Tuesday, June 16, 2015


The real truth about Maison du Peuple has to be told so that the younger generation really knows what transpired; the building belongs to the people of Seychelles and every Seychellois has a right to lay claim to it. In fact it is the one thing that needs to be done as soon as possible. Since Parti Lepep has tried to falsely justify their ownership of Maison du Peuple, this newspaper has retrieved archival evidence to prove the contrary.

The Maison du Peuple, in President Rene’s own words, was to be ‘a hyphen between government and people’. The building was designed by Mr John Dunlop Stewart, a local architect. As the building was built by volunteers from all walks of life, the architect took charge of the supervision while the technical drawings was done free of charge by the local engineers, Associated Consulting Engineers (ASCON). ASCON’s contribution was evaluated at SR 150,000.

The financing has also been well documented. The Algerian government contributed 7 million rupees; the major financial contributor. The former Soviet Union contributed 13,050 tons of cement, North Korea contributed 2,000 tons of cement while Belgium donated 59 tons of steel.

The whole Seychellois nation contributed in one way or another towards the construction of the building; from businessmen to schoolchildren. A fund raising committee chaired by the late Minister Philibert Loizeau set as target to raise 3 million rupees which was surpassed. Fishing competitions and other fund raising activities were organized; the most famous being a State House banquet organized by President Rene where all present had to pay SR 250. It was rumoured that Rene actually cooked the food that night. The red granite that gives Maison du Peuple its unique character was donated by the people of Praslin. In June 1979, the foundation stone was laid and by April 1981, 8.5 million rupees had been spent.

Tragically the building that is hailed as being the cultural, social and political venue for all Seychellois citizens in the National Monuments brochure was transferred to Parti Lepep (then SPPF) in February 1996 as part of Parcel Number V 8013. The building which in 1982 had cost more than 10 million rupees to build and in which every Seychellois had contributed was transferred to Parti Lepep for the meagre sum of 900 thousand rupees. This is but one case of national assets being transferred to Parti Lepep at a fraction of the actual cost. It remains doubtful whether the money was actually transferred. This is robbing the Seychellois people.

On its opening by former presidents Rene and Chadli Benjedid of Algeria on the 5th April 1981, a plaque was also unveiled which spoke volumes. It read “Don du Peuple Algerien Au Peuple Seychellois” meaning “A gift from the people of Algeria to the people of Seychelles”. The plaque was later removed and is yet to be seen. However, it remains documented in a book written by the incumbent president in the early eighties. Maison Du Peuple was never a gift to Parti Lepep but to the people of Seychelles!