LALIT leading member Ram Seegobin today described the Political Financing Bill as “converting the Electoral Supervisory Commission into a Gestapo for the regime to control political parties”. He added that, “This would soon come to signify control of opposition parties.”
With its new year-in and year-out control, he said, the Electoral Supervisory Commission would no longer be charged solely with organizing, running and supervising elections, as its name signifies. It will, if the Bill is voted, become a State bureaucracy designed to maintain a rigid control over parties, via its new role as a kind of permanent “Registrar”. He said soon this control by the State will become control by the regime in power. Nominations, he added, will become politically partisan. To give an indication of this, he said that, as a precursor to the Bill, Pravind Jugnauth had, even before his Bill was introduced into the National Assembly, already made his first partisan nomination. He named his personal attorney, Ammanah Ragavoodoo, on to the ESC. Before this partisan nomination, there had been the possibility of nominating someone even closer to the Jugnauths, Sharmila Sona Ori.
“Now, the Bill will convert the ESC quite fast into a dangerous “Registrar of political parties” with enormous powers to harass opposition parties,” he said. “This is why I refer to what it will become as a Gestapo.”
To make matters worse, Ram Seegobin said, “unlike the laws on registering Associations and Trade unions, this Bill makes no mention of any democratic oversight by members within parties.” He said that the Bill just imposes a complete executive committee and auditors on a party that is assumed to be autocratic. This means there is no recognition of the best of past democratic traditions and structures within parties – Labour in its hey-day had creative democratic structures, and the MMM for its first 10 or so years had excellent democratic structures – ones on which LALIT’s structures are still based.
“The Bill,” Ram Seegobin said, “corresponds to the autocratic nature of the Jugnauth’s MSM party, with bureaucratic control by the State as an add-on.”
LALIT has called, in individual letters addressed to the leaders of all opposition parties in the National Assembly, for the Bill to be opposed, and in particular for the blocking of the three-quarter majority required for the concomitant Constitutional Amendment. The letter has been sent to Opposition Leader, Xavier Duval, MMM leader Paul Berenger, Labour Parliamentary leader, Arvin Boolell, and MP leader Alan Ganoo. The two independent MPs, Danielle Selvon and Kavi Ramano have also been sent letters. The MSM-ML do not have a 3/4 majority in the National Assembly, and will need some Opposition votes to push through the enabling Constitutional Amendment. This Amendment is necessary for the Political Financing Bill to be operative.
3 July, 2019