Seychelles lost this week a veteran politician who will be missed. Rifned Jumeau, the founder of the first political party in Seychelles died on February 7 and was buried this afternoon in the presence of family and friends at his former electoral district of Mont Fleuri on the island of Mahe.
Seychelles was still a British Colony when Rifned Jumeau and Harry Payet launched in 1963 his SIUP (Seychelles Islanders United Party). He was determined to fight for workers rights in an era when the mass did not even enjoy the right to vote and when the British Governor was still nominating part of the Legislative Councils Members.
In 1964 Rifned Jumeau merged his political party with Albert Rene and it became the Seychelles People’s United Party (SPUP). Rifned Jumeau was elected in 1969 for the Mont Fleuri Ward for the Victoria District Council elections, before being elected in 1970 for the Victoria South Electoral District as the member of Legislative Assembly.
He was a mobilizer and organised the longest protest march ever staged in Seychelles from Anse Aux Pins to Victoria to bring out the cost of living in Seychelles. A gifted public speaker with a wit that attracted many to be present only to hear him speak.
Rifned Jumeau remained a man of principle and he remained a Seychellois politician who wanted to see a better Seychelles for every Seychellois. His saw Seychelles move from being a British Colony to becoming an Independent State in 1976, and lived through Seychelles under its 1st, 2nd and 3rd Republic era.
A politician who stands out because for him politics was not to enrich himself, but to create a better Seychelles. He personally funded his political career and created businesses to help fund the political party he was associated with.