Atmosphere: the PM and the “backbenchers” corner the opposition
Thierry Laurent
Wed 05/15/2024 – 11:00

On Tuesday May 14, 2024, the members of the government, whether the “backbenchers” or the Prime Minister, were decidedly determined to make life difficult for the opposition which, week after week, is more and more decimated within the hemicycle…

Week after week, the ranks of the parliamentary opposition are dwindling, marked by the expulsion of several of their members since the start of parliamentary work on March 26. Thus, in the absence of several figures well known for their fierce opposition to the government, such as Rajesh Bhagwan, Paul Bérenger, Joanna Bérenger and Patrick Assirvaden, the opposition finds itself in an even weaker numerical position.

Especially since she is faced with a government determined to weaken its adversaries. Members of the government, particularly the “backbenchers”, intensified their campaign against the opposition by revealing its past affairs, such as that relating to the importation of Subutex in 2008 and involving Cindy Legallant, who is said to be close to MP Richard Duval.

It was first a lonely Shakeel Mohamed who found himself facing the Prime Minister, Pravind Jugnauth. Since March 26, the opposition leader had found an ally in the person of Patrick Assirvaden, with whom he worked closely during the Private Notice Questions (PNQ). However, the latter's suspension for six weeks, following disputes over the integrity of the parliamentary question draws, left Shakeel Mohamed alone in the arena.

In the government camp, eyes were also turned to Yogida Sawmynaden, deputy for constituency no. 8 (Moka/Quartier-Militaire). Although Shakeel Mohamed's PNQ concerning the investigation into the assassination of the former agent of the Militant Socialist Movement, Soopramanien Kistnen, was addressed to Pravind Jugnauth, the former Minister of Commerce was also in the viewfinder due to his proximity with the deceased. Thus, it was a Yogida Sawmynaden with a tense and closed face who was sitting at the back of the National Assembly, attentively following the exchanges between the leader of the opposition and Pravind Jugnauth.

During the PNQ, Shakeel Mohamed adopted his usual style, calm and collected, as in previous sessions, refusing to be disturbed by the Prime Minister's remarks. However, despite his efforts to maintain his composure, there were signs of agitation within the opposition leader. Faced with Pravind Jugnauth's detailed answers, Shakeel Mohamed showed some signs of impatience, sometimes shaking his watch to indicate that time was running out.

Safes affair

Facing him, the Prime Minister displayed a disconcerting relaxation. The Leader of the Opposition stayed the course with his supplementary questions. Pravind Jugnauth so confident that he even allowed himself to refocus the debate on the safes of Labor Party leader Navin Ramgoolam, while throwing barbs at Paul Bérenger, leader of the Mauritian Militant Movement (MMM).

The head of government thus indicated to Shakeel Mohamed that he was in a bad position to talk about the fight against corruption, while Navin Ramgoolam was arrested after the discovery of the sum of Rs 220 million in his safes. “Even the leader of the MMM, Paul Bérenger, said he did not know that next to where he lives there was a safe with Rs 220 million,” he quipped.

Pravind Jugnauth also highlighted that the sum of 3 million US dollars in new banknotes had been discovered in Navin Ramgoolam's safe. “He claimed it was his per diems, but everyone knows that you can get the per diem money from a local bank and not from a foreign bank,” he stressed.

Although Shakeel Mohamed tried to remain calm, he could not hold back. He raised his voice against the Prime Minister. “Stop fantasizing,” he shouted, reminding him that he was wasting the National Assembly’s time. Observing the tone of the opposition leader, the Speaker immediately intervened by saying “quiet” five times.

Pravind Jugnauth, visibly determined not to leave the opposition leader behind, even asked the Speaker to grant him additional time to respond more exhaustively. “Give me extra time,” he asked. At the conclusion of the PNQ, the Prime Minister even referred to the late Yousuf Mohamed, the late father of the opposition leader.

“I agree with his late father ki mo pa kav fer mirak. » The last word went to Pravind Jugnauth, because just afterwards, Sooroojdev Phokeer decided to close the session, to the great astonishment of Shakeel Mohamed, who, with a disappointed look, said: “Really! »

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