This What is happening today strangely reminds us of things that happened in other times. The allegations by the ex-CEO of Mauritius Telecom against the Prime Minister and the speed at which these allegations were taken up by dwindling politicians, journalists, professional destabilizers and members of the public takes us back 44 years. The fire of the newspaper offices The Mauritian in January 1978 and the allegations against the police and then government by a certain Jean-Paul Sheik Hossen, picked up by Paul Bérenger’s MMM inside and outside Parliament, plunge us back into a dark case of conspiracy. Sheikh Hossen Syndrome has afflicted some and the disease – the operation “zet labou” – is spreading.
Jean-Paul Sheik Hossen, a young journalist who was later recognized as “Factory owner, liar and psychopath”, accused members of special branchthis will be the State Security Service (currently the National Security Service), arson. In that year, 1978, the secretary general of the MMM, Paul Bérenger, to whom Jean-Paul Sheik Hossen had allegedly made “revelations”, threw himself headlong into the thesis of a fire caused by the secret police and by the way the government. He leads the charge against Sir Seewoosagur Ramgoolam’s government and speaks of conspiracy.
In Parliament he even had a famous statement from Paul Bérenger to the Prime Minister, Sir Seewoosagur Ramgoolam: “I swear on my son’s head that this arson was the work of the government…”. In 1978 the MMM was (already) not doing well. The Mallows were losing MPs eager to join the Labor Party ranks and Paul Bérenger thought he could find a way to destabilize the SSR government and stop the bleeding within his own ranks. However, after several months of investigation, the judge who presided over the Judiciary Commission presented his report. Jean-Paul Sheik Hossen’s allegations against the police are unproven, the accuser fabricated the story told to the MMM and swallowed by its leader.
What are we seeing today? It’s a remake of the Sheikh Hossen case. We take all the allegations Sherry Singh makes against the Prime Minister at face value. Without asking too many questions, Pravind Jugnauth’s adversaries plunge into the gold-threaded story deftly woven by MT’s ex-CEO. Their disappointment with the government blinds them and deafness to appeals to common sense from people who use their heads to think. Because the Sherry Singh bubble will eventually burst like that of the “psychopath” Sheikh Hossen.
We’re already seeing some people – who are not notoriously not Pravind Jugnauth fans – coming out publicly to question the whole story being sold to us by Sherry Singh and his team. Balkrishna Kaunhye, not to quote him, focuses his observations on the ties that would unite Sherry Singh and device maker Huawei. We know all the evil many countries think of the Chinese telecoms giant, which has been accused of espionage, “snooping” and dubious practices that threaten the internal security of these nations.
In Mauritius, more than 65% of MT equipment is Chinese technology. Safe City is almost entirely equipped by Huawei. Let’s ask ourselves the right questions again. What kind of large multinational are these people recently hired by MT (without hiring notification), some of them during lockdown, and placed in strategic positions? Why some of these new recruits got promoted and hired “supplyable business premises” only two or three months ago?
Why were employees who had made careers at MT suddenly relegated to junior positions or simply fired to make room for newcomers who had direct access to Sherry Singh? Why was MT’s staff pushed out of “major projects” as sensitive in favor of former executives of the large multinational? Have we already been spied on and “snooped on” without us knowing it? Who authorized all this?
The Prime Minister has the right to take whatever action he deems appropriate to ensure the security of the country, its people and the state. If the Prime Minister believes that security has been breached, he has the right to investigate and conduct studies. What would Sherry Singh have to hide that he doesn’t want the government and the public to know? Would he have committed actual high treason?
By throwing the word “sniff” at the populace like a piece of bone and dragging the prime minister into his accusations, is he hoping to save his skin? Could he have felt the investigators breathing down his neck? Because, once again, let’s not forget the geopolitical context. India and China are fighting for influence in the region. In this case, we have only just seen the tip of the iceberg. Our opposition politicians and all who drink to the words of Sherry Singh would benefit from remembering the Sheikh Hossen affair and its impact on the credibility of those who give too much credence to the delusion of a “gorgeous and psychopath”.
CEO of Wazaa FM and Inside News
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