Monday, August 24, 2015


Why can’t the register of voters be provided in electronic form?

Dear Editor,

Allow me some space in your paper to raise the issue of the refusal by Hendrick Gappy, Chairman of the Electoral Commission, to provide all political parties with the register of voters in electronic format despite a ruling by Judge Renaud directing him to do so on July 31st 2015.

Three weeks later, Mr Gappy is in contempt of court for his refusal to comply with Judge Renaud’s “writ of mandamus” which means “a court order to an inferior government official ordering the government official to properly fulfil their official duties or correct an abuse of discretion”.

What is baffling with Mr Gappy’s refusal to obey directives is that the court took very little time to debate the issue with Judge Renaud hinting even before the hearing on this matter that he thought it was straight forward and that the whole saga by Hendrick Gappy not to issue an electronic copy was frivolous and that it was wasting the court’s time.

Why do political parties need an electronic list?

The answer is that it would make their lives easier in cross checking, for example, potential errors such as duplicates across their respective districts, establishing different age groups they may wish to target in their campaign strategies as well as accurately monitor the movement of voters every time the lists are updated given population dynamics. A database would speed up not only statistical analysis but help in spotting potential errors or irregularities that may arise as lists are updated over time and particularly the final list used on the day of the elections.

In the absence of an electronic list, the above exercise can still be carried out manually by political parties but would require a massive data input exercise that would divert precious resources from political parties and thus impact on their chances of competing with the ruling party which, by all accounts, has already received an electronic copy of the voters’ register and receives regular electronic updates to the register.

Not only is this practise unfair but displays a clear bias of Mr Gappy towards the ruling parti Lepep. Political parties must contest Hendrick Gappy’s impartiality and refusal not only to be fair and just but to show no respect for the judiciary.

Inside sources suggest that Mr Gappy is being given political directives and is now facing difficult questions from his own commission members for balking at what appears to be a reasonable and straight forward request from political parties and a ruling from the country’s Supreme Court.

The latest we have learnt is that Hendrick Gappy is appealing against Judge Renaud’s decision and has even applied for a stay of execution of the order. In other words, he is asking that the court should allow him time not to implement the order until the appeal is heard.

Mr Gappy’s refusal to comply and provide an electronic list of voters begs a lot of questions. Why does he feel so threatened if political parties are able to swiftly process data pertaining to nearly 75,000 voters? Is it because the final list has been manipulated by his office and that when it will be issued, all parties except the ruling Lepep will have insufficient time to compare the final list against the list given earlier which would have been verified for correctness by ground and home visits?

Is there some major manipulation exercise engineered by Lepep and Hendrick Gappy to include fake names on the final list in order to rig the forthcoming elections by having people chosen by Lepep vote more than once (with effective solutions found to quickly remove the liquid used for finger dabbing) or use non Seychellois brought in with fake names and issued with local ID cards and to then vote for Lepep?

Why is Hendrick Gappy’s office informing the public that the only identification document that will be accepted on election day will be the national ID card, not a Seychelles passport? A passport is a much better proof of one’s ID as not only does it show who you are but also that you are also a national of Seychelles. A Seychelles passport check would be a deterrent against a non-Seychellois voting using a national ID card as one would assume that in such a case the foreign national would not have a Seychelles passport. Why is a passport check not mandatory throughout the registration, vetting and election process?

The questions must be raised NOW because the stakes are high at this point in time with Lepep dwindling massively in support from the population following recent public revelations of large cases of corruption and fraud by Lepep and its predecessor SPPF.

Could it be that the only way out now is rigging the electoral list, printing fake ID cards and stuffing the ballot boxes with Lepep votes from selected people by Lepep who vote more than once or non Seychellois brought in to vote using fake ID cards under the guise of being Seychellois voters? Is Hendrick Gappy plotting with Lepep and working against democratic principles and the desire of the people of Seychelles and its constitution?

The people have a right to know the truth and Hendrick Gappy must be brought under the spotlight by the judiciary for his behaviour which is totally out of line with his position of being impartial and his responsibility to ensure democratic practises and the rule of law are adhered to in Seychelles.

This case must be taken to the highest levels of justice as Seychelles and its people will be the biggest losers if we are to surrender to such an immoral and corrupted practise.

The people await the judiciary’s next move with bated breath …

Patrick Pillay

Party Leader, Lalyans Seselwa

Source:Today in Seychelles