Presidential Election Watch: Bullying and Harassment

The Republic of Seychelles is the smallest African country in population and a holiday jewel in the Southern Indian Ocean.

“The presidential elections are coming up in 10 days and violence is showing its ugly face combined with intimidation this morning” explains an obviously alarmed presidential candidate Alain St. Ange to eTurboNews.

Tourism is a lifeline for the economy of this island Republic and former minister of tourism and global tourism celebrity Alain St. Ange is one of the three personalities competing in the upcoming election on October 24. His message this morning is to stop bullying and harassment.

Seychelles is a conservative country and similar to the U.S. had been polarized by political parties. This year a powerful third party came in with an out of the box and global view most likely necessary to steer the island nation through the storm of COVID-19 attacking every country on the planet. Elections can get heated, and this small country of less than 100,000 is no exception.

Political turnover is a fundamental feature of democratic regimes. Their purpose is to provide citizens with an opportunity to freely choose, in a transparent and fair manner, their political leaders, and allocate leadership power peacefully. The unbalanced or restricted competition goes against the democratic aspirations of the electorate. It would be wholly undemocratic if the long-standing duopoly of red and green camps were permitted to continue dominating the political arena, unchallenged by any new political force. The same faces or party colors cannot be permitted to keep reappearing on the ballot paper for decades (for generations, even), while other parties are bullied into submission and dissuaded from contesting the entrenched duopoly.

This year, a third force has not only surfaced to contest the red and green camps, but it has truly established itself as a worthy and viable contender in the National elections. It has made a significant impact on the electorate and is making the duopoly tense and uncomfortable. Underlying tensions in a society and high-stake competition can result in violent and corrupt elections. The acceptance of election results by the losing candidates and parties is a critical issue; With one side having dedicated the past 30 years to win the presidential seat, and the other having a personal point to prove that they can make it without the backing or endorsement of former President James Michel, ONE SEYCHELLES is caught in the middle of two polarized and power-hungry political parties.

ONE SEYCHELLES’ Perseverance candidate, namely Mr. Bernard St.Ange, has already been victimized in more ways than one since entering the political arena this year. He was first called up to State House and it was indicated that his job security could not be guaranteed if he participated in the upcoming elections for ONE SEYCHELLES. This morning, he awoke to find his family’s vehicle heartlessly and senselessly vandalized. With one political camp infamously sending for sniffer dogs to find out who had ripped one of their posters in a district, what will be the police reaction to political victimization such as this, and damage to personal property?

As pressure mounts and entrenched political parties realize their grip on key districts is slipping away rapidly, how safe is anyone who defies the red and green duopoly? With the one-party rule supposedly well behind us, why are Seychellois persecuted for openly participating in politics and going against the grain?

President Faure was asked what security measures have been put in place to guarantee the safety of Seychellois during the election period, and immediately thereafter in the event of political turnover, during one press conference.

His response was circular and evasive. However, with one individual allegedly recently being apprehended with grenades, and another incident of shooting at Bel Air not too long ago, it is disconcerting that members of the public are having seemingly unfettered access to firearms and other forms of dangerous weaponry. Particularly this close to the pivotal National elections, many are expressing their concern that ordinary Seychellois are quietly being armed within the population.

It is unclear at this stage what is motivating their desire to be armed, but the timing of it is rather suspicious. It is reminiscent of the Coup d’état era where control of the Government was taken by force rather than by popular vote. Desperation and greed drive some weak-willed people do extremely foolish things – it is hoped that all politicians in this year’s elections have the requisite moral fiber, integrity, self-restraint, and positive leadership qualities to guide their decision-making in the coming weeks. If any succumb to violence, this reflects on their capacity (or, rather, lack thereof) to be a good leader for our Nation.

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