LALIT has decided to publish two letters that represent rather succinctly two well-intentioned types of "call" that LALIT is hearing a lot. The first one (published below with our reply) is a call for an alliance of small parties (to face the two big alliances). The second one (also published on the web in a separate news article, with our reply) is a call for support for the Alliance Lepep by someone who, like many, is quite rightly concerned about the Labour-MMM proposal for Constitutional changes that will alter the kind of democracy we already have for the worse.
We would like to mention that there is also a third call, and that is to rally small parties, but where it is already visible that there will be another call later: to support Alliance Lepep. This third call is a hybrid of the two we are publishing.
Here are relevant extracts from the first letter LALIT is publishing:
“Dear Friends at LALIT,
“As it is, there is no hope any of the small parties can send an elected member to Parliament. You must regroup into an alliance, and LALIT is the best candidate to lead this alliance. Such an alliance will definitely be in the opposition, hence it does not need any common program or ideology. It is just that you are all travelling by the same bus to reach your destination. Each member of the alliance has its own goals.”
(Signed with name and address)
Thank you for your letter, in which you make your generous suggestion [to help with the “mathematics” of elections]. We discussed it yesterday, and appreciate your concern.
But, you know, from LALIT’s point of view, there is a difference between electoral politics (which is, in our opinion, more arithmetic than mathematics, and we quite understand where you are coming from!) and politics in general, which aims to change society, not just the faces in the National Assembly. So, for us being in an electoral campaign by putting up candidates is merely one part of an ongoing campaign to change society, and should not be deleterious to this ongoing work.
When it comes to serious political parties as we believe LALIT is, it is, in our opinion, often a disadvantage to add 1 + 1 because it does not make 2 as in straight arithmetic it does, but something heading for zero, if one of the “1”s has a bad reputation. May I add that LALIT has a lot of experience at grassroots level, and we have, for example, had an even worse experience. In 1987, LALIT made an alliance with Dev Ramano & Co (who were then in the Bizlall camp and still are), only to find that they were cheating. They finally worked hand-in-glove quite openly with one of the big alliances, the MMM-Union, and had all the Ramano candidates and even some Bizlall trade unionists came on MBC to call on people to vote for the MMM. This is amply recorded in the Press (you can put OMT-FNAS – their party’s name at the time – on our site www.lalitmauritius.org if you are interested). Luckily we broke the alliance off in time, warned as we were by one of their own members [about the “kanay”]!
On the other hand, LALIT has, through its ongoing political work, been a key factor in bringing about many changes in society – without a single MP. These include bringing back village elections, keeping old-age pensions universal, getting the abortion laws less repressive, getting Kreol into schools, keeping the Diego Garcia issue on the agenda over the years, getting the Government to suspend its relations with Israel – even if temporarily – to name one or two, in passing. So, to risk our reputation for a mere election, would be disastrous. And the risks are very high in an electoral Alliance. The MMM sold its soul in an Alliance in 1981, and has never recovered.
So, please give us in LALIT the credit for our experience in our field.
We should never, for example, risk losing our reputation or even our political coherence, through sloppily making alliances, in the hopes that we can put together some “vote banks”. In fact, we deplore the way the MMM and Labour consider human beings as “vote banks”, and we are not in politics for that kind of manipulation. We have a 64 page program, already in circulation. The other parties have not published theirs, in any case, yet – other than the 12-points that the Lepep Alliance has come up with in order to win people over – and they are just hoping people will forget that the last two Finance Ministers in Ramgoolam’s government are now in Lalyans Lepep, so could well have brought in these 12 measures!
I assure you we are not living up in the air, as you may fear, but with our feet firmly on the ground.
Signed ........................................ for LALIT