"Of what good is democracy if it is not for the poor?" – Ferdinand Marcos
With tentative Presidential election dates having been set, and each key political party having hosted their convention and lobbied their activists into action, a rippling awareness has spread through the electorate that this election year is shaping up to be markedly different from any other. The significance and ramifications of a likely change in Government in merely a few months’ time are beginning to be realized by the masses. One Seychelles’ shock entry onto the political playing field and our rapid surge in popularity have tapered the pervasive and unhealthy feeling of invulnerability and arrogance in the career politicians, who have been in the game for decades and playing by the same old rules they always have.
With President Faure having been handed the Presidency post by default (following former President Michel’s abrupt resignation in 2016), and then his inconclusive distancing from the SPPF/SPUP/Parti Lepep political party, his reliance on the blind support from those who followed former President Michel and Rene is fickle at best. He shall be judged by the masses for his performance as a State Leader during his past term in Office. He has been dealt a hard hand with the recent worldwide spread of COVID-19, but his dispirited actions in response to the pandemic shall no doubt weigh on the minds of voters, particularly those who are struggling to keep their tourism-reliant businesses afloat or those who have lost their employment in recent months.
‘Change’ is the go-to term for any opposition party. It has been used so flippantly over the years by career politicians pushing their own agendas that ordinary citizens have become anesthetized and discouraged. However, what the term means to the different political parties is vastly different. Change is a tired tune that UO/SNP/Lalyans Seselwa/LDS have been singing for so long that it needed to be revamped through a Shaggy (rip-off) remix. In the last pivotal Parliamentary elections, LDS was tried and tested for the first time following their majority swing in the National Assembly. Many who cast their vote for the Party quickly realized that the promise for change was misleading; the change that was delivered simply comprised different faces on the televised sessions of the Assembly, but little else of substance. Systemic State problems that were scrutinized come each election period seemed of little importance when the elected MNAs came into real power. Priority order of business seemed to be the giving of themselves an earlier pension than the ordinary Seychellois, and not assisting the people who entrusted them with their futures and that of the Nation. It is curious that the same promises of ‘change’ are being made by LDS for the 2020 elections, even more so that an impressionable few still subscribe to them. Perhaps the catchphrase ‘believe’ is apt, as it shall serve as a reminder to the politicians that they too must believe in the promises they are espousing.
The time for empty promises, if there ever was one, has long passed. With our tourism industry in tatters and our economy crumbling around our ears, the Country deserves competent, capable, skilled, qualified and motivated leadership. For One Seychelles, the promise of change means the promise of REAL CHANGE. We have substantiated what this shall mean for Seychellois in our comprehensive manifesto, which is presently being distributed in the districts in hard copy and is available in soft copy on our Facebook page (@enselsesel). A copy of our manifesto is hoped to be distributed in the next issue of Zilwa Publication as well.
We have outlined plans to hit the ground running with our technocrat-led Government, comprising qualified, skilled, knowledgeable and experienced individuals from all ends of the political spectrum, the day we are elected into Office. The ‘ek nou, pa ek nou’ attitude that has been perpetuated by career politicians for decades shall fall flat immediately, for the technocrats we have already selected and secured do not hail from one political party, nor are they loyalists or ‘friends’. They have been chosen for key positions in our Government based on merit. Our Government and Cabinet shall be genderbalanced, and the Youth shall no longer be silenced in governance.
"Of what good is democracy if it is not for the poor?" – Ferdinand Marcos. I have outlined plans to drastically reduce poverty rates during my term in Office, imposing a 12-month deadline on my Government to make a marked impact in the currently alarming poverty rate in Seychelles. This plan is not overly ambitious or fanciful; poverty is not an accident. It is a byproduct of poor governance and misplaced priorities by those entrusted to safeguard the health and security of the People. The basic minimum wage (SR5,800 or thereabouts) shall be significantly increased to SR7,500 – NO Seychellois gainfully employed in full or part-time work, persons receiving pension and social security payments, home carers and Government corporative contract workers, shall earn less than that monthly figure. We shall ensure that the cost of living sees a marked decline within our first year in Office. To emphasize the seriousness of my personal commitment to this issue, I shall, if elected, dedicate 50% of my monthly Presidential salary to combating poverty in Seychelles. I shall lead by example, always.
President Faure in his televised Press Conference accepted our invitation to engage in a Presidential debate, though he declined to use this platform to make the necessary arrangements. We have already put the wheels in motion and have contacted key journalists to organize this Seychelles-First event. Seychellois have a right to make their choice of leadership, and they have a duty to make their choice an informed one. This live debate shall even the playing field between all candidates, and shall help the electorate make their ultimate choice. The weak shall certainly be separated from the strong.
A National election should be a time for optimism, faith in the electoral process, and respect for one another. Whatever the outcome of the upcoming elections, we will celebrate that for the first time, Seychelles had a real choice, and Seychellois were free to make their choice. If Courts are destined to be burdened once again following the 2020 elections by those who cannot accept defeat, we will have no part in it.