Already a year since Pravind Jugnauth is serving as the Prime Minister of the Republic of Mauritius. It has been a year with full of ups and downs. His succession to power was not approved by many and faced severe criticism.
Nevertheless, for some observers, he has proven to be a good leader. For a better picture of this first year of Prime ministership, News on Sunday has asked five independent observers to do a SWOT (Strength, Weakness, Opportunities and Threat) Analysis. Here are the outcomes.
Politics - Lindsay Rivière : “A caring leader with a social agenda”
Political Observer Lindsay Rivière states that it has been a mixed bag of results for Pravind Jugnauth but the young leader has been able to accomplish some good work so far.
A Hard worker. Overall, he has worked hard, delivered his promises and shown a lot of energy as well as determination in achieving his target.”
Modern leader. Pravind Jugnauth clearly wants to establish his image as a modern leader who wants to take Mauritius into 21st Century. He wants to be seen as a reformist and a caring leader with a social agenda. His budget 2017-2018 was a testimony to his priorities. He has also established an image of a quiet achiever style because he knows that he lacks charisma, as compared to the other main political leaders.
Social agenda. Pravind Jugnauth has put in place some interesting social policies such as minimum wage. He has put much emphasis on housing, eliminating drugs and increase in purchasing power. He has known how to protect the weaker elements of our society. Besides, he is helping to compensate the image of heroes and others who work to bring results in economy and social policies.
Ambitious and focused. Pravind Jugnauth has always shown that he is someone who is focused. For instance in 2003 and 2014-2015, he had already proven it. As a Prime Minister also, he has a reasonably ambitious, down to earth attitude and is focused. He is doing his best to meet his targets.
Poor surrounding. Unfortunately, he is surrounded by a lacklustre of a team of ministers. He has lost PMSD’s support and ML is not contributing much. He is trying hard but he knows that as a single player, no matter how good he is, he cannot win a certain game without being supported by a performing team. He should be able to penalize any controversial element of his government with no fear at all.
Political struggle. It can be seen that his focus is more on the political struggle with the Labour Party than the economy. He is still behaving like a party leader in power, protecting his party colleagues every time a controversy erupts and he does not seem to be able to rise as a national statesman while the whole nation is watching a wave of scandals including his party members.
Lack of authority. Lack of forcefulness and authority in politics, especially in Mauritius, does not work. Mauritius needs strong leaders who can impose their will, style and policies. Pravind Jugnauth lacks these qualities because maybe he has been in the shadows so far. He needs to be an assertive leader. He is more of a Mr Nice Guy instead of Mr Tough Guy. National leaders should not be popular but they have to be respected and feared. Unfortunately, Pravind Jugnauth is not feared. That may come with time.
Majority in parliament. Pravind Jugnauth has lots of opportunities to prove himself given that he has the majority in Parliament. The Prime Minister has to recognise the fact that the nation is watching him and a lot of good things which he is personally achieving is compromised by the conduct or controversies of his immediate circle. When he pleases one party associates or group of sympathisers, Pravind Jugnauth forgets too often that one million people is watching and criticising him. One recent example includes the recent case of Etienne Sinatambou where Pravind Jugnauth lashed out against former President Cassam Uteem and supported Etienne Sinatambou. He has to work on the perception of his leadership as being somewhat weak.”
Work together with Private sector. Pravind Jugnauth needs to mobilise the private sector because we need strong maintainable growth which only the private investment can generate. There is need for him to emerge as a more forceful leader. Mr Nice Guy is not good enough. He has also to be perceived as Mr Tough Guy especially towards his own party associates. He should put his foot down, raise his voice, bang on the table and stop everyone from behaving pro-acting stupid. These next two years should be devoted to hard work and achieving results with a good 2018-2019 budget which lays emphasis on stimulating private investment and more FDI.
Revival of Labour. The Labour Party is clearly on the attack and will represent a very dangerous threat. A rise of Labour may trigger a lot of opportunistic disloyalties.
Slow growth. On the economic front, the growth is slow and fragile, as it is the government which is driving major large projects and the economic rate is growing only by decimals figures while we need numbers. We need to go from 4% to 7%.
Leadership - Dr Tulsidas Narraidoo : “He is on the right track but taking too much time”
Dr Tulsidas Narraidoo quotes the following: “Some are born great, others achieve greatness, some has greatness thrust upon them.” He states that the third part of the quote describes Pravind Jugnauth.
Calm and humble. The PM has been doing his level best and even his opponents can confirm he has been doing quite well. “He has not left any stone unturned. We must not forget that he is the first Prime Minister who visited the refugees during cyclonic weather.”
Education. It can be seen that the Prime Minister has been putting much emphasis on education. He has been devoting time to a friendly environment. He is leading by example and he walks the talk.
A good communicator. He is very good at communicating. He is not rude like others. He has been answering questions with patience.
Slow leader. We have observed that the Prime Minister has been slow at taking major decisions. For instance, he has been very hesitant to fire Soodun. He acts only under pressure. Besides, sometimes, he acts more like a representative of a constituency rather than as a Prime Minister.
Nominations. The Prime Minister has been giving too much consideration to his inner circle. This can be seen through the various nominations of chairpersons. As expected by many people, still no meritocracy is prevailing. People are still waiting for their dues.
Private sector. The PM needs to give more freedom to the private sector, as it is the real creator of wealth. It is important to build the future but not at the detriment of the present. We need to consolidate the present and we cannot be negligent.
Focus on other countries. The Prime Minister should not concentrate only on India. We have other friend countries like France, UK and China. We should give them their importance, too.
Perceived as a weak leader. It is time for Pravind Jugnauth to show that he is a good decision-maker. Till now he has not yet taken a big decision. He is seen as a weak leader. He has started to win the hearts of the people but he has not yet captured their minds. He is on the right track but he is taking too much time.
Trade union - Rashid Imrith : “His team is his biggest threat”
Trade Unionist Rashid Imrith explained that Pravind Jugnauth had a tough start but he eventually conquered the population with his various decisions.
A good observer and a good listener. Very few people know the fact that the Prime Minister is a very good observer and listener. He studies every situation with the closest details possible. You may be wrong if you think he does not listen. There have been various circumstances whereby trade unions have seen this skill of his during meetings.
Popular decisions. His popular decisions like minimum wage and Negative Income Tax have made him more popular. He participated in discussions and arrived at a conclusion whereby everyone was satisfied. He believes in mutual understanding.
His surrounding. The PM has already set his pace of work but unfortunately, his people are unable to follow his steps. He is performing his duties but people who work with him in the public sector are unable to keep pace. Some of his ministers are unable to follow his philosophies.
Over exposure. Unlike past leaders, Pravind Jugnauth is also being a victim of over-exposure by media. This can play against him in the long run.
Keeping a good image. Till now, he has been keeping a good image and if he continues in the same direction, it is to be at his own benefit. He should continue to be a man of work and be on the field.
His team. His biggest threat remains his team. He can be the best but without a strong team aiming for the same vision, he won’t be able to achieve his target. He needs to review his team and set new targets.
Communication - Christina Meetoo : “He has not been outrageous”
Christina Meetoo, Senior Lecturer in Media and Communication at the University of Mauritius, explains that communication has really changed with the increased use of technology. However, she argues that Pravind Jugnauth has been a very good communicator.
Diplomatic. Unlike other leaders, being a young leader, Pravind Jugnauth has been more diplomatic. He has been communicating well. He has not been outrageous unlike past leaders. He possesses a different rhetoric. His tone also is different. He is not rough.
Sarcastic. There have been times where he was witty and sarcastic. This has been perceived negatively.
A new team. The PMO has a communication team. There is a need for a communication strategy. Whatever worked previously does not necessarily mean the same can happen again. There should be good communication strategies. Why not use the different platforms to pass on messages?
Social Media. With social media platforms, information travels faster, so a single mistake can be costly to the image of the Prime Minister. With the circulation of information and videos, sharing of comments, it becomes difficult to communicate significantly. It is a big challenge to keep pace with.
Economy - Vishal Rughoobur : “There is a positive sign of economic recovery”
In his SWOT analysis, Economist Vishal Rughboor states that the Prime Minister, who is also the Finance Minister, has the challenge to be more innovative and focus on further diversification.
Positive signs. Under the leadership of Pravind Jugnauth, since last year, we have witnessed a new motivation and a renewed dynamism in the economy. There has been a slight improvement in the growth rate and a slight decrease in the unemployment rate. These are positive signs of recovery of our economy. The level of optimism has increased and following this trend, the economic indicators are improving.
Not much diversification. The economy has been more based on structural reforms. Till now there have not been any diversifications of markets or products. We have only heard about certain openings but till now, nothing concrete has been seen. There are still lots of work to be accomplished.
More innovation. If we are expecting a better economy, transformation is needed. For this, the PM needs to encourage different actors of the economy to be more innovative, productive and efficient.
Infrastructure development. The PM needs to create opportunities by investing and modernising our current infrastructure for water, electricity, road and the port.
Social measures. He has already set up some laudable social measures. He should bring more measures for poverty reduction to maintain his position.
Education. It is crucial that he takes education as a priority, as it is one of main capitals. If we invest in our human resources through training, it will be an advantage for our economy.
Vulnerability. Our economy mainly depends on the international context for our export, manufacturing and offshore sector. For the time being, the global economy is in good shape. We are still vulnerable to certain situations such as the liberalisation of prices, export costs and trade relations with different countries. We should not also forget climate change, which renders Mauritius even more vulnerable. This is a challenge for the Prime Minister.