Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Koste Seselwa (Come Together Seychellois)


“....paradise cannot be divided against itself. God did not give us this most beautiful of all countries for us to behave like cats and dogs conditioned by Red, Blue or Green parties which have lost all relevance under the conditions of today. 
Today we must live on our own resources, not on polemics and slogans. Today we must face the truth and the realities and not be manipulators of divisive propaganda.
Through the philosophy of reconciliation we must destroy partisan, political polarisation and bring about a happy and equitable society where Seychellois will think about Seychelles First…….It is therefore important for today’s government to start thinking in this direction if its policy of working together is to be seen as sincere and serious.
Civilisation would be impossible without forgiveness. Life would be nothing but an endless cycle of vengeance, an eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth, until we became a blind and toothless world…..”

This is what the Nation of 9-4-09 printed as a letter from Mr J.R.M Mancham, to share views he expects to elaborate upon before the national ‘Koste Seselwa Committee’

I wholly agree and applaud the Former and First President’s stance, consistent during the past 17 years since his first address on 12th April 1992, after 15 years in exile. 
It also echoes similar positions recently taken by Mr. W. Ramkalawan, the Leader of the Opposition :
“... the leaders of this country need to come forward and acknowledge the wrongs that have brought so much hurt, seek ways to heal and from there we shall be able to live as a nation in unity. Too many hearts are still bleeding. There will never be peace as long as we have a nation with too many unsolved issues……. The other side of unity is indeed reconciliation. At a time when Mr. Michel is calling for the people to come together in those difficult times, is it not also the time for him to show initiative and lead by example? Should he not, together with the other leaders of this country for the last 32 years put finality to those issues? Is this not the way forward?.....” (Rebuilding Seychelles, SNP Leader's Message, 27-02-09) 

Sadly, as with other similar past initiatives, this new call will likely fall on deaf ears. 

For Mr. Mancham’s part, this will be simply because he is known to be from the Blue corner and the Reds in power have never shown the least inclination to seriously seek and work for National Unity other than in speeches that sound nice but that the wind has a nasty habit of ripping and carrying away until the next speech.

Fact is, after 32 years of holding the reins of power herding our 80K souls, the Reds just went and simply erased from memory, their own denunciations of not being given a fair chance at charting the way of the nation when they represented 46% of popular vote after the last pre-1976 winner-takes-all election.

The 1976 version of ‘Koste Seselwa’ was the platform that contributed to facilitating their forceful 1977 power take-over. 

‘Chat chaudé craint l’eau froide’. 

Despite the shift of forces in the local political arena and the systematic brainwashing by the incumbent Red Government since 1977, we remain deeply and enduringly split, along the lines of partisan politics. The Reds who used to be a big 46% minority are now the small majority (58.8% in 1993, 65.3% in 1998, 54.2% in 2002, 53.04% in 2004 and 56.2% in 2007.) The others, who were the small majority, are now the big minority, and the ones who clamour for the consideration they are deprived of.

Just as cats refrain from dipping in water, so do the Reds disdain power sharing. They are therefore most unlikely to revisit any form of government of National Unity, despite the calls they often regurgitated over the years, whenever it made good politics to be thus seen and heard. 
A serious ‘Koste Seselwa’ call suggests that all children of the land is invited and welcome to come together and each take his rightful place in the task of nation-building.
It carries with it the unequivocal condition that when we come together, we do so with the trust that national interest is what we are all working for. We must not be expected to put aside our individual differences of politics or religion but recognise that these, and other differences, must bow before the greater importance and interest of our country. 
It accepts that while we go about the business of nation building, we can each permit ourselves to express dissent and objections over the course we follow, as we may find cause to, and as is perfectly admissible in a democratic society. Dissent is healthy. With Objection, it contributes to keep our focus on consensus on what is best for the country. "Nobody has a monopoly on ideas", as the President J.A.Michel, said so himself. 

The Reds have shown that they will never grasp this concept. They seem to find dissent and objection as redolent of the ghosts of dissatisfaction, power hunger and subversive overthrow plots, as they were in 1977. Coming together today is synonymous with rallying behind the one position that finds favour in their eyes. Theirs! 

The current ‘Koste Seselwa’ drive seems therefore to be another slogan behind which they will, once again seek to manoeuvre, trying to stir patriotism and harness popular support. It is light-years away from a serious quest for National Unity, of the short-lived type the country basked under, from June 1976 to May 1977.

Let me hope I am wrong!

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