EDITORIAL issue 14

Certain voters from a tired opposition camp frequently make the hoarse call for democracy, with little comprehension what the notion entails. They call for ONE SEYCHELLES to bow out of the race, all the while ignoring or otherwise overlooking that an entrenched duopoly of red and green camps for decades, to the exclusion of any meaningful competition, is not a sign of a healthy democracy. These activists accuse us of diluting the opposition vote, without examining or considering why our entry onto the political scene was necessary, and potentially long overdue.

Both entrenched and mainstream parties are a product of a system that has failed the Republic time and time again. Their track record of failing to bring worthwhile change for the economy or for Seychellois has been blatantly apparent for the Country to see during their unremarkable term in office. Their attempts at “cohabiting” while one camp controlled the NationalAssembly and the other headed the Executive were half-hearted at best, and their tendencies to play both sides and to act in their own interests have earned them much public distrust and skepticism.

Their failure to reflect any innovative strategies to combat or redress the troubles our Nation is facing in the form of a comprehensive manifesto should be a red flag in the minds of voters. Old parties, no matter how they brand themselves (key players always remaining the same), cannot learn new tricks. They cannot now come with the same array of promises, vowing that this time around will be different. They had their shot to prove their worth, and they blew it.It is our democratic and constitutional right to enter into the political arena.

It is the right of voters to choose between any candidates or political parties who put their names forward. Anyone who denigrates an individual on account of their political persuasion is undermining the freedoms enshrined in our Constitution. By advocating for the existence of one opposition party to the exclusion of all others, they are clearly subscribing to the ideals of the one-party state that we should have done away with many years ago.

Your vote in the 2020 elections allows our democracy to live another day. If enough people cast their ballots next month, they are acting in solidarity with, and protection for, the most vulnerable people in our society –those who have been neglected woefully since the 2015 elections and left to fall beneath the poverty line.

It is time that politicians are forced to sit up and take notice of those whom they are seeking to SERVE (not rule over). For far too long, politicians have been complacent to do the bare minimum, with no one to hold them accountable. Seychellois have a chance in the upcoming elections to hold them accountable for their non-performance and broken promises over the course of their past term in higher office.

We implore you to vote wisely in the upcoming elections. Vote for someone who actually has the political will to bring the necessary change that the masses have, for decades, been crying out for. Rather than vote for an individual who has been in the ring since Jesus was a little boy because he is the “safe” or “familiar” option, vote for the candidate that has brought well-developed and thought-out policies and plans to revive the tourism industry; to end favoritism and nepotism within Governmental appointments; to alleviate once and for all the out-of-control poverty plaguing the vulnerable members of society; to take a definitive stance on the issue of legalizing marijuana and to actually follow through on their promise; to lower taxes and the crippling VAT to help businesses thrive; to re-structure and revamp the fisheries sector to make it more efficient (it is presently top-heavy); and to give the agriculture industry the needed boost to encourage more farmers to enter into, and remain within, the field; and to push for sustainable methods and practices within both the fisheries and agriculture sectors to promote food security for generations to come.

Consider whether a politician has the requisite temperament, capability, skillset, political will, experience and proven track record of bringing innovation and change to the Nation. Consider his motives for entering the political arena and whether he is in it for the right reasons. If the politician’s goal is just to win the elections, with barely any thought spent on how to run the Country after election day, then he has already lost. The fate of our Nation’s economy and the wellbeing of Seychellois lie with you.

The most important people on election day are not the politicians on the ballot paper –the voters are! They have the power to choose whether Government remains the same, whether things remain as they presently are for a further five years, whether the Nation signs up for more acts of favoritism and decisions that are taken in naked self-interest, or whether we end this hard and trying year with fresh leadership, fresh policies and a new approach to solving problems that other politicians have clumsily and hopelessly tried to grapple with for the past four years.

An avan, Seychelles.