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Sifco’s message ahead of 2020 general elections | 24 September 2020

“As we approach the date of the 2020 National Assembly and Presidential elections, the managing committee members of the Seychelles Interfaith Council Organisation (Sifco) would like to share with our Seychellois brothers and sisters a common message.

 

General remarks

-          We recognise and are guided by the ‘Constitution of the Republic of Seychelles’dated June 21, 1993;

-          We reaffirm with the Constitution of Seychelles (art 115.3) that “the Electoral Commission shall not be subject to the direction or control of any person or authority in the performance of the function of the Commissioner under this Constitution”;

-          We distinguish between ‘politics’ (that is the art and science of directing and administering government) and ‘political parties’ (that is the organised and registered groups seeking for leadership of government);

-          We recognise that Seychelles is a secular State, that is, one which distinguishes between the political and the religious spheres of society;

-          This does not preclude collaboration between State and other institutions especially religious organisations on various subjects of public interest, which can be of great value for the promotion of the common good of Society;

-          In effect, religious faiths believe in values based on their Sacred writings which can enlighten the political organisation of all societies;

-          We claim that religious bodies in the Republic of Seychelles can intervene to promote the fundamental values which should be adhered to by all political parties seeking to be elected;

-          We affirm that every citizen be free to exercise his/her responsibility to vote according to her/his conscience and free will.

 

A call to all citizens who have the right to vote

-          To vote on Election Day is not only a right, it is a duty and responsibility of a citizen.

-          We must therefore exercise our right to vote in a peaceful and well thought-out way;

-          We need to consider each candidate’s worth and whether she/he is a person of proven integrity and high repute. Is the candidate a mature person, with sufficient experience of life and leadership; does the candidate have a wider vision of society, that is, can she/he see beyond the issues of her/his own party in order to promote the wider common good of society;

-          Any self-respecting voter never sells her/his vote in exchange for any kind of advantage or favour. To exchange or sell one’s vote is contrary to our dignity as citizens and works against the interest of other citizens.

-          We vote to elect women and men who are willing to give their time and energy, and even more, to promote the common good of our Nation.

 

An appeal to candidates and political parties

As the electoral campaign unfolds, we make a special appeal to the leaders of political parties and to the candidates.

  1. Often during electoral campaigns the social peace of the country is put to the test, thus creating a sense of insecurity in society. Our sincere desire is that the present electoral campaign takes place in an atmosphere of peace and mutual respect without violence, personal attacks and character denigration;
  2. We encourage leaders to promote responsible use of social media.
  3. We call upon politicians to raise the standard of political life by their restraint and conciliatory attitude during the electoral campaign;
  4. We urge the leaders and the general public to receive the outcome of the results peacefully and with maturity.
  5. We call upon the leaders to be selfless in their service to the nation. To accept the possibility of public office in politics is a personal challenge; when accepted it demands the highest standard of personal integrity and responsibility. Engagement in politics is a noble and demanding venture.

 

Conclusion

We are a young nation and we are slowly emerging from a very divisive period of our recent history. Over and above the demands of the present pandemic which has weakened our economy we need to be united and to work together to further strengthen the democratic fabric of our society.

We give thanks to Almighty God for the stability and progress accomplished by our nation over the years as well as for the goodwill and determination of many citizens which has furthered peace and harmony in our society.

We invite all religious leaders, their communities and all believers in Seychelles to unite in fervent and frequent prayer to Almighty God:

-          that the electoral commission and all those responsible for the smooth running of the elections may accomplish their task with competence and impartiality, without fear or favour;

-          that political leaders and candidates seeking election may live up to the promises made in pre-electoral manifestos and speeches if/when they are elected;

-          that we, the people of Seychelles may grow in democratic and political maturity by living these elections in mutual respect and peace, in truth and justice, so that they can be declared truly “free and fair” and make us feel proud of our democratic process of election.

May Almighty God watch with care over Seychelles and bless all its inhabitants.

 

Sifco managing committee                                                                                                          

 

 

 

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