Can Kobita’s Soft Power Really Save Mauritius?February 22, 2021
Can Kobita Jugnauth’s use of soft power really save the people of Mauritius from her husband’s castle in the air?
The more so, can she, the wife of the Prime Minister delude herself from the Movement Socialist Militant’s pipe dream?
Either she is living in a dream-land or she is acting out of desperation. Perhaps she hopes a segment of the Mauritius population will give her unconditional support.
Mrs Kobita is playing the soft power. The good guy in the bad guy situation where the head honcho is giving the impression he is playing hardball.
But if the internet and social media networks are testimonies and chronicles of our time, the soft power game may backfire.
Some news sites and netizens are hard-hitting on the daughter-in-law of ‘Rambo’ the ex-PM of Mauritius.
Sir Aneerood Jugnauth did not get public support from his daughter-in-law. But the latter is coming out in favour of PM Pravind.
Some mainstream media is pumping her up with eulogies and praises. They say she is a woman juggling many functions, but if she does not get the support of the population, the plans will be useless.
The plan is simple. It is to save Pravind Jugnauth, the embattled Prime Minister who saw the resignation of two top MSM figures lately.
Minister of Commerce and Consumer Protection of Mauritius, Yogida Sawmynaden, stepped down from his position on Feb. 10.
The summoning to the Central Criminal Investigation Department (CCID) for questioning “under warning,” was the trigger.
The investigation follows a complaint by Shakuntala (Simla) Kistnen — the surviving widow of Soopramanien Kistnen who was murdered in mysterious circumstances.
Minister of Foreign Affairs was first to resign on Feb 6 citing deceptions in the party, the MSM.
He also resigned from the party and has launched a movement for change in the country.
Amid rumours of other members of his Cabinet walking with their resignation letters in their pockets, the pressure is building against the PM and the MSM.
The wife of the PM, according to some news portals, is carefully choosing her words and the events where she speaks.
Calling on the women folks of Mauritius as ‘sisters’ to come out and help to push the country forward or how the country is seeing the light in the COVID-19 tunnel are messages of hope.
She is slowly gaining the support of some segments of the population, for sure. Some are calling her the local Sonia Gandhi for some reason.
But Netizens are here to remind of her long silence and disregard of the well being of many Mauritians who went through hell under the rule of the MSM.
The MSM is the party of Pravind Jugnauth and it is in power since the 2014 elections.
The party and its allies registered a big win giving it sufficient seats to control a large majority in the Parliament in 2019.
However, the MSM and its allies under Pravind managed to garner only 37% of popular votes. This alone represents constant pressure on the regime.
COUNTER THE OPPONENTS
Nevertheless, detractors are saying Kobita is playing the political cards though there may be nothing new here.
Wives of politicians or vice-versa do have a role to play in nation-building and sometimes they do play politics to push their partner’s agenda.
According to Zinfo Moris, despite Kobita’s cold and distant nature, she is now a smiling lady who is campaigning all over the island.
Kobita’s courtesy visit to the High Commissioner of India in Mauritius, Mrs K. Nandini Singla also attracted comments and rumours.
The fact that Singla met with top political leaders was counter-balanced with Kobita’s visit to the Indian Consulate.
Her gradual engagement on the political scene could mean she is making her way into the government. Or she will soon hold an official position in the MSM.
If that is the case, it could be translated into an attempt by the party to plug the holes. Bring the wife of the PM could prevent a further exodus of party members.
Her reputation, they say, precedes her. She was known since 2014 as the ‘chief kitchen officer’ of a backdoor group of party tenors. Some say they are running the affairs of the country outside the Prime Minister’s Office.
But these are just rumours and the new Kobita is making waves both in the local news in Mauritius and among political parties in the opposition.
They are all questioning what is her game plan playing the soft power card?