Protest march of Saturday on 29th August 2020 in Port-Louis, with support marches in Rodrigues, Perth, Toronto, Geneva and other places.
Even the organizers were surprised by the response and the size of the crowd, their fervour and dedication.
It was a truly civic assembly and protest, with no affiliation to ANY political party, and NONE of the methods of political parties used (such as fleet of special route buses, briani at the end, money distributed, etc ). No red, blue, mauve, orange or yellow flags, ONLY the quadricolore Mauritian flag!
A truly non-partisan citizen action by which the Mauritian population proved what they can do. This is a major contribution to our democracy in action. ALL political parties and Governments must now face the fact that misgovernment, inaction, delayed action or wrong action in the face of a national problem will have them facing such mobilization, demands for explanation, correction or leve pake aller!
In short the PM and Government CANNOT ignore, deny or (as was the case in Government reaction to the huge effort of volunteers to fight the oil-spill) minimize and denigrate such actions. “One protester held a banner with a dolphin covered in oil reading “our lives matter” and another held one calling for the government to resign”. A Mauritian environmental scientist, said: “We do not trust the government and the diluted information they’ve been feeding us” (The Guardian, 29. 8.2020).
MBC in the Kreol news of 7 pm and French news of 7.30 on 29.8.2020 covered surplus of eggs, relocation of dolphins etc BUT NOT A WORD ON THE 100,000 + CITIZENS protest march of this afternoon. A major error by the Minister of Information and by MBC directorate.
Huge corrective actions are called for by PM Pravind and his Government for good governance, equity and meritocracy. In the recent cases of nepotism in nominations: the country belongs to us all NOT just to the favoured nou bann or whatever you call them. In the thoughtless/ voluntary over-spending during the first wave of COVID 19 (which was otherwise very well handled). And especially in the lack of preparedness and prompt action vis-a-vis a wreck on our reefs (pumping the oil and surrounding the Wakashio with booms from Day 2 would have certainly avoided the oil-spill) AND the questions as to WHY 12 days were lost in inaction!
Government must take corrective and preventive actions and guarantee good governance. That does not necessarily mean resigning. The Prime Minister must show 100% willingness in words and action (and indeed in communication via our only TV channel, the MBC) THAT THE MESSAGE HAS BEEN RECEIVED.
Dr Michael ATCHIA
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