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Ousting of Mubarak, Panday

Thursday, March 10, 2011

In the last few weeks, international attention has been focused on the latest developments in the Middle East, in particular Egypt, Bahrain, Libya, and other states affected by an uprising of the people. The situation began it appears in Egypt and spread like wildfire to other states. Major uprisings, demonstrations and protests have spread to the Middle East and North Africa from Tunisia. To date Algeria, Bahrain, Egypt, Iran, Jordan, Libya, Morocco and Yemen have all seen major protests, and minor incidents have occurred in Iraq, Kuwait, Mauritania, Oman, Saudi Arabia, Somalia, Sudan and Syria. In Egypt the focus was on then President Hosni Mubarak. After weeks of protest in Cairo and other Egyptian cities, Hosni Mubarak stepped down as President of Egypt. The news was greeted with a huge outburst of joy and celebration by thousands in Cairo’s Tahrir Square—the heart of the demonstrations. Mr Mubarak ruled for more than 30 years, suppressing dissent and protest, and jailing opponents.“The people have brought down the regime,” they chanted in reaction to the news of his eventual resignation less than 24 hours later. “The people of Egypt have spoken, their voices have been heard,” Mr Obama, President of the United States of America, said and predicted: “Egypt will never be the same again.”

UK Prime Minister David Cameron said this was a “really precious moment of opportunity to have a government that can bring the people together,” and called for a “move to civilian and democratic rule.”
Mr Cameron was the first western world leader to visit the new Egypt and identify with the new regime.
For more than 30 years, Hosni Mubarak was accountable only to himself and his family and close supporters. The Egyptians are now seeking financial accountability and are demanding that his assets across the world be frozen. Kaulilya in his historic work known as the Arthshastra, published during the period 321-296 BC, talks about ways of embezzlement by public figures. There are about 40 ways of embezzlement: “What is realised earlier is entered later on; what is realised later is entered earlier; what ought to be realised is not realised, what is hard to realise is shown as realised; what is collected is shown as not collected; what is collected in part is entered as collected in full; what is collected in full is shown as collected in part; what is collected is of one sort, while what is entered is of another sort; what is realised from one source is shown as realised from another; what is payable is not paid; what is not payable is not paid, not paid in time; paid untimely.”

Kaulilya continues: “Small gifts made large gifts, large gifts made small gifts, what is gifted is one sort while what is entered is of another, the real done is one while the person entered (in the register) as done is another, what has been taken into the treasury is removed while what has not been credited to it is shown as credited; raw materials that are not paid for are entered, while those that are paid for are not entered; an aggregate is scattered; commodities of greater value are bartered for those of small value; what is of smaller value is bartered for one of greater value; price of commodities enhanced.” In Trinidad and Tobago we also experienced a similar historic political ousting of sorts some months ago, On January 24, 2010, when the political leadership of the United National Congress (UNC) was wrested away from the dominance of Basdeo Panday, the people’s revolution had begun. Our politics assume a less violent form but the substance of the issues remain very much the same.Panday, after having an iron grip over the political constituency he inherited from Bhadase Sagan Maraj, was removed as political leader of the UNC.

Panday departed with little grace and his continued attack on the Government now controlled by his former party only underscores that Panday is a bitter politician. The UNC on January 24, 2010, had a new lease on life and despite the attempts by what’s left of the Panday faction, the voice of the people was finally heard.
What was important to the majority of UNC members was that the old Panday regime was legitimately removed by party elections. Essentially this was the exact sentiment by those thousands of people in the streets of Cario who wanted to see the back of Hosni Mubarak.In T&T the UNC steered away from the Egypt-type revolution towards evolution on a course of managed changed under the leadership of Kamla Persad-Bissessar and fresh new political faces not obligated to Basdeo Panday.This change saw people demand their rights to be responded to in a very clear, unambiguous way by the party, and then a process of national dialogue that led to the changes that the people seek. However, it is clear that will take time. It is unlikely to be done overnight but we are seeing the growth process as the time of the changing is slowly taking place within the UNC as it evolves post Panday.

n Satnarayan Maharaj is the
secretary general of the
Sanatan Dharma Maha Sabha


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