Mancham interacts with tomorrow’s leaders


The SYLP participants in a souvenir photograph with Mr Mancham

This was at the invitation of Lucy Athanasius, pro-vice chancellor of the University of Seychelles.

In fact, the participants of the third cohort (24 in all) had especially expressed their wish to talk to Mr Mancham on the question of Seychelles’ political emancipation for independence, about leadership and the vision for the future of Seychelles.

They were specifically interested to learn more about Mr Mancham's thoughts on the coup d'état of June 1977, about his personal agenda for the development of Seychelles, about his affiliation with the British, about his analysis on the current situation in Seychelles and his own ideas of how to move forward.

Mr Mancham said that all these were pertinent points which he could answer from memory and proceeded to deal with the headings one by one. In brief, he stated that education was the most important requirement for a democratic government to work.

"If you deliver a gun to someone before teaching him how to handle it, there is the possibility that he could use it against himself," Mr Mancham said.

That is why he welcomed the opportunity of interacting with the participants of the SYLP from whom, he stated, will come tomorrow's leaders.

Questioned as to the growing relationship between Seychelles and the UAE, Mr Mancham said that the importance of having a UAE which is pro-actively friendly towards Seychelles should not be underestimated.

"We need the goodwill of these people more than they need ours. The value of the friendly disposition of Sheikh Khalifa, the Crown Prince, and others towards us must be understood and appreciated. For example, without their encouragement and support, there would have been no marriage of Air Seychelles with Etihad Airways."

Ideally, Mr Mancham said in 10 years’ time he would like to see a Seychelles governed more or less like Switzerland, where the President rotates from year to year - and the country is in fact governed by a cabinet which at all times put the interest of Switzerland before that of its "cantons" and "individuals".

Mr Mancham said that so long as President James Michel is committed to reconciliation and fundamental changes, all support must be given to him to bring this about in an atmosphere of stability.

Noting that "the devil we know is better than the one we don't know", Mr Mancham said we should never take the risk of going for a "cure" which has the potential of proving worse than the "disease".

On arrival at the School of Education, Mr Mancham was met by Hazel Julie, administrator of the SYLP. Afterwards, Mr Mancham was specially welcomed by Elvis Naya on behalf of the participants and the university.

The participants expressed the wish of more encounters and discussions with the former President.