Yet he remains president of the (MSM) !

Yet he remains  president of the (MSM) !

Showkutally Soodhun became president of the MSM following Joe Lesjongard’s adventure in search for fresher fields and greener pastures. Considered to be a loose cannon by many across the political spectrum and the public at large, his blundering instinct became more pronounced after the unexpected advent of the MSM led government in 2014.  The list of his gaffes is long but not exhaustive. In the recent past, he was prosecuted and fined by the Intermediate Court for a case of unlawful assembly and instigating MSM followers to perform unlawful acts in front of the former premises of L’Express newspaper in Port-Louis.

One would recall his stand on Iran sometime back in total disregard of that of Government. On matters of foreign policy, it is established practice for the Prime Minister or for that matter the Minister of Foreign Affairs to take the lead not the Minister of Housing and Lands, as he then was. His auto proclamation as Minister for Islamic Affairs is all the more intriguing and his proximity with Saudi Arabia raises questions in relation to the financing of certain projects and foreign policy. Soodhun’s public statement on the financial support of that country for the defunct Heritage City project made big echo. It was reported in the recent past he was flown back to Mauritius from Saudi Arabia in a private jet with a number of suitcases. Funnily, the cameras at the airport were not functioning, just at that time.  Was it deliberate, a coincidence or an occasional mechanical defect? The Airports of Mauritius Limited owes an answer to the public. More recently, the Saudi prince visited the island and he organized a dinner in the presence of the Prime Minister. To the surprise of one and all, women were excluded from that prestigious event. This was an insult to say the least, in total disregard for the struggle for women emancipation and equality in Mauritius and the world at large. It is also ironical that the same Prime Minister is now talking about fair gender representation in elections.

Prior to 2014, Showkutally Soodhun stated that he had received a good job offer from the International Labour Organization. Recently it was said he had been chosen as Saudi Arabia’s roving ambassador for Africa with a monthly salary to the tune of several millions of rupees. He used the same cliché on both occasions that he was sacrificing himself for the country by refusing the job offers. The public preempted his stand on the second occasion and he was, without any surprise, not taken seriously. Before making such statements, one would wonder whether he had taken the pains to check his political profile in the mirror. Had Saudi Arabia decided to have such a roving ambassador, it would have chosen a career diplomat with several years of experience, instead of a disgraced politician having no experience in foreign policy.

To make matters worse, he publicly threatened to shoot the leader of the opposition because the latter had apparently made certain comments on Saudi Arabia in the National Assembly. The matter was reported to the police and he is now being prosecuted  before the Intermediate Court. All the more, in a meeting at his then Ministry of Housing and Lands, he allegedly mentioned that National Housing Development Company (which fell under his aegis) houses would not be allocated to creoles as they are normally thieves and prostitutes, in total disrespect of that section of the population. This statement was shameful and stinks of rampant, deep-rooted communalism. The ancestors of creoles hail from Africa and with such a statement, one would wonder how the Saudi Government chose him as its roving ambassador for that continent.  He was forced to resign on 07 November, 2017 in the face of mounting pressure from the public and the Catholic Church. On 27 August, 2018 the Director of Public Prosecutions advised prosecution against him. It is apposite to observe that on both occasions, the police did not deem it fit and proper to arrest and provisionally charge Showkutally Soodhun. A member of the opposition or any other member of the public for that instance, would definitely not have benefitted from such a privilege from the police. It would seem that his being a pivotal figure of the MSM plays in his favour. For the Commissioner of Police, it seems that people are equal but some are more equal than others.

To add insult to injury, his involvement in his son’s acquisition of a plot of state land to the extent of 1931 m2, when he was Minister of Lands raises serious legal and ethical questions. He apparently approved a minute in relation thereto on 07 May, 2015 and subsequently, his son sold the state land for the sum of Rs 48 million. It would seem for the Government of the day and the Independent Commission Against Corruption that such a practice is perfectly in order. Long live our Republic! Last but not least, Showkutally Soodhun openly criticized Mrs Fazila Jeewa Dawreeawoo, MSM Vice Prime Minister and Minister of Local Governmen, in Goodlands stating she does not represent the Muslim community and went to the extent of even criticizing the way she dresses up. Did he criticize her only because she replaced him on the Government front bench or otherwise? This remains a question of interpretation.

Soodhun’s proximity with Anerood Jugnauth has become proverbial, so much so that he publicly stated that even if the latter punishes or worse, beats him up, he will continue remaining his slave. Would that explain the leeway given to him in his excesses? By his acts and doings, Soodhun has shown to be sexist and communal. However, he is being tolerated by the MSM leadership. This reminds me of the poem “ The Solitude of Alexander Selkirk” by William Cowper- I am monarch of all I survey; My right there is none to dispute……..By having such a person as president, the MSM is perceived to condone both sexism and communalism. Someone who would have been considered to be a political headache of millennial proportions in other political parties, remains nevertheless the president of the MSM…….

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