“I am always Seychelles’ roving ambassador,” says Mancham


02-June-2012

Mr Mancham talking to the press yesterday in the presence of Ms Murray

Mr Mancham, who was speaking on the eve of leaving for his trip to London, said he had always held Queen Elizabeth in high esteem and when he received a request from President James Michel to represent him and the Seychellois people at the Diamond Jubilee, he readily accepted.

He said the irony is that he was in London to attend Queen Elizabeth’s Silver Jubilee in 1977 when he was deposed as President.

Mr Mancham said he sees in President Michel’s initiative a genuine effort towards the “national reconciliation process”, as well as a “grandeur d’esprit” and “political maturity.”
He said he welcomes President Michel’s bold move at putting Seychelles First and bringing this endeavour to the highest level.

Responding to a question on a move a few years ago to have him appointed ambassador-at-large but which did not materialise, Mr Mancham said that whatever happens he always conducts himself as the country’s roving ambassador.

“Whether endorsed by the National Assembly or not, I have always been Seychelles’ ambassador-at-large. Everyone knows that,” he said.

Earlier this month, the former President had accepted an invitation from the African Commission to lead an observer group to monitor the Egyptian presidential election. This, Mr Mancham noted, in the aftermath of last year’s Arab Spring was the first free ballot in Egypt since the era of the Pharaos and more recently military-backed dictatorships.

Mr Mancham noted that his group was small and, considering the logistics involved in covering polling stations over such a large country, it was decided to focus on the bigger picture.

He deemed the election as one “openly and transparently conducted”, an opinion shared by former US President Jimmy Carter, who led a 80-man mission from his Carter Centre.  Another notable presence in Cairo for the presidential poll was that of former Mauritian President Cassam Uteem, who led an observer group from Southern Africa.

Mr Mancham said it was also significant in that nobody, including the losers, contested the results.

He said that it is also relevant for Seychelles.

“Whenever a candidate or party decides to contest an election, they agree to play according to the rules of the electoral game and should not shout disagreement after the results are proclaimed, just because they have lost,” he said.

Also present at yesterday’s interview, which took place at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, was Michelle Murray, director of international relations division in that ministry.

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