Elections are approaching and even from very far I cannot escape hearing about it. Some essential characteristics of elections in 3 questions (question 0 is just to set the scene).
0. A little digression first: Who is a Mauritian? (that’s needed to set the scene)
The Mauritian is a very special race; after years of isolation on a small island in the Indian Ocean he has evolved some very specific traits. For example, his official language is English (which very few speak and write properly), the common unofficial medium is French and the mother tongue is Mauritian Creole which he likes to degrade, says that it’s not a language, find inferior and vulgar but nevertheless enjoys speaking in! There are other important characteristics as well: his favorite sport: watching English Premier League (and believing that they have the best teams and players in the world), his favorite topic of discussion is local politics, and he has a superpower (which makes all of us superheroes) of always finding a way to blame someone else for whatever happens (sorry of writing this quote in a non-language, I sincerely apologize for that) “Pas mwa sa li sa!”.
Finally, most good Mauritians fail to see themselves as Mauritian but rather as Indian, African, European, … ; in other words denying your own culture and trying to associate yourself with others (careful though: we don’t want to go back to the country of our ancestors: we all want to go live and study in Europe) is what makes most Mauritians true Mauritians!
1. So how does a Mauritian decide who to vote for?
All political parties have a programme which it should implement once it wins the elections. But naturally, this is NOT the criteria for voting. The main criteria are: is he like me, what favors is he going to do for my community (community being defined as people who have the same religion as me) – nothing will change for him but his community will prosper (at least this is what he thinks).
Of course, when a politician registers himself as candidate for an election, he has to state his ethnic group. Honestly how dare he be just a Mauritian! He has to be Christian, Hindu, Muslim, Chinese, … as being just a Mauritian is lame; so damn lame that it denies him the right to be a candidate!
2. How do parties campaign for an election?
Fighting for their ideals or explaining how the programme is going to change the life of Mauritians is of course not an argument. Slinging mud at your opponent is good. Blaming his ethnicity ( who can argue that he is NOT to be blamed for being of a different ethnicity – it’s of course his fault for being born hindu, muslin, christian, chinese, … he should have know better!!! ) is particularly effective. I cannot blame the politicians for that as they are using the easiest and most effective startegy at his disposal.
Moreover a debate on TV to discuss your ideas is inadmissible; even suggesting this is downright stupid!
3. What happens when an election is won/lost?
- Winners: gloat about how good he is and have lavish praises for how smart Mauritians are for voting for him: (warning non-language quote ahead) “lepep admirable“. Message for his worthy adversaries: “Lev pake aller” (apologies for use of non-language again).
- Losers: I’ll be back.
Nothing changes for the poor guy, if he didn’t manage to convince politicians that his local road needs to be asphalted/ lighted/ … better, he’ll have to wait for the next elections for that or hope to have some contacts or the next labour day (1st of May) for a free picnic to the beach and free birani!
Some things never change (though I hope they would). Life goes on!