‘In conversation with Shabana Raman’ – Interview in MAURITIUS NOW (October 2012)
The Ralliement Citoyen pour la Patrie (RCP) is a new political party that was launched on the 22nd August 2012.
The RCP consists of Mauritians, from all around the world, who feel an attachment for their homeland (la patrie) and who believe in bringing forth certain democratic values to make the country progress, such as: ethics, unity, meritocracy and eradication of ethnic division amongst others. The RCP consists of a strategic team and a federal team. The party advocates participative democracy and endeavours to empower people to bring about change in each constituency of the country. The President of the RCP is Parvez Dookhy and the Secretary General is Shabana Raman. Yannick Cornet is the Vice-President and Ahmed Doba as the second Vice President. Rajeev Gunput leads the economic team. Murvyn Calambi leads the Tourism sector while Priscilla Sambadoo is our spokesperson. Raj Mootoosamy looks after our social issues. The federation of each constituency is led by someone who is appointed by the strategic team.
1.So, tell us a little bit about the Club des Militants and how the party the (Ralliement Citoyen Pour la Patrie) came about….?
Club des militants was born last year in October 2011 when there were talks of the ‘remake 2000’ between the MMM and the MSM. Most die-hard militants of the MMM were brushing the whole thing off and they had faith that their ‘leader’ will not associate the party with a party that was allegedly linked to the Medpoint saga (the ‘scandal of the century’ Paul Berenger called it). The ‘remake of 2000’ happened and the RCP was born in August 2012 amidst flirts between the MMM and the Labour party. We realised that there was a real vacuum of ideas and debates in the political arena of Mauritius. By then, we had rallied enough support which indicated that the country was ready for a change. The RCP offers to re-build the nation democratically. We need a country which is self-sustainable, a place where we can all live in harmony without any ethnic divisions and a country where we are all Mauritians with equal rights. We cannot watch the state’s money being swindled by a few powerful individuals today and watch our children pay for it tomorrow.
2. Do you consider the Ralliement Citoyen Pour la Patrie (RCP) to be a real grassroots movement party especially with your social networking influence?
A real grassroots movement is one that understands the people. One that connects with the people. The RCP has just been established and we have been touring the island to observe the reality and gravity of certain issues. The gap between the rich and the poor is getting bigger and nothing much is being done about it. Both the government and the opposition are more interested in spending tax payers’ money to compile reports on reports on electoral reforms, while there are thousands of unemployed people, without proper housing or healthcare. People are finding it hard to buy groceries and pay their bills. Consequently, crime rate is on the rise. Through social media, we try to bring to people the real pictures of our society. There are Mauritians worldwide who are interested in their country’s wellbeing. Through debates and ideas, we come up with proposals. As well as being present on the ground, the concept of ‘global village’ is more powerful than a ‘militant koltar’ these days.
3. How would you describe the ideological outlook of the RCP?
The Ralliement Citoyen Pour La Patrie is a party for the PEOPLE by the PEOPLE. None of us have been born with a golden spoon in our mouth and we understand the trials and tribulations of the people. Our ideology is simple. We want a Mauritius where the fundamental values of democracy are respected, where there is no ethnic discrimination, and where we can all progress ethically. We are working on a many key issues such as economic stability, a fairer educational system, a more effective healthcare system, changes to improve the legal system and the development of further cultural centres around the island amongst others. All these will be part of our programme, which will be ready by early 2013.
4. You spent some time attending political meetings in Mauritius recently—what were your first-hand impression of the population there and their motivations?
The RCP has been created to continuously enlighten people and to work towards eradicating poverty in the country. Although, we have successfully proved to the world that we could perpetually transform a mono-crop economy into a diversified innovative-driven economy, coupled with tourism and financial services, there is a need for a renewal process as the reality in Mauritius is sometimes hard to assimilate. There is this other group of people who live very comfortably and who are closely linked to the elite of the country. These people have no qualms and why should they? Secondly, there is a majority of people who are happy with their 9-4 daily jobs and quiet weekends. They earn enough to keep their families happy and comfortable. The same people will go and vote for the traditional parties during the general elections and yet, they will also spend the next 5 years complaining about the same government they have elected. At the bottom of the ladder, you have the ones who are really suffering. There are children going to schools without having had a proper meal for weeks, children who have no shoes to wear, women who struggle to manage their households due to lack of money. These people are so tied up in their daily miseries that they are not really bothered about daily politics. As long as someone can give them some support, they are happy. It is high time for an awakening in Mauritius. The poor must be empowered!
5. What is the state of the RCP today, and what can we expect from you in the coming years?
Recently, in the Forum section of Le Mauricien, someone referred to us and wrote, ‘’Nouvelle force, oui. Nouvelle farce, non!’. The party is in the building phase, with the setting up of cross country federal units and point of contacts. The structure is slowly but surely taking shape. People are coming forward with ideas and extending their hands of help. We have already made many proposals regarding the 2012-13 budget, on renewable sources of energy, on our educational system and we proposed measures against economic crimes amongst others. We are now working in a few specific areas of the country to sensitise youngsters as well as adults on burning issues. Sometimes, putting complex issues into the laymen words make more sense. We hope to be present in the local and general elections so that we can bring an end to the bipolarisation of the political system of Mauritius.
6. And a message to the public who are reading this….?
Fellow patriots, please join us and help us make a difference. Whether you are in or out of the country, Mauritius remains your homeland. Our island is a Republic and not a monarchy. We must end the rule of a few clans and bring about true democracy for the sake of our children’s future.