Further to the ongoing analysis of Seychelles political predicament, it is important at this juncture of nation building that we assess our political realities in the context of the promise of multi-party democracy and commitment made by France Albert Rene, in November 1991, wherein he announced to the People of Seychelles, that Seychelles will depart from a one party state and move to a pluralistic system in 1992.
After Eighteen (18)) years of multi party system in place, and numerous Commonwealth recommendations being ignored, the Seychelles opposition has called for a BOYCOTT of the National Assembly Elections. Only the newly formed PDM is participating in the elections and it is alleged by the remaining opposition that this party has been put in place to field a non credible opposition.
If the PDM does not garner 10% of the vote or if it does not win any seat in the National Assembly elections, the PL will retain full control of the National Assembly, and Seychelles will be in a one party state "Dejure" ( in fact, actual ).
At this time, the main opposition made up of the Seychelles Freedom Party (SFP) , led by Christopher Gill, the New Democratic Party (NDP) led by Ralph Volcere, the Seychelles National Party (SNP) , led by Father Wavel Ramkalawan and a number of independent politicians such as Phillippe Boulle and Viral Dhanjee, who have been fighting the one party tendencies of the ruling party in courts, have all equally, in a unified voice called for a BOYCOTT of the upcoming elections.
The rational behind the Boycott is that there exist many one party state laws, as much as Twenty (20) that keep Seychelles under a "Defacto" ( in practice, but not formalized) status of being a one party state, while enjoying the window dressing of a democracy. If the ruling party had implemented the Commonwealth recommendations, to effect a evolutionary transition to full multi party democracy over the last Eighteen (18) years, there would be no valid justification for a BOYCOTT. But this has not been done. Instead, the SPPF PL have simply not pushed the democracy card in Good Faith across the table. If anyone has an obligation to do this, is is the SPPF and their new name PL party.
The examples are daunting on us. The Public Orders Act, is a one party state law that permits Police to arrest any Three (3) persons that gather together in public. This prevents the exercise of the Right to Assemble. The Newspaper Act prevents effective Free Expression of Free Speech without penal consequences. The Radio and TV laws and SLA Act, post prohibitive license fees to broadcast. The Finance laws of the Election Commission has no restrictions on campaign financing and any one, even a non citizen can finance elections and influence the outcome. The Commonwealth has noted that finances play a key role in determining the outcome of elections. There are many more examples, like the right to vote by Seychellois residing overseas, detainees on remand, and the right to vote freely un aided or not to vote by choice by bed ridden patients in state institutions.
Once Seychelles is back in a "Dejure" one party state, government will have to come up with a serious plan to get it out from such dubious status. This will essentially require a round table discussion by all parties of laws needed to be passed and constitutional amendments or even the closing of the 3rd Republic and ushering in of the 4th Republic .
Seychelles needs a quantum leap forward in democratic rights and respect of individual rights to make further progress as a micro island state in such a difficult prolonged global environment wherein we face such challenges as international piracy on the high seas, the ongoing world economic recession which will last more then Ten (10) years, and in some instances even national economic depression and national bankruptcy in some of our traditional bread and butter markets for Fisheries and Tourism.
The impact of the internet on a one party state regime, cannot be under stated either. Recently we saw what Two (2) shark attacks did to our image as a destination, imagine what the one party state status will do to us now if the PL allows that to happen. Unfortunately, fielding a fake opposition does not prevent it from happening.
Seychelles Freedom Party