Founding President James R. Mancham who returns to Seychelles this weekend following one month of diplomatic engagement in Europe is at the moment in Florence, Italy, participating in the dialogue on the “Quality of democracy prevailing in the world today,” which is being hosted by Le Club de Madrid in association with the Robert Kennedy Center for Human Rights and Justice.
Sir James has had the opportunity over the last few days to discuss the progress of democracy in Seychelles over recent years with such eminent democratic leaders like Romano Prodi – President of the Council of Ministers of Italy; Boris Tadić – President of Serbia (2004-2012); Ruud Lubbers – Prime Minister of The Netherlands (1982-1994); Kevin Rudd – Prime Minister of Australia (2002-2010 & 2013); Helen Clark – Prime Minister of New Zealand (1999-2008); Ricardo Lagos – President of Chile (2000-2006); Alejandro Toledo – President of Peru (2001-2006); Joaquim Chissano – President of Mozambique (1996-2005); John Kufuor – President of Ghana (2001-2009); António Mascarenhas Monteiro – President of Cape Verde (1991-2001), Festus Mogae – President of Botswana (1998-2008) and Olusegun Obasanjo – President of Nigeria (1976-1979 & 1999-2007) among other 60 heads of state and prime ministers who are members of Le Club de Madrid who are now in Florence, whose President is Vaira Vīķe-Freiberga who was President of Latvia from 1999 to 2007.
The spread of democracy around the world has undoubtedly been one of the major political achievements of the 20th century. The 2011 uprising in Tunisia and Egypt seemed to herald yet another wave of democratic transition; political freedom and economic prosperity in regions that for decades have been plagued with unrelenting authoritarian rule, repressions and corruptions. Expectations of swift and wide-ranging transitions have, however, been mostly frustrated. Once again in 2014, Freedom House highlights alarming setbacks rather than advancement in political rights and civil liberties in most transitional regimes.
In discussions concerning Sub-Saharan Africa, founding President Mancham said that one cannot afford to discuss the implementation of western-type democracy in Africa without taking into account China’s economic involvement on the continent of Africa today. He said that China, in his view, will not adopt western-style democracy herself and would tend to play by the policy of “who pays the piper calls the tune.” Mr. Mancham said whether Africa has the time to go through meaningful democratic possesses when there is an urgency to alleviate poverty, to educate the people and to fight different health crisis. Moreover, he said that situation in so-called western democratic nations over recent years have been disturbing and that there is a big question mark as to the way bi-partisan politics is being played in the USA today which has in the past stood as a champion and example of western democracy.
Mr.Mancham said that one must pay tribute to Le Club de Madrid to have had the bravado and honesty to focus on the future of democracy and to get the subject thoroughly debated at this time. “Members of Le Club de Madrid must face the problem honestly and squarely in the face and behave as statesmen and not mere political leaders as we take actions to bring about a more stable and functional human community,” Mr. Mancham declared.