The Dirty Side of Election Politics Already Reared its Ugly Head

Victoria, Mahé

The Dirty Side of Election Politics Already Reared its Ugly Head - ALAIN ST ANGE - ONE SEYCHELLESAttack is often seen as the best form of defence. So, with the green camp still reeling from the consistent and continuous defeats it endured in each and every Presidential election it has engaged in for the past 30 years, it has unsurprisingly decided to go on the offensive this time around.

However, its political opponents are far from quaking in their boots. Their platforms used to funnel their propaganda into the public purview recently tried to direct attacks to the political party causing them the most grief: ONE SEYCHELLES. This is no break from tradition, to be fair.

Understandably, 30 years in the game and little source material to go on (since they themselves have contributed to many of the institutional failings the Nation is presently grappling with, by virtue of having controlled the Legislature during the past four years) have meant that they relished the opportunity to try and discredit the shiny newcomer on the political scene.

With little to nothing to fling at the party, however, one or two desperate activists and/or journalists (whichever term they prefer) have tried to point the finger at Alain St.Ange for the fate of the Performing Arts Music Stadium. All well and good, except this music stadium was the brainchild of the local artists and performing arts community, who worked tirelessly to create and develop a stadium that would do justice to their craft.

To rubbish the stadium and all that it represents, you effectively rubbish these artists who have already been sidelined enough by Government and policy-makers for decades. Furthermore, it was the NATIONAL ASSEMBLY that needlessly delayed the project for one reason or another, even refusing extra funding to complete the construction of the stadium. Delays and unnecessary hurdles were created by the Assembly, without them being able to suggest solutions – as real leaders should – to resolving whatever issues they had identified.

If any fingers are to be pointed in this respect, it is towards themselves. It is curious that the activists/journalists chose to leave out this important piece of information. And this tendency to make noise in the Assembly rather than actively problem-solve is precisely why the Country failed to move forwards during the past four years, and why we have taken alarming steps backwards in many respects, including creating further discrepancies between the privileged members of society and the average citizen through the unfair lowering of pensionable age for MNAs (55), and by binding Seychelles to further EU fishing agreements in which our Nation stands to lose more than what we would gain from them.

Further, and even worse, displays of dirty and desperate politics manifested only recently, with the ONE SEYCHELLES candidate for Bel Air, Mr. Steve Denis, being on the receiving end of persistent (and highly illegal) requests to switch off his phone before nomination day and to bow out of the legislative race. He was offered the sum of SR25,000 as a deposit to do so, with the promise of another significant lumpsum payment following nomination day. Despite the outrageous bribe being firmly rejected, the calls kept coming. This has become a police matter now and we trust that the culprit(s) shall be dealt with quickly through the appropriate legal channels.

Other ONE SEYCHELLES candidates have been informed that their job security cannot be guaranteed if they continued to run in the upcoming elections, with one even being called up to State House. Another candidate was very recently targeted by one notorious party and “requested” to stop campaigning so as to allow this person’s rival to succeed. Actions such as these by other political parties only serve to cement in the minds of the ONE SEYCHELLES candidates that they were right to leave those political camps when they did, and that they owe it to the Republic to keep pushing forwards.

The ONE SEYCHELLES candidates, including Mr. Steve Denis, remain resolute in their commitment and determination to keep fighting against a corrupt system, to save Seychelles from those who think only of themselves and the privileged instead of the most vulnerable members of society. Mr. Denis is a true Patriot, with a keen passion for sports, and is disappointed and disgusted that a rival party in the upcoming elections, which clearly does not have the best interests of the district at heart and which is only focused on winning the elections at all costs, is seeking to represent the residents of Bel Air before the National Assembly.

Not only are these acts of attempted bribery, harassment and threats highly illegal, but they are also clear signs of other political parties sensing pending defeat in key districts and showing that they are completely ill-equipped to deal with it. If such immoral and illegal tactics are being employed now, how many other elections have these culprits been getting away with reprehensible actions such as these?

You cannot preach about the importance of democracy and Seychellois’ right to choose while simultaneously engaging in dishonest actions such as these behind the scenes. Either you believe in democracy, or you don’t. Democracy cannot go to the highest bidder. It is dangerous to elect people into higher office who believe a vote can and should be bought, and it is dangerous to elect such individuals who have tried to do so. The end goal is not to win the elections – and certainly not AT ALL COSTS.

The end goal is to allow the voting population to freely cast their votes and to allow our fragile democracy to live another day. Politicians who actively try to undermine the democratic process now, will only do worse if elected into higher office.

With key politicians being known perpetrators of physical violence over the past few years, as well as bribery, harassment and threats, it is hoped that their intentions moving into the October elections are genuine and pure. If they truly have the wellbeing of Seychellois and of our Nation at heart, they would be openly discouraging any form of illegal dealings, physical or verbal abuse or violence during the election period by their party members and their supporters, and leading by example after election day in accepting with good grace the individual who has been democratically elected into higher office.

If they cannot handle the possibility of defeat even before the elections, and are lashing out already, how on earth are they going to cope after the election results are announced?

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