In 2017, Mauritius should have celebrated the 35th anniversary of the massive revolt in the 1982 elections. But the MMM was in opposition and the MSM, a splinter from the MMM, was in power.
The MSM did not dare claim the 1982 victory as theirs. Sir Aneerood Jugnauth was the leader of the MMM-PSD alliance that defeated the Labour and the PMSD in those elections.
It was the first and the most memorable 60-0 in the history of Mauritius.
But after 37 years, this struggle is a bit forgotten perhaps because the people have short memory or they want something else?
FROM 1968 TO 2020
A week is too long in politics and in this case we are talking of 37 years, a very long span.
But there are things in common in all revolutions. We will find the links and study them briefly here.
Mauritius is one of the few countries where a political revolution succeeded in overthrowing a regime by democratic means.
The norm is almost always a coup or something that dethrones the unwanted government.
But Mauritius then taught the world it is possible to use the democratic standards and the democratic process to achieve the aim.
For many, Mauritius is too small to give a lesson to the world. They are short sighted. My generation, though I was not part of the 1982 onslaught, showed we could!
37 years ago to date, the country lived through a historical moment. June 1982: The MMM, headed by Aneerood Jugnauth and Paul Berenger, won the elections.
They had one ally, Harish Boodhoo who formed the PSM, a break-away wing from the Labour Party.
This weakened the Labour and helped the MMM-PSM wrestle a bigger vote pie. Without the PSM, the results would have been in favour of the MMM, but perhaps not at 60-0.
THE MMM’S REVOLUTION
The MMM brought with it a revolution. It was the revolution of minds. The sleepy Island of Mauritius were not to be the same again after the almost solo march of Paul Berenger against the Vietnam war.
Soon after, he formed the MMM. The party revolutionised the way politics is done in Mauritius.
It gathered steam with many youth joining its ranks, but it did not close its doors to the elderly generations.
Along the way, it recruited Aneerood Jugnauth and the latter imposed himself as the most probable candidate for Prime Minister.
While the rest is history, the point is the revolutionary process of the MMM was a calculated one.
It was planned sanely with the insanity of the revolutionaries calmed by Jugnauth and other people who did not want a massive revolt on the streets.
Most of the hot-headed revolutionaries left the party, formed their own movements and broke away from the MMM.
This gave the MMM a different allure, one that will get it to conquer hearts and win votes.
The 1976 elections was a massive shock for the Mauritians in general. Though some people in the cities were already claiming victory for the MMM, the villages were still within the grasp of the Labour Party.
But the MMM did so well across the board that it became the biggest single opposition in the country. Failing to win in 1976 was just a stepping stone to the 1982 massacre at the polls.
SEL SOLUTION REVOLUTION
Now we are facing with the dilemma of the current government losing the battle against an unknown group of activists.
Bruneau Laurette is not the new Paul Berenger. He is a different political animal and he is more aggressive and gritty.
He wants quick results and the multi-racial crowd gathering around him every time he goes down the coaltar is his most powerful tool.
His movement does not have the same strategy like the MMM had, because it does not care about race barriers etc.
It believes in the power of the people ala-Nelson Mandela or the fateful Steve Biko. But yet again, Bruneau Laurette is not yet there.
He is not Paul, he is not Steve, he is not Nelson. He is, as of now, the simple average Joe who is angry against the ruling coalition.
He is an environment activist to start with, some say, and has little knowledge of the political game.
Using the power of the people and the Mandela-fist up in the air, he believes he can dethrone the powerful Pravind Jugnauth.
But his movement should not forget the pain and agony that the MMM and Berenger went through to achieve the 1982 victory.
There was beating on the streets, deaths and jail. The Ene Sel Solution La Revolution movement has not seen anything yet.
However, we believe that the people power behind them will give them so much confidence that they will be tempted to do the impossible. The people are the actual unsung heroes of this fight.
And this may lead them to mistakes that will be difficult to erase.
They need to learn from the hardcore, and if they believe that is not necessary, then we might see a mighty battle coming soon between the authorities or the government and the street fighters!