Wednesday, June 30, 2010


My recollection of our Independence Day!
I was just a 7-year old child on June 29th 1976 but I will never forget the wonderful memories of our Independence Day. I can still recall the joie-de-vivre that resounded in my home and around the country; the smiles on peoples’ faces and a variety of popular Independence songs being played on Radyo Sesel. I can also clearly remember the partisan activities leading to this event such as pickup loads of supporters bearing flags, banners and slogans heading towards Victoria to take part in political rallies and assemblies. I was quite aware of the stiff rivalry that existed between the two main parties, SDP and SPUP at the time.

Unfortunately, for most of us, we never had the opportunity to fully understand and appreciate the true value of our Independence Day because the Government in power had deliberately downgraded the celebration of this important day to a mere inter-school sports event in order to give more significance to the coup d’état of June 5th 1977.

So it comes as a real surprise that 34 years later, President Michel has finally acknowledged the importance of this great historical day and has accepted that Seychelles became liberated from colonial rule on June 29th 1976 contrary to what we have always been told that the real liberation took place on June 5th 1977.

As an adult, I now look back at our Independence Day and can better understand why there was so much jubilation and hope amongst the people. First, we were celebrating the birth of a new nation and our liberation from colonial rule but in my opinion the main reason for our celebration was the fact that after years of political rivalry and confrontation, we had closed the door on partisan politics and had entered a new era of hope and optimism for a brighter future under a united Seychellois coalition Government that represented the whole nation. On 29th June 1976, Seychelles had never been so unified and “koste” in its entire history.

Unfortunately, this joy, hope and unity lasted a mere 11 months.

I can remember the events of June 5th 1977 when the country was taken over by a small group of people led by Mr. France Albert Rene. I can still remember Rene’s voice on the radio the night of the coup and can recall the fear and confusion it conveyed. I remember threats being made to the SDP leaders and politicians. I remember politician being imprisoned. I remember armed “guerrillas” and “militias” patrolling our streets (I had never seen camouflage uniforms and AK-47 rifles before) and the night-time curfews. I remember my parents being scared to speak over the telephone in case it was being bugged. Even when speaking within the privacy our home, I remember my father always having to check to ensure there was no intruder eavesdropping on us. I can remember a multi-party democratic state being replaced by a one-party system. Upon reaching the age of 18, I can remember being given the choice to vote “YES” or “NO” for the ONE presidential candidate. I remember some of our fellow countrymen going mysteriously missing and being found dead in remote places.

The part that I remain most confused about till this day and I would be grateful if some kind person would enlighten me is as follows: If Mr. Michel has accepted that we were liberated from colonialism on June 29th 1976 and then on June 5th 1977 we lost our freedom of speech, freedom of expression, freedom of association, freedom to choose a political party, freedom of movement, freedom and right to live in our country for those who were banished into exile for years, how come we still call it “Liberation Day”? What have we been liberated from? Freedom?

It hurts me to see our small country today so bitterly divided along party lines when only 34 years ago we were living as ONE nation under a united coalition Government. What has happened over the last 33 years that has caused so much division and political resentment amongst our people? Perhaps it is the result of years of the pain caused by the freedom that was taken away from us on June 5th 1977.

Finally, the struggle to obtain our Independence from Britain in which the ruling party have always claimed to have played the biggest part of, will serve to no use if we allow our country to slip back into colonialism, this time as an Arab colony.

Contributed by a regular STAR follower


Patrick X said...

Indeed, we all remember the terror and fright from those days with curfew and people being called up on the radio to meet up at certain locations not knowing if one's own parents would be called and what the outcome would be. Militia patrolling, the fear of everyone with arms and the fear of not knowing who to trust. That fear lives on today amongst many Seychellois and that very fear is why many cannot come forward with their true ID even here.

Patrick X

Anonymous said...

I was not born at the time of independence so did not experience any of the events during and after (the coup d etat) it is good to read about it.

However it never ceases to amaze me how could anyone be against the idea of independence (let alone more than half of the population) as i understand were against it. No doubt (had i lived during those times) i would have been amongst those who wanted independence and probably an SPUP supporter.

The SBC (in the morning of today) showed some film footage of the time of independence. In one footage, Mancham is seen shouting to a crowd someting about whether they wanted independence (all cried no) and then sung some song "Lendepandans pa nou ki ti demande', song which he sung during the Presidential campaign of 2006 on the SNP platform. A stupid song, sung by a stupid guy. That is why i never could stomach Mancham, he may not have commited the human abuses of Rene, but he certainly does not inspire me.


Anonymous said...

The opinions in this article are exactly the same as mine. Albert Rene robbed us of our freedom that night and committed the worse crime against his own people. We have been abused ever since and to this day, that coward Rene still haunts many as he enjoys the millions he has stolen from the people of Seychelles. The man should be hanged in Victoria for treason and for robbing the Seychellois people of their dignity and pride, as well as for turning our lives into a nightmare overnight. Personally I cannot wait for that bastard to die so that we can start another chapter in our history. The same goes for Michel his fellow henchmen and all the other Spup-sppf murderers who have killed their fellow Seychellois. Their day will soon come and our God will be waiting to sentence them to burn in hell forever.

Anonymous said...

The people who were against total Independence had a valid argument at the time.

The only export was copra and cinnamon bark; the tourism industry was barely starting;communications and technology was archaic and patchy.The infrastructure in terms of a deep water port and an international airport were all non existent.There were serious concerns as to how such a tiny Country would survive without the help of Britain. Let's put this into context;they were asking for the same status from the UK that France had given to the neighbouring island of Reunion and the security and benefits that such status entails. It was more about practicality than anything else.

Unfortunately for those making the argument for intergration, they were making their argument at the same time that the Brits were starting to think of shrinking their empire and the African Independence movement was starting to gain strength with the support of Che and Castro.

The African Independence movement was more ideoligal than practical. Nevertheless it was also an ideology which had equal support to those who wanted the practical solution of integration.

Depending which side of the coin you choose, you could argue that Independence was a wonderful thing as it allowed a people the freedom to shape their destiny. By the same toke, it could be argued that some Countries were ill prepared for Independence and ended up with even worse problems than under colonialism.

On the other hand, one could look at 'La Reunion' which is an Indian Ocean Island but of French dependence and see the benefits of integration with the Colonial power.

Depending on your view point, the Independence versus Integration argument is similar to the age old connundrum of whether the glass was half full or half empty.

Anonymous said...

I was a teenager during the horrible years of this phony revolution. Life was hell in this Country. I gave up counting the number of times me and my friends were arrested and locked up by the Police and the army simply for being in a ‘group of four’ in public. This was against their law.

I gave up counting how many police cells I slept in simply for asking some threatening idiot in uniform, why? I got use to the butt of an AK47 crashing into my fragile backbone. I have watched in fear as some of my friend’s disappeared from the face of the planet, never to be seen again, nor to be investigated by the authorities. I guess it’s a bit rich to ask the perpetrators to investigate their own crime.

I have cried tears for good friends, tortured at the ‘political abattoir’ at Sans Soucis and then blown up to smithereens with grenades on a secluded beach. I have sat through the lies as their names and reputation was dragged through the mud. I dried my mother’s tears, as the army ransacked her house to shut up a son with a big mouth. I have endured Christmas and New Year celebrations in Police Cells at the invitation of his Excellency the Dictator. RSVP was not an option!

I have been summoned to State House for a dressing down on too many occasions that I care to remember with the exception of the one where the Defence Minister, sat in his luxurious offices, casually played with his pistol while interrogating me, with all the time, the barrel pointed at my forehead. In case I had any funny ideas, the two army guys either side of me also had their AK47 pointed at me.

These people try to break me and they couldn’t. They tried to intimidate me and they couldn’t. They tried to buy me, but I refuse to sell out my principles. They blacklisted me but I survived. Several times they tried to kill me, but I got lucky. In the end it was either lose my life, make my mother cry even more, or flee into Exile. For the love of my dear mother, I opted for exile abroad. For ten years, I experienced the brutality of Albert Rene’s revolution.

For ten years, he and his accomplices made my life hell. This is the so called liberation that I experienced. For the sake of moving forward,I have forgiven but will never be able to forget!

L said...


The question of independence was an issue of huge consequence to the Rasin people. Such momentous issues are rarely decided in a unanimous context and are almost always fiercely contested. Though when viewed retrospectively, it is hard to imagine that anyone could have opposed the endeavor that caused such division.

What is important about Mancham, besides the fact that he has no Rasin blood on his hands, is that he eventually did accept independence and the founding principle of our nation of Sesel Pou Seselwa. Then he brought his supporters with him however reluctantly they came. So it is dishonest of SBC to focus primarily on what Mancham believed and advocated before he accepted Sesel Pou Seselwa and independence. The issue must be fairly presented as a whole.

Mancham's acceptance of independence is the starting point of Sesel Pou Seselwa as our national founding principle and the recognition of we Seselwa Rasin as a distinct people: all of which the Collaborators betrayed on June 5th 1977

Island Boy said...

From the article it is clear that the politcal divide that exists today was conceived on 5th June 1977. So many people have endured physical, mental, moral and spiritual suffering since then(especially during the one-party era). Yet all this suffering and pain have never been acknowledged, let alone forgiveness sought by the people in power. It seems that all was part and parcel of their revolution. A revolution that has liberated us from our basic rights and freedom.

Instead of taking the initiative to bring Seychelles together by apologising for all the atrocities committed during the dictatorship, they launch a "Koste Seselwa" campaign as a mere PR exercise to fool the people in believing that they seek peace and unity whilst the opposition seek division. Hypocrites!

Patrick X said...

Anonymous(teenager then):

I was merely 4 years old at the time of the coup, but certainly remember the terror then and in the aftermath of it when everyone was afraid to talk openly let alone on the phone. Your story is powerful and I can imagine all the tears that your mother cried thinking that every time you walked walked out of the door it could be the last time she saw you again.

Many chose the same destiny as you did and opted foor exile rather than risk life or the lives of their kin. I think you did the right thing even if it meant the misery of never seeing you family again, not being able to bid a final farewell or simple things like wishing merry xmas to the ones you love. I left for different reasons, but indirectly also due to Rene's policies where private profitable companies were nationalised and the top jobs were given to to Rene's friends and allies, qualified or not.

The scars of the failed revolution are still well visible today and will most probably never disappear until the flesh ther are on has rotted away after decease. My friend, I wish you all the best of luck and may you have the strength needed to keep your head high and your conscience well above that of those cowards who ruined our country and its potential.

And for the twat who has the nerve to ask you to prove, with documentation, that you were forced to live in exile I say: Have a good look at yourself in the mirror and ask yourself if you are a true patriot of Seychelles for coming with such crap.

Patrick X

Anonymous said...

To Anonymous referring to my first post. I agree with you that the SBC purposely disregarded the fact that Mancham reluctantly accepted independence. However i used the word reluctantly because to my knowledge it was the Brits who forced this down Mancham's throat (i will later give evidence why Mancham still never really accepted that). My sources are the late Philip Moulinie, one historian (still in Civil Service) and a few others. In fact the British wanted to rid themselves of the Seychelles (there really was not any real struggle for independence, 4/5 years prior to 1976). Mancham finally accepted the idea when Albert Rene convinced that by accepting independence and Republic he (Mancham would be the President with his photos on stamps, currency...), that was a stroke of genius on the part of Rene because that allowed him to put the final stages to his coup d etat. Seychelles being an independent and republic it would proved to be more difficult for the Brits to intervene during the coup d etat, in any case there was no will power. I get the impression then that the
Brits were happier (despite of his leftist ideology) to deal with Rene than with Mancham. Once Mr Moulinie told me about a cocktail thrown by some Brit, where Mancham came late with a few blondes on his hands, this incident apparently cause quite some embarassement.

I am convinced that Mancham really never accepted the idea of independence because during the last Presidential elections in a few meeting organsised by SNP, Mancham sung that song Lendepandans pa nou ki ti demande, now either he really never accepted independence or he is off his rocker.

I read with emotion the post made by Anonymous recounting his ordeal. I am lucky never to have experienced that kind of brutality. There is a need for some form of investigation. However i would have hoped that some past politicians principally Maxime Ferrari (the Ferrari s generally) to come clean on their participation. Ferrari's book seems more like a tirade against Jaques Hodoul and Ferrari even through his proxy Soubiron's novel continued to attack Hodoul, which looks to be a reglement de comptes between him and Hodoul. Unfortunately not enough or nothing at all about the real issues.


Anonymous said...

If we rely on SBC to find out about the history of Seychelles, we should not be surprised that we have a distorted view of our history.

There was nothing wrong with opposing independence or the timing of independence at the time. Independent African countries had fallen into poverty (Mauritius) or one-party dictatorship (Kenya) or both (Tanzania). There was no need to rush Seychelles.

Bermuda held out against the "wind of change" and Tanzania's Nyerere's interference in other countries. There are very few Seychellois today who would thump their nose at Bermuda's success story. How many of us look at Reunion with envious glances ?

There were other models to pursue, other than outright independence. But for us, independence was inevitable given British foreign policy at the time and the OAU and UN decolonisation agitation. It was independence for independence's sake, although the experience of newly independent countries was far from encouraging. But the timing of our independence was definitely wrong.

Our painful political and economic experience of the last 34 years does raise the question whether we went for independence too early. In 1977, I would not have swapped a British governor for an unconstitutional president who had forced his way to power through a coup d'etat. I really struggle to understand the mentality of those who support the coup d'etat.

In any case until mid-1970s both Mancham and Rene were against independence. Didn't Rene and his supporters welcome Lord Shepherd waving placards calling for "Association with England". Rene started to openly advocate independence, after his party had lost yet another election (fairly and squarely) and his paymasters in the OAU were getting impatient with him. Had he won the 1974 elections, when the OAU funded his party, he would have forced independence on Seychelles without a vote.

Mancham was honest. Rene was typically dishonest.

At the very least, independence means taking control of your own destiny. After 33 years of SPPF, are we in control ? How many foreigners occupy key positions in our country. How many areas of our lives have been handed over to foreigners to manage ?

What we got was a phony independence. Maybe those people in SBC's favourite and overused clip were right all along.

Anonymous said...

What is the problem of Hon. Mancham standing in front of a big crowd of people back then saying no to independence? Nothing,in fact this photo shows us that the people of this country were able to express themselves freely and that the way it should be in any country.Whether they were shouting YES or NO it was a legitimate right they had, no one should question that.
Now can PP shows us one single photo were the people of this coumtry were shouting YES WE NEED A COUP D'ETAT?

Jeanne D'Arc

Anonymous said...

Jeanne D Arc, nothing wrong with Mancham advocating against independence then, what is wrong and somewhat absurd is that Mancham is still claiming not to want independence now i.e refer to him singing the famous anti independence song as late as in the 2006 Presidential Campaign. So is/was he for or against independence?


Anonymous said...

Hi Vox-

On the last comment, re Mancham and Independence, I agree.

You have a very good insightful mind.

C Gill

Anonymous said...

SBC plays this clip every year to continue the lie that Rene had a liberation movement that fought for independence against those who were against independence. I think Rene even claims there was an attempt on his life ! Someone probably pulled his kitenge shirt. Rene wants us to think that there was some sort of glorious independence struggle like in Kenya and India. He will have to try much harder to cleanse himself of his crimes against the country. Nothing I have seen or heard so far will clean the innocent Seychellois blood off his hands.

Anonymous said...

TIKLO Kreol Leo says that you Guys have no idea what you are are babbling about and have definitely lost the bloody plot or have lost your ways or both. Arrhhhhhh wee Seigneur!!!!!

It did not matter what Mancham or Rene said. Sir James as the First Minister should have held a Referendum where the Voters would have voted Yes or No on the subject of Independence for Seychelles. After all, we are the Judges, Juries and Executioners. Was that so bloody hard to organise?. What was the hidden Agenda?. Was it President for Life?. Why did Sir James not call for the due Elections?. He was the President, and Rene the Prime Minister and the Leader of the Opposition then who was the Leader of the Opposition?. I await your responces Gentlemen. In gras or i pa enkor gras?.

Now how the hell can Sir James come up with this poppy cock that "Lindepandans pa moi ki ti demande

Anonymous said...

MSR i a beast kin ganny konsevwar par en gouvernman SPPF enkonpetan e en en lopozisyon ki napa direksyon. listwar pou repet son lekor zis parey SPUP (now the oppressor)ti fer. Tou pou konmans byen e mon swete i kontir byen

Anonymous said...

Tiklo, I have spotted a yawning gap in your ignorance.

After Mancham realised that the British were forcing independence on Seychelles, he changed his stance and called a general election. The 1974 eletions were fought on both parties wanting independence.

You know what ? Rene lost yet again, and suffered a heavier defeat than before.

The people had decided on which party they wanted to take them into independence.

It is not inconceivable that the British would have handed over the country to whoever wanted independence, if Mancham had not changed his stance. After their defeat at Suez, the British had their tail between their legs and wanted to disengage quickly from any responsibility east of the Suez Canal.

What do we see today ? We see former British Premier Tony stomping all over Africa lecturing African countries on good governance.

If British politicians do not think that today African leaders are capable of governing themselves in a proper way, what made them think in the 1970s that they were ?

We have seen in Seychelles that Rene was absolutely clueless on how to govern a country.

With so many foreigners now running the country, our independence has been somewhat illusory. Wouldn't you say ?

Anonymous said...

Who are the "Foreigners running the Country" anonimouse?.

Explain also if you can now come SPUP's 49% of the Primary Votes resulted in them having only three seats and SDP with 51% of the votes, resulted in 15 seats?.

Was it not the system stacked against the SPUP?.

Who was the Leader of the Opposition at Independence?.

What is the difference between a One Party Coalition State of the First Republic and a One Party State of the Second Republic?.

You still fail to grasp the real issue here Bougla. Did Mancham and Rene given the permission by the Seychellois through a Referendum Yes or No on the issue of Indepedence from Greatg Britain?. The answer is a big FAT NO.

Who removed her Majesty's face on our stamps to put his own a la Jomo Kenyatta the President for life?.

Would you like to know why the Coup D'etat had to happen?.

And it is amazing how our good friend Patwick X still cannot see why curfew and phone bugs were required. The covert operations worked wonders in the same way it did with the Room 412 escapades.

Anonymous said...

And by the way Anionimous, how did you come to your conclusion that "Independence was forced on use by Britain?." Aret bat latet ou prochain sil vous plait!!!!!.

Anonymous said...

Tiklo we did not want a Coup D'etat.You no why?Because we were already a Democratic State,if anyone was not happy with what ever was there should had express them self Democratly or by demostration etc..Like MSR are doing,but not by Coup E'etat and not by a group of CRIMINELS.YOU bam head.About phone bugs those Criminels was afraid of there Shadow,that some one will come and do the same with them a COUP D'ETAT like Rene,Michel and co did.Room 412 The same group of criminels pay a agent to kill Gerard Houreau in England.May be some Irish was involed in it.Now there are geting there pay back from Michel and PP.


Patrick X said...

I can't believe that there are people today who are still justifying the blood spilled during and after the coup. And whoever you are, Anonymous, who justifies the buggings and the killings, ref 412, I can only say that I pity you for either being so stupid or so damn ignorant that you still believe in the failed revolution.

Had Rene won power through the ballot box he would have had my full respect. Alas he was such a bad loser that he had to use bullets and terrorize his people in order to keep power.

Patrick X

Anonymous said...

Interesting debate. One point you all miss. A Colony has the purpose of strategically or economically benefiting the Coloniser (The Metropolitan)!

As soon as the colony becomes a liability it is dispensable. No amount of begging and pleading can change this.

I don't get you guys. On one hand you talk of pride and not begging from Arabs etc. Then you say that begging the English would have given you a good life.

Anonymous said...

You can not compare the British with Arabs.The different is that we were a colony for 160 years of Britain with Arabs we don't have anything in common be it our culture,traditions,ways of life and so on.Note that one reason also why we wanted independent was because the British wanted to biuld a nuclear base in our living room on Aldabra.

Coup d'ETAT can not be justified in any way in a democracy because the victim is the state.It is directed against constitution and neither against individual nor against an office.On the contary,if a country is being ruled by a group of people who refute their people rights,like PP has been practicing for the last four decades and refute democtratic procedures than a Coup D'Etat can be justifies to restore democracy.

Jeanne D'Arc

Island Boy said...

SPUP/SPPF and PP have spent the last 33 years trying to justify the Coup D'État using a myriad of excuses such as (1) Mancham's housing policy was not good enough, (2) Mancham wanted to be president for life (3) Mancham was a playboy who was always travelling and never in the country, (4) a small group of people took over the country then asked Mr. Rene to lead them (what a load of baloney), etc. The reasons keep changing from speech to speech. So can the Coup D'Etat be really justified? The answer is clearly NO, because (1) not enough time was given to the first Government to allow it to implement its programme let alone reap its benefits. We cannot expect any result in 11 months - this Government still has not been able to deliver loads of promises in 33 years in power, (2) we cannot replace a democratic system with a dictorship and call it liberation and freedom, (3) The Coup was a vialotion of the constitution, (4) It involved loss of human lives, (5) the claims that Mancham wanted to be president for life was a mere speculation as no such motion had been tabled in the assembly. (6) The Coup D'Etat had been planned well before the Independence day as SPUP personnel were sent to undo military training in Tanzania only days later. So whether Mancham was a playboy or not or whether his housing programme was good or bad, and whether it is true he wanted to become president for life would not have really mattered after all as Rene had already set his sights on becoming the next president by any means.

EL said...

All Rene wanted was to become super powerful (a dictator answers to no one) and consequently, super rich. It has always been just about fulfilling his personal ambition, whatever the consequences for the people and country. This would not be possible in a democracy, and especially not if Seychelles had remained a British dependency.

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