Most of the parastatal bodies in Mauritius have at their head a political nominee and this has been the practice for a very very long time. Unfortunately, quite a few of them have not been attributed the job on merits but on relations. As long as economic conditions are stable, anyone can manage any company – you just need some common sense and a few good managers that have been around for some time. However, when facing unstable economic conditions … like right now; you need the right man in the right place.
For example, I find it tough to put the blame on Air Mauritius for doing a hedging contract. Everyone was expecting petrol to rise to around $200 and striking a deal on $105 seemed to make sense – of course many are claiming otherwise but I didn’t hear them saying petrol would go down a few months ago! Doing a hedging contract is therefore normal. However, going for 80% of the fuel on such a long contract (2 years) is where “the right man in the right place” would have said: “Guys hold on, I think this is unwise! That much and for two year deal is just too long.”
Many political nominees have been reigning unquestioned over their kingdom until … overthrown by economic crisis! Had the price of petrol gone up, as everyone thought it would, these political nominees would have been seen as heroes praised for their exceptional vision and gift of claivoyance! Unfortunately, for them, it turned out not to be so!
Instead they have been decried as incompetants. Their primary sin, according to me has been their supreme arrogance – how do you call a salary of about Rs 800 000 (when the average salary in Mauritius might be around Rs 10 000 if not lower) and assigning yourself free tickets for life on Air Mauritius? Today, they are paying the price of that, and it will be hard for them to get the sympathy of anyone when they have been so full of themselves!
Though I’m a self proclaimed agnostic (one who continuously ask questions about whether God exists and is just looking for answers), I can’t find a better word for that than “Divine Retribution”. I don’t know if it’s the work of God or just a mere coincidence but that should serve as example for future autarchs!