Politics, n: [Poly “many” + tics “blood-sucking parasites”] – Larry Hardiman

Watching the parliamentary debates always provides a good avenue for comic relief for me personally, as I listen to the extent to which MPs can stoop to launch into personal attacks on their opponents, more often than not, resorting to the pettiest tactics such as mudslinging, name-calling and character assassination.

I still recall arguments that sound as if they were being formulated by a complete brain dead and idiotic person: “Oh, the previous minister of finance was a complete moron and spent [x] million rupees on renovating his office/buying a ridiculously expensive car. So I can legitimately and logically use the same amount of money to buy me the latest Aston Martin and install a Jacuzzi in my office bathroom.”

Electoral campaigns are fertile ground for politicians to stoop even lower, as they conduct themselves like prostitutes, begging for votes, making false promises and even using state and institutional apparatuses to further their political agenda. This behaviour sickens me, and this is putting it very mildly.

Sometimes, I fall into despair when I open the newspapers or browse the online Mauritian news websites. An accusatory comment, a dig at their opponents, an action which borders on plain racism and communalism, and even nonsensical jabber about the personal life of another fellow politician: everyday brings its dose of stupidity and utter absurdity on the part of our dear politicians.

And it is even more alarming that the new breed of politicians, supposedly young, intelligent and smart people, are following in the footsteps of the those of the previous generation. Some young people nowadays even fake sincerity, try to show that they work for a selfless cause, and generally behave like messiahs of peace, hope and social transformation, when everyone knows that they are only putting up false pretences.

You can only fake sincerity and dedication to a cause up to a certain extent. When the ugly mask of deception shall be cast off, then people will recognize the hidden agenda, pettiness, and selfishness that lie behind the ever-smiling but hypocritical faces of aspiring politicians.

I however refuse to wallow in despondency and despair. Despite the existence of this ugly breed of politicians, we also have had the chance of having hard working and selfless MPs who always have the future and wellbeing of their constituents and constituencies at heart. Also, the young breed of politicians also boasts of a handful of genuinely committed and sincere leaders, who will no doubt make our country proud.

It is hoped that the present youth leaders who aspire to serve the country and its people, will adhere to this simple rule put forward by one of the most respected stateswomen in the world, Hillary Rodham Clinton, who said that “the difference between a politician and a statesman is that a politician thinks about the next election while the statesman think about the next generation.”

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