Sunday, August 25, 2019

Island Issues

Seychelles: Former President Sir James Mancham Re-Elected to Comesa Committee

The former President of the Seychelles, Sir James Mancham, has this week been re-elected for his second term as a member of the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa Committee of Elders.

Seychelles Global Citizen: The Autobiography of the Founding President

Sir James Mancham – Founding President of the Seychelles

The founding President of the Seychelles, Sir James Mancham, has this week been re-elected for his second term as a member of the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (Comesa) Committee of Elders. The decision formed part of the preparations for Comesa’s 34th summit meeting, held earlier this week in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.

Sir James’ reappointment to the prestigious group comes just months after his initial four-year term came to an end in September 2014. Having secured the highest number of votes amongst the numerous nominees standing for election (including candidates from the likes of Egypt, Zimbabwe and Uganda), it seems that his first term certainly left an impression on the voters.

It’s little wonder. Upon his first election in 2011, the former President found himself a key figure within a team deployed to Egypt during the immediate aftermath of the failed Arab Spring revolution, before later leading a mission to the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and Rwanda following the M23 crisis in the Great Lakes Region.

Established by the Comesa ministers for foreign affairs, the Comesa Committee of Elders has a crucial role of preventive diplomacy on issues of peace, security and stability, working to establish these issues as fundamental pre-requisite for the attainment of sustainable development in the Eastern and Southern Africa and beyond.

Sir James’ reappointment has been met with warm appreciation in his home-country and forms just one in a long list of accolades for the Seychellois statesman. Amongst his many achievements, the popular former President once acted as an Ambassador for the International Federation for World Peace’s in 2001 and also picked up the Trophy of the Foundation for Democracy in Africa for his work to promote peace, reconciliation and prosperity across the continent.

Founding President James R. Mancham and son with Farhad Vladi - Photo Courtesy of www.nation.sc

Founding President James R. Mancham and son with Farhad Vladi – Photo Courtesy of www.nation.sc

The Seychelles Government was quick to express their gratitude and enduring pride for Mancham’s ground-breaking work. “[Sir James’] re-election as a member to this high profile organ of Comesa is not only well-deserved, but is a source of immense pride and honour to the people of the Seychelles. It underscores [his] qualities as a statesman and is an endorsement of the leadership role [he has] played in preventive diplomacy and on issues relating to peace, security and stability.” Explained the Republic’s current president, James Alix Michel.

“The government is confident that Sir James will continue to represent the country effectively in this important regional assignment,” added a representative of the Seychelles Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Transport in a recent statement. “Through Sir James, the Republic of the Seychelles pledges to use this position within the Committee of Elders to work with fellow member states in fostering peace, stability and unity, in making the Comesa region a prosperous and better place to live in.”

Mancham’s re-election to the Committee comes at a busy time for the popular former-President. As well as fulfilling all of his political duties, the passionate writer is currently working on his latest book, Amongst my African Friends. Whilst still in the early stages of writing, Sir James has explained that the book will be based on his thoughts about how Africa should move forward towards peace, progress and prosperity with pride, dignity and international respect.

In a brief statement release earlier this morning, Mancham explained his commitment and excitement to be working to raise the international profile African continent, both in his capacity as Comesa Elder and through his work on “Amongst my African Friends”: “The challenges and tasks before us are exciting but enormous. Africa and its people have no time to waste. The continent is on the verge of a big awakening. Africa’s voice must certainly be heard and better considered in the architecture of the future world.”

Sir James Mancham has had a long association with the continent of Africa. After falling in love with the continent during a family holiday to Kenya aged 7, he subsequently represented the Seychelles at the Zanzibar’s independence celebration. The young Seychelles leader also represented his country at the Kenya’s independence celebration, where he formed a strong bond with the country’s then leader.

Decades later, in the year 2000, Sir James was awarded the trophy of the Washington-based Foundation for Democracy in Africa “for his contribution to peace, progress and prosperity in Africa.” He then went on to represent the African Union (AU) Commission for the Egyptian Presidential Election which took place on May 23-24 2012, and has since been active as a member of the Comesa’s prestigious Committee of Elders and the Advisory Board of the AGOA Civil Society Network as well as serving as the chairman of the Institute for Cultural Diplomacy’s African chapter.

His next big commitment sees him invited to the inaugural Mandela Washington Fellowship Southern Africa Conference (the flagship of President Barack Obama’s Young African Leaders Initiative). Sir James has been invited to be the guest-speaker at the Leaders and Conversation session in Johannesburg on the 19th of May 2015.

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