Thugocracy has mushroomed from the decay of capitalism and comprises mainly of a triad of corrupt politicians, businessmen and the executive, managing the affairs of the state. Behind the pretence of law & governance, lies a whole dark world which influences our present and defines our future.
As early as 2015, the writings of a forthcoming capture of the state were on the wall. But, justified hate for the outgoing government and blind faith in the honeymooning “lalians lepep’s” mesmerizing discourse, had blurred the minds of many. Today, waking up to reality, Mauritians are gradually discovering the utter filth beneath the gloss of the Jugnauth led government.
The purge of 2015 with the spectacular arrest of former prime minister and the brutal expropriation of BAI , sent shivers down the spine of many, setting the backdrop for the rule of fear ahead. Having ploughed the island, the seeds of hegemony were sown early 2016, with positioning of stooges at strategic positions within the state. Private companies willing to survive were forced to bow down and swear dogged allegiance to the ruling tribe. The awe expressed upon discovering the massive frauds in allocation of contracts during the COVID-19 pandemic is an unflinching indicator of the population’s naiveness about the bloody backstage of power. Back in 2016, the CEO of a listed company stated in private “We have replaced corruption by extortion”.
2017 – in at least five of his public speeches, the country’s most informed person, responsible for home affairs, defence and prime ministership affirmed loudly “ The mafia has taken over our institutions”. Exceptional moments of truth from a person described as a pathological liar. Four years down the line, with the stench spreading beyond our shores, the very same prime minister shows pride when referring to these unchanged institutions.
While the Jugnauth government brags about numerous laws passed to promote governance & justice, the international community has repeatedly been pointing at absence of action from public institutions. More particularly, enforcement agencies, churned into coercive institutional mechanisms as to serve an autocrat reliant on, “tribalism”, ethnic exclusivity, religious extremism and social divide. The most prominent institution, instrumental in instilling fear and nurturing the rot has been the Mauritius Police Force (MPF).
The unprecedented blatant display of political partisanship coupled with astounding incompetence has resulted in breaching public trust. Today, many perceive the Police as being “goondas” ( Thugs) readily fulfilling the whims and fancies of their political masters. A perception to some extent unfair, given the majority of our police force consists of dedicated, but helpless public officials.
The malaise within Police force is deeply rooted with real issues too great a taboo to be discussed. After more than 50 years of independence, many still consider caste as an eligibility criteria for the post of commissioner. Right from the gates of Line Barracks, which remind us of the damning evidence against Raj Dayal, to the revelations of former Head of Customs , Bert Cunningham on extra judicial killings ( Assisted Suicide), the millions stashed in lockers of MCIT and the seized drugs which miraculously disappear from police custody, the pong is undeniable.
The daily stories share ditto resemblance to the scripts of those bollywood thrillers, where “Hafta” ( protection money) is paid to police. While some surely dismiss such claims as being a fallacy, would other enforcement agencies investigate the wealth accumulated by former and current top brass? Will they dare to look into the cash purchases effected by these officers? Here is a lead. How about starting with the millions paid to car dealers? Who would bother to check the latest iPhones solicited from retail stores and delivered to mistresses? Or would ICAC check the bank accounts of their children studying abroad? Or how the properties owned abroad have been paid? Obviously it would be hard to dig into the free weekly booze, unpaid lavish parties and complimentary hotel stay which is now, a common fad.
The hierarchy which has been quick to forget the brutal killing of brave WPC Dimple Raghoo has much to hide. They remain tight-lipped on the numerous cases of harassment and offences committed within their own department. While the nexus between Police and Drug syndicate is often dismissed as fictitious, the fact remains, many of the drug lords themselves hail from the police force. The recent footages, where thick thugs escorted in their vile act, while free minded people are accused of political dissent and treated with excessive zeal is a clear condition of thugocracy. Abuse of ICT laws to coerce citizens and gag freedom of expression is an accurate symptom of the disease. Matters are even worse when officers openly participate in political activities of the ruling party or post messages on social media in support of their leader. Back in 2012, the United Kingdom introduced a compulsory “Oath of Impartiality” on officers as to ensure operational independence of the police. Given the level of gangrene, copying the initiative would be certainly futile.
As implied earlier, the Police is only one of the cogs of the machinery, with its dominant piston being the government . Over the last 5 years, the entire system which should be maintaining the rule of law has been constantly engaged in its subversion. The billions injected from proceeds of crime is running an economy of its own and will offer unlimited resources to ensure the hegemony of the triad.
While the longevity of the government will depend on the grit of our people, we can be assured, one day, we will have our very own “ Zondo commission “ which will look into the mechanism of state capture and all crimes committed during this period. Only then will our countrymen discover the atrocities committed on the altar of power.