The general elections have been announced for 7 November 2019. I believe many of our non-Mauritian friends will experience this event for the first time. Every country has its own habits and folklore. Let’s browse through some of them, so you are not caught by surprise.
While the cyber-island has progressed into the digital era, the on- the-ground display of colors is still a very popular game, most favored among supporters … and some hooligans. There’s no use crying your environmental-friendly-despair over painted trees, plastic buntings, covered road traffic signals and so on. Do not expect elegant, modern and ‘clean’ communication methods in general. Remember, we’ve inherited a lot from Africa and India. So we still keep those vibes.
Very often, you’ll see improvised ‘bases’ where agents from a precise political party have erected and elected a camp. These places are meant for; local campaign organization, team building and also serves as general meeting point. These places also help good husbands find happy escape from home to meet-up with friends, eat / drink and play some board games – with the most honorable excuse of ‘serving the party’ or ultimately ‘ serving the country’. Some music is not unusual too. It’s generally not a good idea to complain against any form of disturbance emanating from such camps.
The political system of Mauritius is not complicated (well nothing is really complicated here). Don’t look for democrats, republicans, left wing, right wing, chicken wing… or anything of that sort. The system generally limited to two groups (several parties allied together) fighting for the country’s control. There’s no specific ideology attached to any group, it’s all about their achievements, proposals and popularity. Basically, you can relate that to a soccer or rugby match. some are die-hard fans, others have some more sense and analyse the track record ,the team/ competence, and the proposals.
Expect to see rallies down the road every now and then. You can either take some distraction out of it, or enjoy some louder music in your car – if you’re blocked in this traffic. Don’t bite your nails or get frustrated. Same for meetings. What we call ‘meeting’s over here is the campaign speeches, led by orators- usually on a lorry or improvised stage. Speakers with bold tones, shouting and advocating a great sense of patriotism, a willingness to ‘serve’ the country – and crowd clapping or playing the djembes. Most of the crowd people are here to escape monotony – for once something is happening on the island. Here again, expect roadblocks, diversion and unnecessary traffic jams. No, we are not hosting any such events in a conference room or indoor premises; visibility Is the key to popularity. So everything is in the open air ; on roads; major intersections most of the time.
Like in any interesting football or rugby match, there would be some clashes among partisans. A small fight, here and there, but nothing more. No curfews or major riots. Well it do get serious sometimes, but calms down very quickly. ,
The counting day is another folkloric thing not to be missed. The radio audience reaches its highest peaks. The country is at halt, almost breathless. The match results are announced gradually and usually stretches over the day to keep people in the rhythm. Better than a cricket watch. If you’re running a business, join your employees or put the radio on at workplace, you’ll win hearts. Once counting is over and results announced, there’ll be fireworks, rallies and a final ‘thanksgiving’ meeting by the winning party.
All this done, we all get back to work. The next day is a relatively normal day, except for newly appointed ministers and new government officials. There’s no drastic change in life to be expected, business as usual.
Enjoy, with lots of sega music !