Saturday, January 9, 2016


Wavel Ramkalawan accuses national television station of being guilty of political propaganda in support of Parti Lepep.

The opposition under the banner “Union For Change “ yesterday informed the Commissioner of police Ernest Quatre that it will be organising a protest march on Thursday 14 January at 3pm against the Seychelles Broadcasting Corporation (SBC). The demonstration which will start in town and end in front of the SBC, aims to protest against what the Seychelles National Party (SNP) leader has said is SBC’s “ongoing campaigning for Parti Lepep”, in particular through the programme “News Extra” with Finance Minister, Jean Paul Adam.

The SNP’s last march in December 2014.
Complaints against the SBC have reached a peak these past weeks especially leading to the 2015 Presidential election. The national broadcaster was criticized for its poor performance in the early hours of December 6, when it failed to keep the viewers informed about the election results and instead played countless repeats of comedies. Since the announcement of the second round, opposition supporters have accused the station of “political propaganda” as it gave Ministers generous airtime to talk about pertinent national issues aimed at giving the Parti Lepep government political mileage.

This week, the Minister for Finance, Trade and Blue Economy, Jean Paul Adam has featured in at least three News Extra programmes, in which he gave detailed explanations about his 2016 budgetary address, which was presented on December 23. Among his topics were the 13th month salary scheme which comes into effect this month as well as the setting up of an anti-corruption body to address the issue of corruption in the country.

Mr Adam’s appearance on national television again on Thursday evening prompted the leader of the SNP, Wavel Ramkalawan to post a comment on popular Facebook group, Seychelles Daily, asking:“For how long more are we going to tolerate the SBC campaigning for Parti Lepep through the programme ‘News Extra’ with Jean-Paul Adam every evening?”, suggesting that “we should show our dissatisfaction with SBC by organising  a demonstration”.

This comment posted late in the evening on Thursday was quickly picked up by followers on social media who supported the call for a protest march. This prompted Mr Ramkalawan to suggest that if the comment reached a thousand likes by 9am on Friday 8 January, then he will write to the Commissioner of police, notifying him of the event.

The opposition supporters got busy, with some staying up till early morning to monitor the progress of the “Likes”, which reached its target of one thousand after 1am.

Subsequently, Mr Ramkalawan posted a copy of the letter sent to the police on Friday morning, notifying him of the protest march and the routes that will be taken - from the Victoria Stadium car park to SBC headquarters at Hermitage.

SBC protest 1992
Meanwhile, Minister Jean-Paul Adam, whose appearance on national TV had prompted the call for a protest, also took to social media on Friday to question the opposition’s accusations. He asked whether the SNP wouldn’t have used the national media to present its budget if elected, arguing that it was every government’s right to explain its plan to the public. “Instead of organising a demonstration, why doesn’t SNP present the alternative budget it was proposing to the population?”, he asked, further adding that “maybe the reality is that there was no budgetary plan behind all the promises that were made prior to the elections”.

The protest march will be the first by the opposition this year following Mr Ramkalawan’s recent call for the supporters “to make their voices heard”.

The last demonstration was in December 2014 when hundreds of SNP supporters took to the streets of Victoria for a peaceful march against the high cost of living, following the 2015 budget speech.

Source:Today in Seychelles