A local portal in Mauritius accused an Israeli firm of influencing the general elections scheduled for November 7 in the tiny Indian Ocean republic.
Reports on hotly contested elections give the ruling coalition under Prime Minister Pravind Jugnath the loser, but all will be decided at the ballot boxes.
Jugnauth’s MSM-ML has however rejected claims it roped-in the services of Israel or is under any Israeli influence, let alone their interference in the polls.
Instead, in his own old habit, Jugnauth Jr threw the ropes on a PTR (Labour Party) hotshot, Shakeel Mohamed. Denying his government’s links with the Jewish state, the embattled PM says the PTR member has links with Israel.
Indeed the accusation against Mohamed is unfounded but the portal Zinfos-Moris, in a report yesterday says hackers from Israel are interfering in the elections.
The portal sarcastically writes that all contacts with Israel are equivalent to a ‘fatwa’ for political ‘lapidation’ or stoning in Mauritius.
REAL NAVIN GATE
According to Navin Ramgoolam, the leader of the PTR, Jugnauth has roped in the services of the Israelis to produce video clips on him.
News portals in Mauritius mentioned the publication of ‘deep fake’ videos involving Mr Ramgoolam.
However, the videos on ‘Navin Gate’ clearly shows the latter at a private dancing party and in the company of women. Navin lost this fight, the videos are real.
While these were not deep fake, the point remains what are the Israelis really doing in Mauritius?
Nevertheless, the story about Israeli involvement in Mauritius started last year when WFTV was tipped of their bidding in the country. We will get back to this below.
Meanwhile, Monde Afrique, an African based portal on Oct 26, reported the opposition saying Israel is a sponsor of Jugnauth who has links with Mossad.
The game plan is the Muslim vote. Muslims forms almost 18% of the electorate and their votes are tightly contested by the major political formations.
There is also a tiny version of Hizbollah in Mauritius contesting the elections, the Front Solidarite Mauricien of Cehl Meeah.
A source informed WFTV in 2017 an Israeli firm was in a bid to win contracts from the Central Electricity Board in Mauritius.
It turned out the Israeli company ECI Telecom Ltd won a contract from the Ministry of Energy and Public Utilities to provide fibre-optics for broadband.
We do not know if it is linked to the Sherrygate, though.
According to Lalit, ECI Telecom Ltd is no ordinary company. It works closely with the Israeli military.
“It is often a partner of the Israel Defense Force. In 2009, ECI Telecom was even rewarded by Israeli Defense Minister for its support to the military. ECI Telecom cynically markets its products as having been “battle-proven” in a real armed conflict situation – referring thus in its “sales jargon” to the bombing of Gaza,” writes Lalit.
Our source in Port Louis brought out attention to the silence of New Delhi in the elections.
Israel and India have deep connections today, certainly after the Americans became the best buddies of New Delhi.
India voted with Israel on a Palestinian issue. A first indeed for the former champion of the now toothless Non-Aligned Movement. India voted against giving a Palestinian NGO the observer status.
From 1950 when Jawaharlal Nehru recognised Israel, there were no Israel embassy in India until 1992. But there was an Israeli consulate in Bombay prior to 1992.
Indian PM Narasimha Rao initiated the move to establish full diplomatic relations with Israel, breaking away from the Nehru-era policies. Israel then established an Embassy in New Delhi.
But New Delhi is eerily silent in the elections in Mauritius. Modi did not make it to Port Louis for the inauguration of the tramway or LRT. He declined to officiate at the Indentured Labourers day.
He did not send any delegation altogether, which would have lent support that India is closer to Jugnauth than other politicians.
A clever move from Narendra Modi, but one that is telling us the Indian PM does not have this close relation with Pravind.
Or New Delhi is keeping the doors open to greet anybody who wins in the elections.
While the electoral seasons in both India and Israel coincided for most of the spring, one thing was certain. There was a growing bond between Modi and Israeli PM Netanyahu.
During the recent Israeli elections, Modi became an indirect actor in Netanyahu’s electoral strategy by appearing in campaign posters.
Modi also has regular meetings with Netanyahu. This marked a strong departure from not publicly broadcasting the growing bilateral ties between the two countries.
POWER PLAY IN PORT LOUIS?
While Modi has refused to show his face for the elections in Mauritius, perhaps he gave the Israelis the dubious role of supporting the MSM-ML.
After all, the MSM-ML granted an Israeli firm a significant contract in the Internet industry in Mauritius.
Israeli firms are surely eager to bid for more because the hunger cannot be quenched with one contract.
And the fact that Jugnauth’s government seems to be throwing money out the window, why not more contract for Israeli firms?
Whether Israel is the little boy from Modi supporting Jugnauth or not, the point is they are now, here!
We believe reconducting Jugnauth to power means the reinforcement of business ties between Mauritius and Israel. And India will stand to gain in these business deals!