Unity in Diversity?

canstockphoto0582286Election fever time in Mauritius. Various spheres of the Mauritius population are preparing for upcoming elections. At the time of writing no date has been announced but speculation is that it could be sometime at end of  2014.

There have been some surprising turns in the Mauritius political scene lately. In short and without boring the reader with local politics, two old parties who were traditionally opponents have formed an alliance. A surprising and controversial scenario for the members of those parties. Members of both sides have now joined in what seems to be a marriage of convenience. Many of these old political enemies have had to forgive and forget or are on orders from their leaders to shake hands and get on with it. If this twosome gets elected it will be interesting to see if indeed the power-sharing contract will hold and not end-up in divorce.

Other political parties suddenly found themselves just a bit vulnerable or out in the cold. Feeling fragile some others also got together and formed an alliance of their own to counter the block formation. So, here, you now have a threesome marriage of convenience to compete against the powerful first group at the next elections.

The result is that there are two major block formations. This has left the electorate in the country somewhat puzzled and lost. What to do, whom to vote for? If they were used to voting for specific parties they are now faced with voting for blocks with some who hold politically different views. Many are now confused and to add to the uncertainty one alliance is rallying membership around a slogan without presenting a program.

The uncertainty in the electorate is now clear. Calls are being voiced by sociocultural associations who are demanding specific ethnic representations within one or other alliance. This is evidence enough of the electorate perception of unease at the representations being distributed in these alliances. Nothing is clear-cut any-more. These calls by electorate representatives from sociocultural groups are a step backwards. A step backwards in the sense that Mauritius is trying to promote a national identity rather than continuing with the ethnic division of the population. The idea being that any elected Mauritian should be able to represent any and all compartments of society regardless of his/her ethnicity. This “Mauricianisme” ideal, as it is known locally,  seems to always take a kick in the shin at election fever time. One still has to ask; when is a Mauritian a Mauritian? The answer at the moment is when he/she is abroad.

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