Friday, July 15, 2016


Dear Editor,

Much has recently been said about our 40 years of independence. We have continuously been reminded of how proud we should all be from having progressed from the dark ages to a country that enjoys all the modern comforts of the 21st century. However, irrespective of your point of view, everyone will agree that we remain today, ever divided as a nation. And despite all our boasts of great national advancement, the Seychellois today can be described as a most “unhappy” nation.

Today we have schools in every district and also a university, but little schooling and a lack of grounding amongst our juvenile Ministers and Members of the National Assembly. We have a monumental structure named the “Palais de Justice” with numerous judges, and lawyers, but we enjoy no justice. We have the best unpolluted air over our islands, but have a young generation of polluted minds from overdose of booze and heroine. We have new houses, motorcars and cable television but very few homes. The country boasts a high GDP but the people have little wealth. We enjoy carnival, festival, dance and music, but we have lost our culture and pride along the way. We have great plans, vision and promises, but never seem to reach the elusive horizon. We have pupils unleashing fear and wrath toward their teachers instead of bending in humble humility in their tutors' presence. Sadly, the teaching profession has lost its integrity. We have a healthcare system mired in politics and our citizens are far from healthy, with many travelling overseas for basic treatment. Our health system is sick and the profession has lost its allure. We need more energy to power growth, but we need "friends" from UAE to donate generators to keep the lights on. We have a young generation waking up every day contemplating the future, but they dare not have dreams.

It is indeed a long list, and yet President Rene in his recent interview tried to claim success over the modern technology which spilled over our islands through globalisation. He claims credit over the development he witnesses on his daily drive through La Misère where the business community resides and survived against all odds, his policy of currency control and monetary pipeline and over centralised institutions. In reality, President Rene will be remembered as a failed lawyer turned socialist dictator politician, whose policies influenced all our ills today.

Whilst we may give him credit for not selling our areas of natural beauty such as Cap Ternay and Police Point, it may be due to him not being able to claim the special relationship which President Michel boasts of having with those middle eastern gentlemen. President Rene's line of credit relied mainly through the former Mafia boss Mario Ricci who specialised in sanction busting, and drug running. All known and well documented by foreign embassies of the world. But what are the solutions to all our ills?

Many have described the solution as the herculean task of our generation. But it needs not be so. I would sum it up in one word: "'Will". We must have the "'Will". And good leadership necessitates that the "Will" must filter down from top to bottom. It must start with the President of the country. Unfortunately, many had hoped that the President would have seized this opportunity on our 40th independence anniversary to bring about inclusivity and address the story of our dark past. But this magnanimous act seems to be beyond the man. Unifying a nation through forced submission cannot be a policy for success. His call for unity which he repeated throughout his speech urges the nation to behave like his pet spaniel and to roll over on its back into submission. If his call for unity is sincere, he needs to address simply two issues.
 Install a truly independent election commission and address the healing of our polarised nation, divided due to our dark past. Achieving those two areas, simply requires "Will"; after which he may leave behind a true legacy of a man who through sincere leadership, called the hard shots and brought about the unity that can cast aside to the annals of history, the cowardly acts of the coup d'etat.

But the President's opening remarks in his speech revealed the very core of our problem. His admission that his party's framework for Seychelles was decided well before our independence during the referendum campaign to either integrate with UK or seek independence, suggests that his party had to be at the helm of government by hook or by crook. And obviously they chose the latter having continuously failed to use the democratic institution in place at the time.

Furthermore, in President Rene's interview when asked by the interviewer to comment on how he viewed critics, his response was indeed telling. 'Critics must be encouraged he said as long as it does not reach a point which is damaging to one's programme. In which case measures must be taken to stop criticism.' Was that the first admission of the many disappearances of Seychellois during his reign?

President Michel's speech continued in a tone that signalled an arrogance of power. In paying due respect to the former heads of state, his order of precedence started with the second president hence relegating the first president to third place. Was that diplomatic slight? Having first dismissed the first president's pre-independence “stay UK campaign” as absurd, this was indeed diplomatic arrogance at its best. And jovial James Richard Mancham faithfully and duly beamed his acceptance of being relegated to third position. But President James Mancham is no fool and would not have missed the trick. Was there a touch of sarcasm at the corners of his wry smile?

After 40 years of independence and at this crucial crossroads of our political history, our country could have done with some role models. Unfortunately, our past leaders have all failed their country. It will be left to the goodwill of the common men and women to bring about the change that the nation deserves. Those who are prepared to put their personal ambition aside and place all their efforts into the noble desire of doing good for their country and the generation of tomorrow.

Those past 40 years have provided ample opportunity for the ruling party to take the initiative and heal our nation. They have failed more than once. It is therefore futile to believe that they will ever change and do the right thing. All good Seychellois who want a better Seychelles including those who may be a Lepep supporter must now make a decision to accept the status quo and remain divided or join the forces for change and inclusivity. You and your children do not deserve second best and you should not accept second best.

However this task must not be left to politicians only. We must encourage leadership from all independent institutions. Each and every one of us can do their bit from the shadows and from the wings. You do not need to be in the forefront to lead. You need simply the '"Will" and one other quality. Patriotism. God bless our beloved Seychelles. Happy 40th Anniversary to all for what it's worth.

 Roy Fonseka.