Alain St Ange v Seychelles government | 19 November 2019
St Ange wins case against government over pulled UNWTO candidacy
Alain St Ange has won his case against the Seychelles government for withdrawing his candidacy for the post of secretary-general of the United Nations World Tourism Organisation in 2017 at the last minute.
Yesterday, Supreme Court Judge Melchior Vidot ruled in favour of former Tourism, Civil Aviation, Ports and Marine Minister St Ange in his case against the government, awarding him damages in the sum of R164,396.14 (approximately US $12,000).
Mr St Ange resigned from his ministerial post in December 2016 to take part in the election but his candidacy was pulled by the government two days before the elections following demands made by the African Union.
The decision to withdraw St Ange’s candidature for the post of secretary-general of the United Nations World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO) was taken by government after severe pressure from the African Union which threatened economic sanctions against Seychelles if it did not cancel the latter’s nomination. The government caved in and recalled Mr St Ange only two days before the election was due to take place in Madrid, Spain.
According to Mr St Ange, he has already instructed his lawyer Frank Elizabeth to appeal against the quantum of damages only, as he feels that it does not reflect his expenses, pain, humiliation and psychological damage that the decision caused him.
The plaintiff has 14 days to make an appeal case before the Seychelles Court of Appeal.
Speaking to the press on May 10, 2017, Vice-President Vincent Meriton explained that the government received a note verbal from the African Union dated May 8, 2017 asking the government to remove its candidate for the post of secretary- general of the UNWTO.
He also admitted that there had been a lack of communication among concerned parties, procedures had not been followed and the candidate not properly advised before submitting his candidature to take part in the race for the UNWTO secretary general position.
Former minister St Ange, who was among the leading candidate after Georgian Zurab Pololikashvili, said he is disappointed Africa has lost its only chance at leading the world body.
“I believe it is a sad day for Africa because Africa had the chance for the first time ever to lead a world body, now they are losing the chance because of silly, domineering, dictatorial politics,” said Mr St Ange immediately after his candidature was removed.
The other candidate was Zimbabwean Walter Mzembi.
The elections for the post of secretary-general of the UNWTO were held on Friday May 12 in Madrid, during the 105th session of the UNWTO executive council and members voted for Zurab Pololikashvili from Georgia.
Compiled by Gerard Govinden