Thursday, August 24, 2017

"VIRTUALLY NOTHING IS MOVING"

BY PATRICK GEORGES PILLAY (AKA TON PAT)

"Seychelles is greater than me." This statement has often been uttered by the Head of State, Danny Faure. It has also been uttered by yours truly as well as both leaders in the National Assembly. I believe that Seychelles is greater than all the four of us put together and therefore whatever action we take as leaders must be in the interest of Seychelles FIRST and not in the interest of our own agenda or that of our political party.

Sole protester on the day of the Solar Eclipse and new moon
I need not explain why I joined Ryan Moncherry in his protest in Central Victoria on Tliesday 22 August 2017. However, I wish to do precisely that so that there is no misunderstanding on either side of the political divide, especially as I have had mixed reactions from different people. Let me start by stating a number of facts:

1. LDS in its post-September 2016 political campaign has said time and again that it will fight for early presidential elections since Mr. Faure is not an elected President but got to State House through the 'pas baton' provision in our Constitution. This has since been amended and that is the end of it.

LDS Chairman leads the protest for fresh Presidential elections in September 2016
2. Early on Tuesday morning, I mailed the Chairman of the LDS Council, Roger Mancienne, to inform him that I will be joining Ryan Moncherry in his protest at midday in my personal capacity and as Leader of Lalyans Seselwa. I recognized that I had neither the blessing nor the endorsement of the LDS Council to do what I was planning to do. Ryan Moncherry did a solo protest and when I learnt about it I was full of admiration and pride for this young man wrho has been an ardent supporter of our party 'Lalyans Seselwa' from its inception. Let me add 'en passant' that even when he had his barber's shop on Espace Building, I used to go there for my haircut and the trimming of my beard.

3. I must be loud and clear in saying that I have nothing against Mr. Faure, Mr. Meriton or Mrs. Mondon. If truth be told, I consider them as friends and work wrell with them. This fact must be obvious to all Seychellois as I sit on various committees with them and contribute fully to the discussions.

4. At no time have I said the President Faure must resign. Ryan and others who joined him have said so and I respect their views. On the board, that I carried was printed on one side "We want fresh Presidential elections" and on the flip side "We want an elected President." I will explain further down what I really wish for Seychelles...

5. One of the mails I received referred to "violent civil disobedience campaign." Let me make it clear that at no time have I said (or for that matter thought) about civil disobedience. As for violence, anybody who knows me will be very aware that I am a follower of Mahatma Ghandhi's Ahimsa i.e. non-violence. I am absolutely against violence in any form...

As a matter of fact I made it clear to all who joined Ryan on Tuesday that this will be a silent and peaceful protest. There will be no speeches, no music, no shouting or disturbance of the public at large.

Let me now explain why I joined Ryan Moncherry in his protest.

Speaker of the National Assembly of Seychelles joins protest
At the last sitting of the National Assembly, before we adjourned for recess I made a strong statement from the Chair about lack of service delivery from certain quarters in the Executive branch of Government. I targeted two ministries: Education and Agriculture. I will not repeat what I said.

This Monday 21 August I did my usual clinic' at Anse Boileau and one of the last constituents wrhom I saw brought to my attention his case which can best be described as the proverbial straw that broke the camel's back. There is a young man who is an inhabitant of Anse Boileau who is specialised in the field of Education. He has a B Ed. From Australia and a Master's in 'Educational Leadership' from a university in New Zealand. This gentleman, and indeed he is one, has been in the country since November 2016 and all this time he has been doing what we in creole would call "bous trou." I have been a facilitator of learning (commonly called a teacher, I have been an educational administrator, I have been PS (Editor's note: principal secretary) of Education and I have been a Minister of Education. After listening to this young man with so much potential in educational leadership being sidelined when there is a dire need for male role models and strong and skillful male head teachers in a system that is in disarray especially in regards to indiscipline in secondary school, to say that I wras angry w’ould be a gross understatement. There and then I decided that I will now go into a higher gear to have a change of Government. This is when I decided to join Ryan Moncherry and ask for early and fresh Presidential elections.

My quest is simple to understand. I as leader of 'Lalyans Seselwa' do not believe that the co-habitation is working. I have been for it in the interest of Seychelles and have done my best to make it work. However I now firmly believe that the Executive is taking us for a ride and virtually nothing is moving (for reasons best known to themselves). In the case of the Educationalist from Anse Boileau - he had seen and met with President Danny Faure, with Minister Joel Morgan and Dr. Odile de Commarmond and still one year on he has not been given a headship even when he has proven experience as a Deputy Headteacher. Is this a repeat of the saga of the ex-A Level students teaching in the secondary schools for peanuts? ... I would like to believe that complacency is so pervasive in the public service simply because there is no leadership. Take the case of the Police. If I start writing about the lack of leadership in the police you will be reading until tomorrow’ night. And who is the Commissioner of Police answerable to? Who is his boss? You see my dear friends this country needs fresh Presidential elections within a reasonable time frame, at least by June 2018 and not in 2020.

On a final note: Regarding President Faure. He agreed and assented to scrapping the article in the Constitution that permitted the famous 'pas baton'. He should then take the matter to its logical conclusion and have fresh presidential elections. It is not healthy if we are on a journey towards a modern and robust democracy to have a selected or 'pas baton' President representing us at Summits overseas. We need an elected President. This is what credibility and good governance is all about.

After all if Mr. Faure calls for fresh presidential elections in let us say April 2018 and he participates as a presidential candidate, he may actually win. Why does he have to wait for the end of his 'mandate'? Who gave him this 'mandate' anyway?