both sides of the fence.

The clever dicks who have persuaded the leader of the Labour-PMSD combine to come and say in public that they have won and MMM is in decline have not realised that they are doing their leader, their party and the country a great disservice. They are living in a dream world of illusion.

The message is louder and clearer from the absentee voters than from those who went to vote: WE ARE NOT A FIXED DEPOSIT, DO NOT TREAT US AS ONE!

The clever dicks must revise their copy, and advise their leader to carry out a more rigorous self-criticism of himself, of the party, of the alliance so as to understand the exact and real causes of the resounding slap at the municipal elections. The superficial, gloating and spurious scan that has been presented as informed analysis at the press conference does not, alas, pass the test of scrutiny at the level of those who can think and analyze more objectively without coloured glasses.

Labour was once the victim of a colourable device that was detected and labelled in as many words by a learned judge. It should refrain from resorting to colourful devices to rationalize rather than understand and correct.

Illusory triumphalism will ill serve LP, at any time, now or in the future. Even less will be of help a persistent delusion of eternal grandeur. There is such a thing as the burnout of incumbency. In Westminsterian politics its limit seems to be 13 years, which Jugnauth attained. And so did Thatcher in the UK.

Forewarned, they say, is forearmed.

* * *

MMSD in Curepipe

The one thing that MMSD must not do is to align itself with either party. Far from being a ‘joker’, it can serve the citizens of Curepipe better by being an effective lever. It will get drowned if it decided to join either camp.

But by remaining independent, MMSD can use its single vote to support only those decisions and measures arrived at after due process, and which are unequivocally in the interest of the locals. It could act as a genuine sounding board vis-à-vis the latter by taking issues to them, in public platforms if need be, so that their concerns are addressed promptly.

In so doing, it will prepare itself for a larger national role in the years to come, for it seems to have the potential. Let’s hope it will see farther than the tip of the nose, and not be tempted to go for short-term gains and advantages for itself, but instead take a longer perspective.

* Published in print edition on 21 December 2012

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