Interview: Dhanesh Maraye & Nita Juddoo

Candidates Dhanesh Maraye (PMSD) and Nita Juddoo (MMM) are brimming with future-looking ideas for the good not only of their constituency but also for the country

In view of the forthcoming by-election in the Quatre Bornes constituency, we have interviewed two prospective candidates, Dhanesh Maraye and Nita Juddoo. They are both professionals in their own fields, and are at an age when they have gained a good amount of life and work experience which they feel they can put to use for the improvement of the quality of life of the citizens. As these interviews show, they are very optimistic and are brimming with future-looking ideas for the good not only of their constituency but also for the overall development and governance concerns of the country.


MMM Candidate Nita Juddoo:
“Every election is a challenge… there is no vote bank”

‘No one should be left out. This is my idea of politics, my ‘ideology’

Nita Juddoo is a professional with an international background and a successful record of accomplishments in diverse fields.

After completing her secondary education at the Lycée Moliere in Paris, she obtained Diplomas in Marketing, Public Relations and Advertising in London, followed by LLB Honours from the University of Wolverhampton, and an Immigration Consultant Diploma from Canada. She is due to graduate with a Master’s in Translation from the University of Portsmouth (DL) in 2018.

Her work experience includes editing news at the MBC, lecturing to professionals in the field of Marketing and Public Relations and working as an executive for an advertising agency in Mauritius. She spent seven years in the Seychelles as PA to the CEO of the Tourism Board, and later translated and edited the government website of the Seychelles Tourism Marketing Board. Next she went to Canada for nearly 8 years, and worked at companies such as Loblaws and Nestle Canada.

 


Mauritius Times: It’s said that being a politician is just not something an average person in this country thinks about when they have more pressing problems to deal with in their respective lives. So what brings you to politics?

Nita Juddoo: Precisely… because the average person is expecting someone else to advocate on his behalf, that begs the call for some of us to take up the challenge and leave our comfort zone to do something as opposed to being a mere spectator. The call is within us and the timing is determined by the heightened willingness to bring about change. I always knew if I joined active politics it would be demanding and for the long term… so I gave priority to the family and career and joined at a time when I felt I could totally commit myself.

* You must be surely aware of the risks involved: the dirt slinging matches, the loss of privacy, the difficulty to climb the ranks… Isn’t the comfort and security of a professional career a better proposition than the turbulent and nasty world of politics?

Politics is a very noble cause. It provides the opportunity to make change possible and realise the dreams of many by being able to craft policies and engineer long-lasting changes. However it is indeed marred by narrow thinking opponents and a very small number of people who criticize a lot while resting in the comfort of their armchairs. I know of politicians who throughout their career have never chosen to strike below the belt. Since day one I have stayed away from personal attacks and cheap shots. I believe you can only be respected if you show respect to others.

* One would logically not forego the benefits and privileges of a hassle-free professional life, relatively speaking, if only for a one-shot candidature in a by-election; we presume you must have been assured of an electoral ticket for the next general elections. Right?

Conviction and passion are more long-lasting that electoral turns. There are so many ways you can contribute and it applies to all of us in our daily commitment to our own work. This said, the MMM was born in 1969 and general elections were held in 1976. The future candidates did not know where they would stand let alone being elected and becoming Ministers. I consider it an honour to have been chosen to represent the Party in this forthcoming by-election and I am doing my level best to be elected and thus improve the chances of the MMM at the next general elections. It is premature to expect any “reward”, and as for the ticket it should be left to the Party leaders to decide.

* What do your interactions so far with the party leadership and with the other cadres inform you about the workings of the party and about how conflicting interests within the party and other ideological/economic issues are reconciled?

Although it is an environment which is highly “political”, issues are not always politicized but rather rationalized and harmonized to find the most appropriate way forward. The MMM is a well-structured party: the regional committee at local level; the assembly of delegates; the central committee and the Politburo. A party consists of individuals – opinions differ — and conflicting interests should be reconciled within the party. The party leadership is very open to suggestions but one should adhere to the party line/programme. The party has evolved over the years – rightly so as we live in a dynamic environment – and ideological issues have become less pertinent except for the extreme left.

* It requires quite an effort initially from new adherents to balance party loyalty and its ideological line against their own convictions. How are you doing on that score?

Of course no one can pretend to have identical views on all and everything and this is where diversity plays an important role to lead to better and informed decisions. This said, it helps when your set of values are along the same lines as the party’s.

* Is there any particular ideology that you subscribe too? Or do you think that ideology is now dead?

Ideology is not the great divide today. We stand for social and economic justice within a democratic system. The cleavage between left and right has faded. Our programme/manifesto should aim at the welfare of the population – every policy should be population-centred. In the process of development, no one should be left out. This is my idea of politics, my “ideology” … and as far as I know it does not clash with the one chosen by my party. I subscribe to an ideology that dictates that after nearly 50 years of independence, we need to create a more equitable society, where employees are paid fairly, where women are really empowered, where the youth is given every opportunity to develop its potential and where the elderly can live a decent retirement within a public health system that is caring.

* Although known to be more accommodating towards politicians, Belle Rose-Quatre Bornes is reputed to be a “difficult” constituency, and the party which wins a majority in this constituency usually wins the general elections. This makes the challenge even greater for you as well, isn’t it?

 Every election is a challenge… there is no vote bank. The people of Belle Rose-QuatreBornes are welcoming this opportunity given to them to express the feeling of the entire nation and provide the right signalling effect to the rest of the country. For me the challenge will be with both the by-election and the general election.

* One recent adherent to the MMM adamantly stated: « En cas d’alliance pré-électorale, je claque la porte ». Do you also have the same issue with this question of pre-electoral alliances? Or do you think the party leadership knows best?

I am a nouvelle adhérente, and my task is to rally our supporters and thousands of disenchanted people who voted for l’Alliance Lepep at the last election. This is my main focus for the time being. This said I do believe that our chances of being successful in this endeavour would be greater if we do it alone.

* It is quite likely the Metro Express, which Roshi Bhadain said is what prompted his resignation, will take a back seat during the by-election campaign. What’s really preoccupying the minds of the inhabitants in No. 18 these days?

The by-election has been triggered by the resignation of an MP on an issue which rests mainly with the general trend of opacity and lack of accountability prevailing within major infrastructural projects currently being undertaken – in such a speedy and frenzied manner and defying the basic rules of due process and the need to even explain to the public how their money is being spent. The people I have met over the last months are indeed concerned by the confusion and chaos regarding the implementation of same. However, for years now they have been complaining about other things as well: the inability of the authorities to tackle the problem of law and order; the decaying infrastructure of public buildings; the poor state of public utilities services such as sewerage, street lighting, maintenance of roads, garbage collection done on an ad hoc basis; lack of decent recreational facilities especially in under-privileged areas; traffic congestion throughout the town, to name but a few.

Is there really a feeling of exasperation amongst the electorate about the doings of the present government as well as impatience to see the governing team give way to a new team – as some political analysts would want us to believe?

I do not think you need to be a political analyst to see the writing on the wall. Nepotism, corruption, scandal, a total mistrust in key institutions, sheer arrogance are some of the reasons leading to this feeling of exasperation. The desire for change is obvious.

* What are going to be your priorities if elected?

Respecting our promises made during the campaign; keeping in touch with the inhabitants ; relaying their grievances to the right authorities and escalating cross-cutting issues relating to the social environment in Parliament; fostering a much greater sense of “interdependability”, and working hard on re-establishing mutual trust with the people.

 



 

 

PMSD Candidate Dhanesh Maraye:
I’m here to stay”

‘People want practical solutions and politicians who are clean, credible and who can bring results’

42-year old Dhanesh Maraye, father of two children, is a lecturer and consultant in Finance and Investment. He was a student of St Esprit College Quatre Bornes where he lives, and holds the qualifications of ACCA and Master in Finance from London. He has worked in finance in an international bank in London and also as a management accountant.

He is a staunch believer in education and training as basic necessities which should be accessed by all young people, hence his running of Career Guidance sessions. He has initiated the project Bouzé Zenes with a small team with the objective of getting the youth to be more active socially, which he believes will be an engine of development for the country. He wants to help in creating the conducive environment so that dissatisfied Mauritians aspiring to leave the country instead find their future prospects here. In support of this cause, he feels that politicians should give priority to the national interest and not their own in the first place.


Mauritius Times: It’s said that being a politician is just not something an average person in this country thinks about when they have more pressing problems to deal with in their respective lives. So what brings you to politics?

Dhanesh Maraye: After fifty years of independence, Mauritius is at crossroads. We cannot carry on doing things the same way that we have done in the past – some of the things that worked well for our country in the 1970s, 80s and 90s no longer work today. Our institutions are in urgent need of modernization to meet the aspiration of the new generations. This reminds me of Napoleon who once said “the world suffers not because of violence of bad people but because of the silence of good people.” I have joined politics because I do not want to be among the good people who are suffering in silence. People are suffering because of the absence of meritocracy.

Today, like so many Mauritians, we cannot see ourselves building our future here and this is such a shame. Mauritius is our country after all and we have to strive to make it a better place. This is why I am engaging myself to serve Quatre Bornes and the country.

* You must be surely aware of the risks involved: the dirt slinging matches, the loss of privacy, the difficulty to climb the ranks… Isn’t the comfort and security of a professional career a better proposition than the turbulent and nasty world of politics?

I am fully aware of those risks. However, we take the highest risk when we remain silent, when we become complacent. This comfort zone of a nice salary, a nice car, a nice house and regular holidays is an illusion. Just making noise on Facebook and radio will not help if we see our country and society going in the wrong direction. This complacency has led to a slow but sure degradation of our society and its public institutions. We have to be bold and engage ourselves, pull up our sleeves, work harder to make Mauritius a better place for us and our children. Only creative leadership in all institutions of our country can ensure sustainable development where the overall quality can be enhanced.

* One would logically not forego the benefits and privileges of a hassle-free professional life, relatively speaking, if only for a one-shot candidature in a by-election; we presume you must have been assured of an electoral ticket for the next general elections. Right?

Politics is a social pledge which I have solemnly taken when embarking in this perilous “long walk to freedom” in the interest of my country. In short, I’m here to stay.

* What do your interactions so far with the party leadership and with the other cadres inform you about the workings of the party, and about how conflicting interests within the party and other ideological/economic issues are reconciled?

The party works as a big family and I like the camaraderie that reigns. But Xavier is a hard-worker and ensures that everyone in the party delivers the goods. There will always be conflicts, as in any family, but we are all focused on the same aims and objectives and this ensures that conflicts are resolved promptly. After all, Xavier has very good leadership skills and this keeps us as one team.

* It requires quite an effort initially from new adherents to balance party loyalty and its ideological line against their own convictions. How are you doing on that score?

This is of course a natural process. I must say, however, that I see myself in the values that the PMSD defends – fight for meritocracy, national unity, integrity of our institutions, protection of our environment and moving towards a high income sustainable economy.

* Is there any particular ideology that you subscribe too? Or do you think that ideology is now dead?

Ideology is far from dead as we must all have ideals. Integrity is the backbone of progress. But fruitless fights between left and right will not bring progress. People want practical solutions and politicians who are clean, credible and who can bring results. My ideal, if I had to pick one, would be to ensure that any social and economic development has the interest of the human being and nature at its heart.

* Although known to be more accommodating towards politicians, Belle Rose-Quatre Bornes is reputed to be a “difficult” constituency, and the party which wins a majority in this constituency usually wins the general elections. This makes the challenge even greater for you as well, isn’t it?

I welcome the fact that people of the constituency are not satisfied with empty slogans but rather want substance – they want to know the candidate well, his intentions and his readiness to serve the town and the country. This makes the campaign more interesting for me.

In the last three general elections, Xavier emerged as the uncontested choice of Belle Rose-Quatre Bornes. This is a clear indication that his contribution to the development of the constituency is well appreciated.

* Xavier Duval has publicly staked his claim to be Mauritius’ next Prime Minister. That makes the by-election in Belle Rose-Quatre Bornes (where a significant number of PMSD supporters are known to reside) even much greater, for on your shoulders rest Duval’s prospects of ever becoming Prime Minister. What’s your take on that?

If we look at the strength of current political leaders today – Xavier, Navin, Pravind and Paul – it is clear that Xavier is the only one that can deliver the goods. He is a professional, a good administrator and he treasures the pillars on which our country and its Constitution are built.

The PMSD has been going from strength to strength in the last few years and there are two factors that make it stand out and that gives it legitimacy to take power – one, it has a team that demonstrates competence and two, today it really represents the whole Mauritian population from all four corners of our island – and also Rodrigues; it is truly a national party. I firmly believe that any Mauritian of integrity who has the interest of our country at heart must legitimately be eligible for prime ministership of our country. This is much in line with the principle of meritocracy.

* It is quite likely the Metro Express, which Roshi Bhadain said is what prompted his resignation, will take a back seat during the by-election campaign. What’s really preoccupying the minds of the inhabitants in No. 18 these days?

In Quatre Bornes, like elsewhere in the country, people want politicians who represent the interest of the public and not the interest of small groups closely connected to the ruling party. Inhabitants of Belle Rose- Quatre Bornes, and Mauritians in general, want to see things being done differently – they want a Government they trust, they want less corruption, they want more meritocracy, they want less communalism, they want more quality jobs, they want a cleaner environment and, above all, they want to be able to build a brighter future for generations to come.

There are some issues specific to Quatre Bornes that have to be tackled, for example security and traffic management. But let us not forget that all efforts must be made to keep Quatre Bornes as a model for the entire island.

* Is there really a feeling of exasperation amongst the electorate about the doings of the present government as well as impatience to see the governing team give way to a new team – as some political analysts would want us to believe?

Of course and there are valid reasons.

First, we do not have a Prime Minister that we have elected – did we vote for Pravind Jugnauth in 2014?

Second, one of the main partners that was voted to form the government is no longer in the team and is now in the opposition.

Hence, this government does not have any legitimacy. Let us remember that the government is also not sticking to the promises it made in its electoral manifesto regarding the Freedom of Information Act, Metro Leger, interaction with socio-cultural organisations and the biometric ID card – just to mention some examples.

When we see the number of scandals and the lack of vision of this government, it is clear that the reputation of our country has taken a bad blow, investment is lacking and jobs are therefore disappearing. It is clear that this government is working for the few and not the many. Power has to go back to the people.

* What are going to be your priorities if elected?

Once elected, first and foremost it will be to reflect the voice of the inhabitants of Belle Rose-Quatre Bornes in Parliament. The constituency will have two representatives at the National Assembly and the opposition will be strengthened. Then also to ensure that the mood of the country is resonates in parliament.

Quatre Bornes is already one of the best towns in Mauritius to live in; but there is always scope for improvement. Security has to be enhanced by more quality cameras, effective street lighting, proximity policing and also engagement of citizens in organisations like neighbourhood watch.

The high volume of vehicle traffic crossing Quatre Bornes creates problems like air and noise pollution but also increases the risk of accidents. Incidentally, there is also a lot of time wasted sitting in traffic – this has a negative impact on work productivity. Therefore, we need to find solutions for better traffic management in our town.

This will be my small contribution to make our town and our country a better place to live in, to work, to do business and to visit.

 

 

*  Published in print edition on 27 October 2017

Add a Comment

Your email address will not be published.

Solution by Web Vision Ltd