Mauritius may be a tourist oasis with white palm beaches and green mountains. But the election campaign for the parliamentary elections on Thursday was anything but idyllic. It has been clouded by unprecedented allegations of disinformation and fake social media messages produced on all sides.
Former Mauritian Prime Minister Navinchandra Ramgoolam, 72, leader of the Labor Party and the opposition coalition of the National Alliance, has publicly claimed that the current Prime Minister, Pravind Kumar Jugnauth, hired an Israeli IT company to obtain social media accounts from opposition candidates to hack.  In a public interview broadcast on Defimedia on September 27, Ramgoolam said:
" The election campaign will be the subject of video clips prepared by Israelis. fake news to influence a maximum of people. Money talks. "
Jugnauth's people have sent back that Ramgoolam is hardly the one who hurls mud, as he is "used to lies and manipulations," as he has 3 million and 110 million rupees in his safe and found four suitcases during a police search four years ago.
" Asked about the source of this money, Navin Ramgoolam declares to a complaining press that there is no precise question as to the source of this fortune. From savings on … foreign travel during his long tenure as Prime Minister," a mockery Anonymous officer in Jugnauth's election team.
" Of course, it's not about bribes or bribes," the officer adds sarcastically.
British media reported in 2015 that the Mauritian government had asked the British anti-corruption unit to initiate investigations against Ramgoolam is a registered doctor in London, where he drives a Rolls-Royce.
The Mauritian police reportedly investigated allegations that he or his employees had secured corrupt money and received sums from business, including the purchase of six Airbus aircraft by the national airline Foreigners who wanted to settle on the island in the Indian Ocean stated sources of government on the island.
His followers at the time claimed that political enemies made claims to prevent a political comeback by engaging him for years in harmful law enforcement actions.
Prime Minister, three-time election winner and chairman of his political party for more than two decades, denied any wrongdoing and said that the money – Jugnauth's official reported Daily Maverick that the real "false news" emerged on October 7, 2019, when Hassenjee Ruhomally, a computer A scientist from near Ramgoolam criticized the deactivation of his Facebook account and the impossibility to create a new account. He was quoted in the local newspaper Sunday Times as saying, "It is the Mauritius government that is behind this malice."
Jugnauth's official said Ruhomally and his wife are "well known to the Mauritian police." Cybercrime Division. "
Jugnauth's husband found it "odd" that Ruhomally, who earned his doctorate at American Stanford University in "IP Configuration for Broadband and Satellite Communications, Specialty for Security Systems" and allegedly for Mozilla Corporation had worked. Facebook, Google and the local Mauriweb Network Services Limited had condemned the deactivation of his Facebook account through the media, without technically checking the claim.
The Jugnauth official also noted that the local newspaper Express.mu had reported in October that Xavier had Luc Duval, a candidate for Ramgoolam's National Alliance also claims "his Facebook account has been hacked".
The newspaper had asked – without questioning –
" Is this an attempt to muzzle Internet users? Is an Israeli firm working to support the government in this process, as the National Alliance announces? "
The same article states that access to the site of lawyer Shakeel Mohamed, also near Ramgoolam and a high-ranking member of the Labor Party, was possible a few hours later.
" The Mauritian government is accused of requesting an Israeli team present in Mauritius to disable the profiles, hack profiles, seek messengers, in short, what would play Big Brother or worse," the Jugnauth said -Man to Daily Maverick . "Everything without proof."
He also presented a grimmer interpretation of the suspicion in a country with a significant Muslim population that the allegations of Ramgoolam's party that Israelis are conspiring with the ruling party are such have anti-Semitic political purpose.
The allegations and counter-assertions of political hacking and other cybercrime date back to a time when Facebook has just abolished hundreds of fake accounts related to Russia, which had tried to break into the democratic Processes of intervening eight African countries – Madagascar, Sudan, Libya, Central African Republic, Mozambique, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Ivory Coast and Cameroon.
Almost a million voters are registered for Thursday's elections for 62 seats in parliament. Mauritius follows a Westminster-style electoral system in which voters directly elect MEPs, who in turn elect the Prime Minister and the Prime Minister.
Apart from the hacking allegations, the elections were also marked by charges of nepotism. Jugnauth will, for the first time, try to obtain a popular mandate two years after his resignation from his father Anerood Jugnauth.
Jugnauth junior rejected the opposition's demand to call for a new mandate in 2017. The opposition said that succeeding his fatherless suffrage is basically a nepotism problem.
Ramgoolam picked up this point to call on voters to "liberate the country from the grip of the Jugnauth clan." Ironically, perhaps, since his own father, Seewoosagar, ruled for 14 years as prime minister between the 1960s and 1980s.
In these elections, Jugnauth leads both the Militant Socialist Movement (MSM) party and the center-right Alliance in Moris while another former prime minister, Paul Berenger, with his Mauritanian militants Movement against the electoral solo fights.
Berenger has more plausibly denounced the "papa-piti" policy (father to son) of his two opponents and also accused Jugnauth of chairing the rampant corruption.
Jugnauth defended his government balance sheet mainly for economic reasons, pointing to an economic growth of 38% in 2018 and the imminent unveiling of a light rail network.
Jugnauth has also introduced a minimum wage, about 215 euros a month, higher pensions for the elderly and reformed labor laws. Ramgoolam has promised to increase pension benefits more than the incumbent, and he hopes to win over 220,000 elderly voters, according to media reports.
Despite the word "militant" in the name of Jugnauth and Berenger's political party All Mauritian parties pursue a fairly conservative economic policy.
Once an agricultural country, it has become one of Africa's two or three richest countries in terms of GDP per capita, initially based on tourism, but more so recently to successfully position itself as a tax haven for Africa and the world.
This has provoked growing criticism among his African counterparts as so-called "illicit financial flows" from African countries – including huge tax losses due to such offshore tax havens – have become a growing political issue. DM
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