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Post-Colonial State in Severe Crisis

18.07.2015

The Lalyans Lepep was voted in massively by the people 7 months ago, and was again plebiscited 120-0 in the recent Municipals. This means the Labour Party was chucked out, along with its major historical challenger, the MMM. Twice in 7 months.


But, as the MSM and its allies are learning, the Legislature is, under capitalism, a weak institution. It is fragile and thus kuyoner. And it is not “the State” at all. The “permanent State” is still there, solidly in Labour Party control, beyond the reach of the electorate. The bit of the executive that emanates from the Legislature might seem almighty, but not so.


 All the fragile logic of “bourgeois democracy” fails under even a relatively minor challenge, like Lalyans Lepep’s, which does not intend to change the nature of the State, but to change just the party and individuals who run it. For the kind of change that people may have wanted when they voted Lalyans Lepep so massively, they would have needed much more mobilization than a few rallies, and this mobilization would need to be behind a conscious political program, not just a list of 12 measures and an empty slogan “Vire, Mam!”.


 Lalyans Lepep tries to wrest power


The Lalyans Lepep is having difficulty cleaning the Aegean Stables left by Labour, but it cannot just do as it pleases without, itself, becoming a menace. It is clear that the verdict and sentence against Prime Minister-in-waiting, Pravind Jugnauth, has caused the medium-term political strategy of the Lalyans Lepep to be totally destabilized. Should Soodhun be found guilty, it will be even more destabilizing.


 However, if the executive wants to get rid of the DPP, who has, in general, in LALIT’s opinion, been a democratizing influence on the post of DPP, it must follow the Constitution (Section 93) and not just use State repression. The executive cannot just put the DPP under the Attorney General to try to provoke his resignation. Nor can it, failing this, take him to Court, raking up past misdeeds. Nor, when he seeks judicial protection, nail him for “false affidavit” when it is not at all clear who is telling lies, anyway.


 On this particular crisis, LALIT calls on Aneerood Jugnauth to institute a Tribunal under the Constitution if he believes that Satyajit Boolell acted wrongly over the Sun Tan rental issue, and abide by the decision of the Tribunal, or to hold his peace.


 Changes for the good can be brought about by rallying people behind a proper political program, in particular one that creates appropriate jobs, massively, not by wresting power by bureaucratic and repressive means, or getting people locked up.


 This said, it is also important that we do not all forget the narrative of the politico-judicial reality that is still happening as a result of past Ramgoolam use of the permanent State, in particular of the CCID and the ICAC against the MSM.


 Ramgoolam was up to his neck in the racket of trying to get political opponents locked up.


 Political backdrop


We must remember that Navin Ramgoolam is still Leader of Labour despite his being investigated: for conspiracy around hiding a mistress, for Rs 200,000,000 in currency including serially-numbered 100 dollar bills, for 4% commissions to his mistress around licensing airport businesses, and for the Betamax contract scandal. His continued leadership of Labour is outrageous. Arvin Boolell’s attempt to get him to stand down, led to nothing except Navin Ramgoolam setting a band of bouncers on him. The Labour Party has well-nigh totally discredited itself. Changing the subject won’t help.


 And we must remember that during Ramgoolam’s reign Shawkutally Soodhun was charged by the DPP for “Publishing False News” because he said something to someone in the parking lot of a Clinic.  The justification for such prosecution was never, to our knowledge, made clear in public. Firstly, telling one person something in a parking lot is hardly “publishing” it or diffusing it, but is merely telling a lie. Lying is, with reason, not against the Criminal Code. Secondly, how did the DPP or the public, know that it was Soodhun lying, and not the other guys? Soodhun, now Vice Prime Minister, is thus in a precarious position politically, because of a dodgy prosecution against him. He is no angel, but not being an angel is also, like lying, fortunately not against the Criminal Code.


 During Ramgoolam’s reign, Pravind Jugnauth was arrested many times, and also prosecuted. He was prosecuted, and has been found guilty, not for being involved in choosing to buy Medpoint, in which his sister has shares, not for being involved in fixing the value of the Clinic, but because he signed, as Minister of Finance, for the re-allocation of funds to buy the Clinic. Either POCA, under which Pravind Jugnauth was prosecuted, is making an “ass” of the law by locking people up on technicalities, or the judges believe that an accused can be guilty of an offense carrying a prison sentence without mens rea, a “guilty mind”, and despite the fact that the judges themselves admit he had bent over backwards to avoid being in a situation of conflict of interest. The fact that Pravind Jugnauth has publicly said he is on bad terms with the relatives concerned is obviously irrelevant, except that the law once again makes an ass of itself when others favour mistresses, with whom they are on good terms, without falling foul of the law because they are not “family”.


 When there are severe institutional crises in the bourgeois State, like this one, it is an occasion for working people to mobilize for more democratic control over the State. But, it can also be a time of great dangers, in terms of provoking severe repression.


Lindsey Collen


for LALIT, 17 July, 2015