Ram Seegobin, one of LALIT’s leading members, gave a mise-au-point, not originally planned for the press conference held on 1 October. This was in order to correct an error that had slipped into an article in the press earlier in the week.
He said that, as the Press is aware, LALIT has since 1983 run a passive resistance struggle against the auto-classification required of candidates so as to match all the elected ones later with the supposed classification of the entire population, keeping supposed proportions “correct” ex post facto. Our campaign took many forms, including drawing lots for what “community” to fill in on the Nomination Paper, to prevent it being rejected. He said that the campaign had always been a success in drawing attention to the communalism in the best loser system, and in building national-level support for doing away with it politically. In 2000, when politician and barrister Yousouf Mohamed challenged LALIT members in the Supreme Court for drawing lots for our candidates’ “community”, we had a victory. The Supreme Court said that the Best Loser System was no longer a workable. He said it was not possible for the Supreme Court to classify people, as the Constitution called upon it to do, in cases of litigation. He said that the Executive would have to introduce Legislation into Parliament, as part of electoral reform already planned. LALIT then boycotted the Albie Sachs Commission because the MMM, in Government then, had given a written “brief” on the side to NOT touch the Best Loser System.
Since then, Ram Seegobin said, there has been the series of Court Cases for the right to stand without filling in a community on the Nomination Paper, but without doing away with the Best Loser System. This was never LALIT’s struggle. We want the Best Loser done away with altogether, and communal classification, done away with in South Africa in 1994, done away with here, too, not just for candidates, but for elections, and for the whole of the people.
The “mini-Amendment” to the Constitution, cobbled together to respect the UN judgement that classification cannot be compulsory unless there is a more recent census, does not remove the Best Loser System. It is still intact. Untouched. The only change is that a candidate can classify himself or herself as a “conscientious objector”, a fifth community. Should someone in category number 5 be elected, then the communal classification of the 2014-15 elections will be discarded and an average of the past elections used! It is utterly ridiculous. In addition, to prevent the BLS having the exact opposite effect it was designed to have, he said, a mini-amendment had to be brought to the “mini-Amendment”. This is a botched job of a Constitutional Amendment. It is, in addition, temporary, and falls away after the nominations for the coming elections. Back we are, he said, to square one. And everything depends upon the arrogance of the PT-MMM who have a plan only if they win the elections with a three-quarter majority!
And, in fact, the PT-MMM leaders have announced that all their candidates will classify themselves, business as usual. Aneerood Jugnauth in his recent press conference said, Ram Seegobin excused the register of the language used as he was making a direct quote, “Nu ki kuyon!” So, possible Pravind Jugnauth will not classify himself, but the others probably all will.
This brought Ram Seegobin to LALIT’s choices for the coming elections, given that we are aligning candidates, and given that the communal BLS is still in operation. It would be absurd for us to quietly not put down a community as if there had been a victory, when the Best Loser continues as usual, and when even the amendment allowing this is temporary. LALIT then had two other choices, either to draw lots for one of the four communities still specified for the allocation of Best Loser Seats. Or to draw lots for one of five, exposing the “nil category” for what it, in fact, is: a “fifth community”. We are heading for the second choice, he said. As usual, we will accompany our Nomination Papers with an undertaking that in case of nomination, under any of the five headings, we will not be considered for Best Loser Seats.
Other LALIT members present for LALIT were Rada Kistnasamy, Roland Boussac, Rajni Lallah, Laval Yves, Kisna Kistnasamy, Anne-Marie Joly, Shabeela Kalla, Lindsey Collen, Martine Mavisa. Alain Ah-Vee is in the Seychelles for a conference on the mother tongue. Press present included MBC TV, Radio-Plus, Top-FM, ION News, 24 Heures Info, Le Mauricien, Le Defi.