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Post  Sirop14 on Tue Jan 12, 2016 9:40 pm

Saturday, January 24, 2015


A week before the official resignation date of former dictator- President of the Seychelles – France Albert Rene, I received a call on my mobile from an SBC reporter who said that she had been tasked with preparing a programme about Mr Rene’s 40-year political career, with emphasis on the vision he had for Seychelles. She said that I had been highly recommended as someone who would give an independent, fair, honest, and presumably a dispassionate flattering view of the former dictator’s political career.

I replied that I could indeed give a fair, un-biased and honest view of his career, but it would be not be a flattering one at all and that her superiors would not view my opinion fit to broadcast on SBC. She admitted, after a few minutes of my presentation on the telephone, that indeed it would not be acceptable to her superiors for broadcast in the context of what she had been tasked to prepare. She was gravely disappointed and quietly admitted that she could not get any Seychellois who was not identified as a past or present stalwart, sycophant or panderer to the dictator and his regime that was prepared to take part in her programme.

So I pointed out to her that, in short, she had discovered the true legacy of Rene’s career: he was leaving behind a people divided between those who, when asked, would sing his praises and those who loath him because they have been victims of his despotic, dictatorial, misguided and brutal rule during the one party state. Statistics show that between 1977 and 1990, nearly 10,000 people left Seychelles to go and live in other countries. They voted with their feet at a time when Seychellois could only vote for Rene or pay the consequences.


The year he resigned as President of Seychelles, Albert Rene launched a slogan – in the fashion of every communist dictator to divert attention from their faltering and unpopular rule – with the words Renaissance Morale (Moral Renaissance). In my book, Mr Rene’s political career is full of deception, misrepresentation and distortions of facts until the very end – a career devoid of any sense of Christian morality, the faith into which he was born and brought up. For example in the last programme on SBC, he came up with a novel excuse for the coup d’état in 1977, one neither he nor the SPPF propaganda machine had ever opined before - that Mancham would not agree to redistribute land. For 27 years he pandered the lie that Mancham wanted to remain president for life and now suddenly it’s all about land for the people.

Nothing displayed more the characteristic of heartlessness and insensitivity than his response to the question about the three people who were killed on the day of the coup d’état. He dismissed it as mere accidents. For the benefit of the new generation who has grown up under the heavy blanket of lies and distortions of the facts and history, here is what actually happened:

Constable Berard Jeannie was a dedicated policeman whose duty on the night of 4th June 1977, was to watch over the police armoury at the Police Mobile Unit (PMU) headquarters at Mont Fleuri. Despite the fact he was watching over weapons and ammunition, he was unarmed, like all policemen in Seychelles were until that fateful day. Constable Jeannie could not have been a threat to anyone. His only authority was the uniform he wore. Yet he was shot in cold blood with an AK-47 assault rifle while sitting at his desk. This was no accident. One day history will record who actually pulled the trigger and Mr Jeannie’s family will be able to find closure. What morality does that teach us?

The first victim who paid the ultimate price with his life for the misguided ambition of Albert Rene on the day of the coup d’état was Francis Rachel. He was a semi literate labourer/farmer from Anse Boileau; a dedicated follower and supporter of Albert Rene, the politician. On the afternoon of 4th June 1977, he was taken under false pretences from his home at Anse Boileau to René’s private residence at l’Exile, smack in the middle of the Morne Seychellois National Park. There he met around a dozen or so people, who had similarly been gathered, to be told of the plan to take over the country by violent means while President Mancham was out of the country on official mission. Those who did not agree to take part were told they would remain a prisoner at l’Exile until after the event. Rachel was willing to do his party leader’s bidding. Together with five others, some armed with AK-47 smuggled into the country from the ANC – training camps in Tanzania, he was driven in a Toyota mini bus to Corgat Estate that evening, their mission to capture the police armoury next door. Given the fact that only the perpetrators of the coup d’etat had weapons, Francis Rachel could only have been killed by his comrades in arms. Yet he was declared a hero, given a funeral with “military honours” and had a street named after him. Today, Francis Rachel lies forgotten discarded into the dustbin of Albert Rene’s political history.

The murder of Davidson Chang Him, a father of three young children, brother of the Anglican Bishop French Chang Him, was the most despicable act of wanton violence of that day. He was peacefully standing next to Marcel Zatte’s shop observing the goings on at the Central Police station when three men jumped out of a green Volvo brandishing AK-47s. They ordered him into the car and took him to the police station. As he got out of the car he came face to face with one of the coup plotters brandishing an AK- 47. Within seconds a shot rang out and Son, as he was commonly known, fell down dead. The high velocity bullet went though his chest and came out of his back and embedded itself in the door of the green Volvo. This was nothing less than pure terrorist murder. This was no accident. The perpetrator remained free, becoming a well known but feared enforcer for the illegal regime during the one party state. He is reported to have masterminded the disappearance of Hassanali Umarji in 1978, and others in the early eighties.

More than half a dozen people died or disappeared in Seychelles during the one party state. Some of these incidents have been documented by Amnesty International as well as by the democratic governments that had embassies in Victoria at that time. Will the families of these victims ever get closure, never mind justice? What morality does that teach us?


Rene has been portrayed in SPPF propaganda as a child that grew up in abject poverty, when in fact he had a relatively privileged up bringing. As manager of an outlying island, his father was a not a slave labourer, as the SPPF propaganda would have you believe. A wooden or corrugated iron house with thatched roof was not a sign of poverty in the 1930’s and 40’s. But the propaganda callously exploited the false perception of old poverty images of the 30’s and 40’s to justify the coup d’etat after the event. The experience of people in the seventies or even the sixties is never used. Never mind that in the 30’s and 40’s many diseases were killing anyone regardless of social or economic status. Today they no longer exist not because of Rene’s rule but because of the advances in science.

The fact Rene attended the best schools available to a favoured few at the time, remained hidden from the public. The Catholic Church provided him with more than just basic education, however. On his own admission he led the Bishop and the Church into believing that he wanted to be a priest so he could go to Switzerland. Despite that, the Church even arranged for him to go to the UK to study law, a privilege not available to 99% of the youngsters of his age back in the Seychelles, unless he or she came from the landed or commercial class. But the Catholic Church paid dearly for its largess. One of the first things Rene did upon establishing his dictatorship in 1977 was to seize all the primary schools in Seychelles. They were all the private property of the Catholic Church. He also seized large tracts of Church land. No compensation was offered. As president under the multiparty system, and under pressure from Mancham, Rene reluctantly agreed to an interest free loan to the Catholic Church to renovate the Cathedral.

His disrespect for the Catholic Church that gave him his best opportunity in life, was further demonstrated when he mocked Bishop Felix Paul on national radio after the army rebellion in 1982. Bishop Paul had earlier intervened with the rebels in a live radio broadcast, which they controlled, to pacify them and at the same time urging Rene to speak to them and negotiate a peaceful resolution to the stand off. Instead Rene remained un-contactable for two days while he was preparing to unleash Tanzanian troops on them, (reinforced in the meanwhile with fresh arrivals by air from Dar es Salaam). Many, including innocent civilians died in the process. The rebels were rounded up by the Tanzanians, some tortured and others made to serve hard labour in a specially constructed prison camp on Coétivy Island. When Bishop Denis Viehe, opined on SBC that the relationship between the Church and the SPPF government had not always been cordial, he probably was not aware that he was making the understatement of the century. Today Rene, it appears, professes another religion, repudiating his Catholic faith, while he exhorts the nation to renew its moral values. What an example does he represent and what values should we relate to.


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 ALBERT RENE; THE SERPENT OF MODERN SEYCHELLES Empty Philippe Boulle speaks at LDS Rally at Anse Etoile

Post  Sirop14 on Sun Jun 05, 2016 9:39 pm

Philippe Boulle speaks at LDS Rally at Anse Etoile
Philippe Boulle, LDS leader addresses a large crowd at La Retraite, Anse Etoile on June 5, 2016


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