Africa: St. Ange unfazed by insults, as campaign heats up towards Seychelles general elections

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Former Minister of Tourism of Seychelles, Alain St. Ange has brushed aside barbs and unsavory remarks being thrown at him, particularly from his rivals in the lead up to the Seychelles Presidential elections.

According to St. Ange, “One Seychelles is neither left nor right, we are steering straight through the middle. Our only direction is forwards, not sideways.”

Alain St. Ange is a celebrated tourism expert, respected all over the world. He was a candidate for the post of Secretary-General of the UNWTO in 2017.

A much sought after speaker at various international conferences and recipient of several international awards and honours, St. Ange was listed on the African 100 Tourism Global Personalities at the Akwaaba African Travel Market 2019 in Lagos, Nigeria.

Alain St. Ange is currently the candidate of the One Seychelles political party for the coming presidential elections.

Below is a full statement by Alain St. Ange.

A handful of aggressively vocal individuals hailing mainly from one political party have recently taken to the ONE SEYCHELLES Facebook Page (@enselsesel) to engage in petty name-calling and insults.

Unfortunately, this unbecoming behavior has become normalized for these individuals, for they subscribe to the “ek nou, pa ek nou” culture that has been encouraged by their political party for many years. Perpetrators are few and far between, but we pointedly decline each time to respond in kind.

There has been a marked increase this week, however, indicating that other political activists are concerned and becoming increasingly distressed by the momentum ONE SEYCHELLES is gaining every single day.

A trend has been noticed over time in the content of the snide comments being flung in our direction, like tiny missiles that woefully miss the mark each time. They reflect the extent of indoctrination by their leaders that appears to have been taking place since the ONE SEYCHELLES political party established itself as a worthy contender in the 2020 elections.

The three main “insults” being launched repeatedly are:

  1. That I am a chameleon because I have changed my political alliances in the past.
  2. That my purpose, and that of my Party, is merely to dilute the votes for LDS and that we will ultimately side with President Faure.
  3. Where have I been all this time?

Though I am loathe to pay lip service to cheap political maneuvering by other politicians who perpetuate these snide remarks – and have little of substance to say about ONE SEYCHELLES because we have come to the arena with clean hands, without the negative baggage that hampers other politicians, with a fresh and innovative manifesto filled to the brim with new ideas and solutions to steer the country into the right direction, and with unparalleled motivation and passion to act for the benefit for ALL Seychellois, rather than just a handful – I felt it necessary to set the record straight directly and in the no-nonsense style that I am accustomed to.

With regard to the first insult, I fail to see how changing political alliances is a weakness.

If nothing else, it is a strength. Former Leader of the Opposition, Mr Ramkalawan, stated in a televised conference that it is not a crime to change political alliances, and that movement between parties is normal.

LDS came into existence on the back of other alliances and movements between party members, deriving from Parti Seselwa, UO and SNP. President Faure has famously distanced himself from the SPUP/ SPPF/ Lepep movements, creating a new movement of his own.

I have worked with both the SPPF and the SNP, seen first-hand where they have failed, the flaws in their policies, the confusion in their priorities, and have seen for myself that both Parties’ (rather, the derivatives thereof) leadership candidates are, in my humble opinion, unsuitable prospects for Leadership of our proud Nation, in terms of temperament, policy, skill set, basic knowledge-base, qualifications, and what is truly motivating them yet again to put their name forwards for the Presidential post.

Now, regarding the second accusation: ONE SEYCHELLES did not enter the race for higher office to split the opposition vote. We came to change the culture of local politics, and to bring REAL CHANGE for Seychellois by taking the reins and saving our crumbling tourism industry, and our weak agriculture and fisheries sectors, by doing what no other political party can and that no other party has proposed: we shall be giving effect to a technocrat-led government, comprising qualified Seychellois at the helm of their respective departments and ministries who have been selected on the basis of MERIT, and not nepotism or favor-giving.

If we were to align with any Party that has been in the arena for decades, we would have to grapple with the issue of them having promised key leadership positions to their friends and loyalists; it would dilute the very purpose of what we are striving to achieve.

If we wanted to support any of the other candidates, we would have done so already. We are offering what they are not; our policies are different, our values and priorities are not aligned. ONE SEYCHELLES is neither left nor right, we are steering straight through the middle.

Our only direction is forwards, not sideways.

With regard to the third accusation, namely where have I been all this time? This is the most perplexing one, and an indication that those who fling insults of this caliber are truly grasping at straws. I have been working for Seychelles.

I have been working hard and diligently within my Ministerial posts, bringing much needed revenue to our economy and boosting our tourism industry to a height that we had never seen before. I was instrumental in putting Seychelles on the global map.

This cannot be denied, nor can the same be said for other politicians. To discount my successes and progress within the industry over the past decade is to wear blinkers and to feign ignorance.

What ultimately prompted my re-entry into the political arena was a myriad of factors, not limited to a deep distrust in, and dissatisfaction with, the two main political parties that had been vying for the Top Job for decades.

Their misplaced priorities and their actions that appeared to be geared towards naked self-interest, were sidelining the marginalized and oppressed members of society; poverty rates were ever on the increase and little of substance was being done to alleviate the suffering of people who had blindly voted these politicians into power time and time again.

People are unhappy, and people are angry. Seychellois deserve better; they deserve a fresh approach to governance, free from discriminatory acts and nepotism within Government. Parties and their candidates should be more concerned with placating the electorate that they have been pointedly ignoring and neglecting since the last elections.

They should not be concerning themselves to this extent with what ONE SEYCHELLES is doing, or their sense of direction will be even further compromised than it presently is.

On our part, we shall do what we have always been doing: we shall continue to march forwards.

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