Tuesday, 31 May 2016

THE DAY OF RECKONING

THE DAY OF RECKONING, is upon us.
In a couple of hours’ time, later this morning the Seychelles Constitutional Court will pronounce on the Presidential Election petition before it.
Who will be the victors?
What lessons are there to learn from this event and things/failures that led to it? Who failed?
Have the people been failed?
Will there be any regrets?
The wait has been long. Today all await with much anxiety and trepidation.
This landmark case is sure to still have ripples years down the line, long after a number of heads have rolled. The case and its rulings will have huge implications on various levels. Whilst the case clearly defines the petitioner and the defendants, the case has a direct and immediate importance for the life of the nation, for democracy and the people and these will have been a major consideration when the hammer finally falls later. It is the people and democracy that have been the biggest losers these past few elections.
What exactly would constitute a victory or a loss? For whom?
Everyone has an opinion on what the verdict will be but the truth is that the outcome is difficult to know. Whilst both sides (parties who contested the 2nd. Round) have called their supporters down for the occasion, by a sleek move the CJ diffused the potential explosive gathering by having live airing of the proceedings on both the TV and Radio. Even given the fact that the people, by any standard, are very docile and peaceful and totally against violence, the preventing of a concentration of potential explosive mix of feelings, tempers and colours is a welcomed preventive move. Hopefully the police force nationwide will emulate the CJ and take the necessary precautions to keep the peace nationwide.
For that reason it is probably best that the part of the case that deals with the life of the nation and democracy, i.e. the defiance in the electoral process be dealt with first and hard. And leave the climax for last. That I think will be the order that will be followed.
Stress and threats must be made if necessary (in the ruling) that changes must be made in the electoral process and that the Electoral Commission and Commissioner as well as the national Assembly be held to task. Threats mainly because last year the EC chose to ignore the court’s order to provide an electronic version of the voters list, until JAM gave the go ahead weeks later. Putting the country in such predicament must be avoided at all cost and peace must always prevail. I suspect that this is the line of thinking that will be the order of the day as this creates the feeling of some victory for democracy.
I do not expect the CJ to be particularly amused that the bench would have been robbed of the chance to call a recount. Such a ruling would have been rendered utterly useless as a number of
voting boxes were not sealed and that in some cases the official voters list used in the voting station were not inappropriately kept which meant that they could easily have given rise to tampering. Established procedures were, it seems, deliberately not followed.
Clearly the ruling would also move to close any gaps (if any) in the laws and court regulations that allows or rejects evidences so that proper justice can be delivered
National Peace being so important is in fact what, in my opinion, is a major factor in this case. – one that is not and could not be presented in evidence. Link that to the fact that it is not the easiest thing to un-sit a sitting president and you get the impression that if there was/is any threat of major disturbance then in all probability fresh elections would be ordered. Seeing such a calm and peaceful populace on one hand and on the other a set of leaders who call for calm and tranquillity (of a docile peaceful population on top of that!) and is already getting the people to focus on the second chance (the NA Elections in a couple of months) clears the way for the ruling in favour of retaining the current president.
What business the set of leaders had calling the peaceful and docile population to calm, these last few weeks? It is most objectionable that they would assume this pious and righteous image. What was the need to ask a perfectly peaceful population to calm. That was totally unnecessary. You don’t call people out for disturbance and violence; but none have the right to presume the worst and call for calm. Do you find the ruling party calling for calm and tranquillity? These guys have no problem bashing people’s head in.
Yes the people are angry, very angry. Not only are the people angry with the regime in place for having to play on an uneven electoral playing field, and with the Electoral Commission for the same reasons, but the masses are especially angry with their own leadership for allowing this situation to persist. The people are angry because the electoral list is statistically impossible. This would have directly caused the opposition to lose all lections since 2002; yet the opposition leadership comes out saying that there is nothing wrong with the electoral list. Just do the maths – we have more voters than population. Why would the opposition not seek to make the necessary correction to that voters list. It was so easy to do so with the previous Electoral Act. One just cannot stop wondering why?
The masses are also angry that this new Electoral Act that came in force in May 2015, (an Act imposed by JAM and which bore no resemblance to the work of the joint commission) and which was a major step backwards was not only never challenged in court (and that would have had the effect of delaying any elections) but it was sold as a step forward.
The masses are angry with their leadership who were absent in the NA when the Bill for the New Electoral Act was proposed (because of a miss guided boycott of the 2011 elections). If they were in the assembly they could have fought against the Act in the current form. They may not have won but they could have put up a massive fight, made much noise and educate themselves and the masses about what was/is lacking in that Act.
The masses are angry about the boycott of 2011 elections that produced no results, but then boycott of elections as a tool to remove entrenched dictatorship has never ever been effective anywhere. The masses also angry that TWO YEARS were spent drafting the new act which was just
simply ignored by JAM, who imposed his own version. Clearly that two year sitting is what should have been boycotted as the other key person (JAM) refused to participate from start.
The masses are also very angry that the leaders who would have cross over from PL/SPPF and who, in past elections, would have used certain fraudulent tactics to win elections did not use the same tactics in opposition’s favour nor did they prevent the ruling party using it. That would have had made all the difference then.
Clearly the masses have many concerns and reasons to be mad. However all expressions of the same will be dampened because of the pending NA Elections, and the hope of a final win then --if as I believe there is no third round.
Heads will only roll after that and the 2020 Presidential Elections will be something new -- hopefully democratic and transparent on an even playing field. There’s lots of expectations in the air.
Viral Dhanjee
Union Vale
31st. May, 2016

2 comments:

  1. Don't hold your breath for any expectation, the shenanigans have been there for all to see. Who could expect CJ Mathida Towmey to go against her previous ruling that 'votes cast' means 'valid votes'? who in his or her wildest dream would expect CJ Mathilda Towmey to suspend President Michel when she herself administered the oath of office. Judiciary in Seychelles has never been independent and never will.

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  2. Call it land of shenanigans or whatever but it is true, where in the world you'll see the same judge sits on Appeal Court and also sits on Constitutional Court when it suits the occasion? Only in Seychelles.

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