2020 elections- need for equal access to media

2019 is already in its final quarter and with the year end, the 2020 Presidential election will be just a whisper away. Already some politicians announced their bid and this was later duly endorsed by their political party as their prospective candidates for the top most post in the country and there are quite a lot of speculations about others who may possibly show up as independent contenders. With the two main parties sitting in a degree of cohabitation between the Executive and the Legislative having publicly unofficially launched their campaign, there is a need for a better sharing of access to the state media for all contenders. As it is, the incumbent president who is also the one who is named as being the candidate for the ruling party, and the Leader of the opposition in the National Assembly, who is declared as the LDS candidate; have started their pitch for the presidency, from their respective posts.

The Head of State is not missing out on any opportunity to appear on state media and elucidate his ideas for Seychelles. Every day he receives citizens from different walks of life at State House in what is clearly a massive media campaign to boost his image as the people centred president. For his part the Leader of the Opposition is also seen daily on the television, through the National Assembly debate which is aired live. He intervenes on almost every subject matter on the Order Paper, stressing on his party’s emphasis for transparency in governance. Even when the two protagonists are not centre stage they still appear either directly or through their representatives, giving opinions and explanations about issues.  The state media and to a lesser extent the independent media houses very rarely if ever bother to seek the point of view of other political entities in the country. Despite their being around a dozen political parties in the country, the views and opinions of only two are heard regularly, all of which give them an unfair advantage over their competitors.

Another bone of contention is that the Electoral Law does not today make any provisions for parties to come together and form coalitions. It was this situation which initially gave birth to the party now known as Linyon Demokratik Seselwa (LDS) and it is the one which is responsible for stifling real democratic growth in Seychelles. If the law is not amended before the next elections are held,  to make coalitions possible, then if there is a second round, the country will face the same scenario it did in 2016, which eventually led to Lalyans Seselwa fading into the background of Seychelles’ political life as the union with other political entities did not stand the test of time.