2015 Presidential Election Special– 3.The other fight; defining the political landscape, 2016


Viral Dhanhee
OPINION:
2015 Presidential Election Special– 3.The other fight; defining the political landscape, 2016
The other fight -All NEW presidential hopefuls have another very important fight before the election day. Remember the infamous rhyme ‘’En vote pou Ralph Volcere and a vote for Philip Boulle is a vote pou James Michel’’? Wavel will be playing that unsubstantiated tune again, and at an opportune moment that does not allow the president hopefuls targeted to respond in any way. All candidates would be smart to come out and warn the nation of Wavel’s coming battle cry, how unintelligent and inaccurate this statement is, but to expect it from Wavel.

Wavel’s strategy has always been to absorb any opposition under his wing prior to the first round of the elections, under the guise of unity equaling strength! While I can understand the motivation for Wavel spouting such nonsense, I have never been able to understand why people buy it and fall for it. Wavel viciously targets those who ignore his call of unity under his and his party’s banner, his aim always to be the sole opposition candidate against JAM in the first round. Through this tactic, all other parties and independent candidates are denied the chance of knowing their real strength and number of votes they can pull.

By being the sole candidate against JAM, Wavel, by default, has historically attracted all who would vote against JAM, yet these are not necessarily votes of support; not necessarily voters who would prefer to cast their votes for another opposition candidate given half the chance. By seeking to be the only person to stand against JAM, Wavel has always managed to guarantee his political future. It is always all about him and never about encouraging formation of a new political landscape.
Wavel gives little-to-no regard for the numerous, and very important advantages, of sending the election into a second round will bring to the country and our democracy. Wavel will definitely be playing this card of his and will continue to do so as long as the only thing he seeks is the chair of the Leader of Opposition in the Seychelles. As long as his only political objective remains reclamation of his desired position as virtually permanent Leader of Opposition in the Assembly, and to also replace the current ‘fake’ one. Multiple candidates drastically increase the chance of the election going into a second round.

Wavel and his SNP claim 45% of the voters. 45% is the figure of voters who would never ever vote for SPPF/PL, but also includes all voters who then voted for Wavel when there was no other choice. The maths changes this time.

It is not a matter of ‘’Unity is Strength’’ but rather ‘’the more voices the better’’, and ‘’more eyes are better than just one pair’. Multiple candidates assure there will be many voices, all having equal airtime to ask and answer vital questions, voice the pain and problems we face as a nation and propose solutions, an option voice denied by the SBC always. Multiple candidates also ensure there will be more and better supervision throughout the campaign period and voting day, particularly at polling stations.

The various opposition parties could have met a number of times over the last few months in an attempt to form a single common force to fight JAM in the Presidential Elections. I am personally
glad the idea never took root, and am proud to have played my part to stop this from happening. I am all for all opposition contestants to provide, in the second round, all necessary support and backing for opposition candidates to make it to a second round, but for democracy, and for the people of the Seychelles, I would support the multi-candidate scenario in the first round, and always in any election having a two-round process.

Focused support for opposition candidates making it to a second round can only come naturally from an atmosphere of entente and cordial relationships. This is why I had asked everyone, particularly the older parties, to extend a hand of encouragement and help the newer ones so all can make the contribution they seek to make in the first round. This should include organizational assistance and helping them get the required 500 signatures necessary. Instead, we find SNP telling their supporters off for helping the new, yet-to-establish parties. In a second round, SNP would naturally expect support from parties it never supported or helped or had cordial relationship with. Guys, if you understand the logic of Wavel and his SNP then you are miles ahead of me, for to this day the only thing I see is the total absence of any strategic planning.

On The Meeting of Heads and Minds.
Why the HEADS and MINDS OF THE VARIOUS OPPOSITION PARTIES COULD NOT MEET TO OBTAIN THEIR OBJECTIVES to have a joint common force against JAM, is a story on its own. Whether that objective to form a joint common force was strategically right or wrong is not of importance here. WHAT IS OF IMPORTANCE IS THAT THEY COULD NOT AGREE.
Even from the start it was clear it could never be. Coming from very different backgrounds and for different reasons and having opposing DNA, they could never and will never be able to agree on the modalities of a joint force. It was a mistake to undertake such a task, as it only served to amplify their differences. The common objective (of removing JAM from power) was never on the agenda, but would have been if, from the onset, there had been mutual respect and support. As it is, certain political parties come down hard on their supporters who dare sign the nomination of other opposition candidates. I cannot see where this would have hurt them, but for sure the stand they took eventually will.

The only thing discussed each time was who they wanted as presidential candidate. The only thing they had in common was their ego and each wanting the seat of power. The country was never the main concern; the change the electorate wants, never the focus. The fact that they would not agree to form a united front says one thing -- that they do not really have a problem with JAM and SPPF/PL, as much as they would have with each other.

Defining the Political Landscape, 2016
Whether or not any party has taken part in any previous National Assembly elections, and their performance there if elected, is of paramount importance to a large percentage of the electorate when deciding who to vote for in the Presidential Election. These same voters would favour a united front in those National Assembly elections, as it is a first-past-the-post system of voting. The presidential hopefuls would do well to remember this if they are serious about having any political life after the

2015 Presidential Elections
As the big day approaches, the vital question in the hearts and mind of everyone is: ‘Will the different parties come together to support the opposition party that makes it to the second round?’ The fact the opposition parties spent so much time and energy discussing, then failing to come up with a single leader to face SPPF/Pl in this election has left a bitter taste in the mouths of so many. With 'who gets to be in charge' being the prime motivator, it is no wonder nothing was achieved. Had the agenda been ‘’ Change now/ Change at all cost/ Seychelles First’’ we would have seen the rise of this force in the second round. I get the feeling the lack of tact in dealing with and building sound working and friendly relationships with all new political parties can only be a disadvantage.
While, in the coming Presidential Election, all focus seems to be on recreating the Big Bang, get a new leader and a new political party in power, other advantages on offer are, as in all previous Presidential Elections, neglected once again. At the very minimum, two things should come out of this Presidential Election.

That it should, for the first time in the history of the Third Republic, be thrown into a second round.
That at least one other opposition force emerges to help break up this unhealthy (for the nation) political divide that permanently exists in the country. It does not necessarily have to be a big force, but one that holds the balance of power, one that would change the political landscape and bring sanity to politics in the country. This time round it is possible, as many people/parties have totally rejected the idea of existing under the flag and banner of Wavel and his SNP. What remains to be done now is to bring together all opposition votes, those not Wavel’s and not SNP’s to create that second opposition force.

10th November 2015
Viral V. Dhanjee, Union Vale

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