Seychelles’ first woman presidential candidate
Lawyer Alexia Amesbury says it is time for Seychelles to have a President that is “honest, compassionate and has integrity.
Many were surprised when rumours that well-known human rights lawyer Alexia Amesbury was going to run for elections first started. And then Lalyans Seselwa announced its registration and took centre stage. On Monday afternoon, the Seychelles Party for Social Justice and Democracy led by Mrs Amesbury obtained confirmation of its registration.
And yesterday she came out and said the words: “Alexia Amesbury: Presidential candidate”. But why? Why does a woman who is known chiefly for her uncompromising battles in court – as well as her determination to fight for the underdog – suddenly decide to run for president? “Because it is no longer sufficient to fight injustices through the courts”, she told TODAY. “It is no longer sufficient to fight corruption by denying its existence. The battle must now continue in the political arena.”
But what are her chances as a novice to the political scene? Alexia Amesbury admits she has no money and knows that this is the reason “many thought I would not run”. Then what has changed? What will turn her from lawyer to politician? “I have asked myself this question, I have asked – what is a politician? Somebody who has experience in corruption? Someone who has experience amassing vast amounts of property? Someone who has experience making false promises to the people? I don’t have those. But honesty, integrity and compassion I have and I say now is the time for Seychellois to choose a leader who has compassion”.
Does this mean that she believes that the other politicians in the opposition don’t have the qualities she claims she has? “I am saying this is me, I am not referring to anybody else. I don’t want to offend others”, she says.
A video detailing her party’s manifesto (as opposed to the manifesto for the elections) has already been posted on YouTube. She believes that it explains why she decided to take the leap and the battles she intends to fight: “When we need permission from the Commissioner of Police to have a picnic on the beach, we are not free. When the wealth and riches of our nation is in the custody and possession of all powerfully elected and unelected ruling party, we are destitute. When State media is operated as a party political propaganda machine for the ruling party, we are silenced. When the opposition in the National Assembly is a lackey of the ruling party, the third branch of government is a charade. When judicial appointments are not based on constitutional criteria, we are denied a fair hearing by an independent and impartial judiciary.”
With Something Inside So Strong, the song written by Labi Siffre, playing in the background, the clip goes on to affirm: “When Executive authority is vested in the hands of one person, and that power is abused, we have an ‘elected’ dictatorship. When state institutions are monopolized to enact laws that benefit a select few, our institutions are dysfunctional, and dysfunctional institutions breed corruption. When corruption becomes an acceptable currency for doing business, our economic and fiscal policies are shams. When democracy has been reduced to a tiresome routine that involves electing the same rulers every five years, with the same difference and indignity, our democracy is a façade”.
Yesterday, the leader of the Seychelles National Party (SNP), Wavel Ramakalawan, reacted positively on social media to news of Mrs Amesbury’s new party. “It is a pleasure to welcome another opposition party in the fight for justice and democracy in our country. There are so many ways of skinning a cat in a democratic manner and I have always believed that if everyone put in his/her two cents, we would achieve the ultimate goal and make our country a better place. All the very best Alexia and team”, Mr Ramkalawan said, adding that the SNP had been fighting a lonely battle for too long. “I was getting a little tired of repeating the same credo for change in the country. Now we have Lalyans Seselwa of Ton Pat, a group that was in there telling the people what was happening from within and Alexia, a hard fighter for human rights, taking it from another angle”.
Mrs Amesbury said she was pleased with the SNP’s welcome. “I feel they have accepted me as an equal or someone who will bring change. Maybe they realize what my qualities are. I am surprised and happy”. Asked whether she would consider allying herself at some point to one or more of the opposition parties, Mrs Amesbury said, “it is time for us to focus on things that unite us and forget things that divide us. This is our destination and it should be a joint destination”.
A more in-depth interview of Alexia Amesbury and her motivations will be published in a future edition.
You can view her party manifesto on https://www.youtube.com/ watch?v=4V7h83xH2t8
Source: Today.sc 5-13-15