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Consolidating democratic governance in the SADC Region: Mauritius
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Mauritius is considered one of the best-governed, most stable and prosperous African countries. This paper provides an overview of the country, outlining the current economic situation, major political milestones and the Mauritian stance on its regional and international obligations. Its government has managed the economy soundly, with relative fiscal transparency and good provision of social services. It has upheld the rule of law, exhibited tolerance of opposition parties, and enshrined fair electoral procedures, with regular alternation of power. The judiciary is independent, parliamentary politics are vigorous and human rights are upheld. The study, although less comprehensive both in terms of topics covered and in methodological instruments used, allows for the evaluation of the country’s evolution and progress.
This study was conducted at a time when Mauritius was going through a transition and while it was facing considerable challenges to the sustainability of its growth, and its economic and social development. The study found that:
Most institutions, such as the legislature, the executive, the judiciary and the electoral process are in place and performing well.
Disparities in access to financial resources exist between urban and rural local government institutions, and there are gender issues concerning representation at municipal and district council levels.
There are some constraints to ensure proper political representation and accountability, such as the under-representation of women in parliament, due to flaws in the internal governance of political parties.
The opposition parties are relatively weak and institutional effectiveness has declined in the last decade, reducing the capacity of the state to tackle challenges of the day.
Civil society engagement is only visible during electoral periods and other civil society organisations do not really engage with policymaking.
The report makes the following recommendations for the consolidation of Mauritian democracy:
There is need to reform the First-Past-The-Post electoral system.
The question of women’s under-representation in parliament has to be addressed.
Internal party democracy must be promoted.
The democratisation of the economy must be addressed by the government and the corporate sector to ensure equality of opportunity in employment.
There is need for the reform of the public sector institutions to ensure their improved effectiveness.
Law enforcement agencies should be given adequate training to fight the culture of corruption that is pervasive in Mauritian society.
For a general report on the SACD democratic governance assessment project, click here.