The Chief Minister of the Seychelle Island, Mr. James Macham, arrived back in the Seychelles?
The Chief Minister of the Seychelle Island, Mr. James Macham, arrived back in the Seychelles in the Indian Ocean on Sunday (7 April) after a ten day visit to the United Kingdom to discuss the future of the Islands.
He was greeted at the airport on Mahe Island by other Ministers and then drove through rapturous crowds who danced and hailed him with specially composed songs supporting him in the forthcoming general elections.
Mr. Mancham -- the leader of the Seychelles Democratic Party -- has said that he will fight them on the basis of independence from Britain, although he has previously been a staunch supporter of the Seychelles' present status as a British colony. Before his visit to Britain, Mr. Mancham said there was no sign the British wanted to continue the close ties.
The opposition in the election will come from the People's Untied Party -- (S.P.U.P.) -- led by Mr. F. Rene.
Mr. Rene has always campaigned for independence from Britain. The tension between the two parties has increased since S.P.U.P. was recognised as an official liberation movement by the Organisation of African Unity (O.A.U.) in 1973.
Another major issue is the role of Indian Ocean islands in international politics. The British have never established a naval base in the Seychelles, but the United States is at present planning to develop a large military base on the British-owned island of Diego Garcia. Meanwhile Soviet naval forces continue to build up in the Indian Ocean.
SYNOPSIS: The British monarch, Queen Elizabeth, opened a new airport on Mahe Island in 1971.
Mr. Mancham, who was greeted at the airport by members of his Cabinet, had always previously been in favour of maintaining the Seychelles' colonial status and of increasing ties with Britain. But before his departure he said that Britain now showed no interest in further integration. He has now announced he will fight the forthcoming General Election on the basis of independence from Britain.
At the airport, his supporters sang specially composed songs supporting Mr. Mancham and his Seychelles Democratic Party -- S.P.D. -- and attacking his opponent, Mr. Rene of the Seychelles People's United Party -- the S.P.U.P.
Mr. Mancham -- who has won two previous elections in these islands of fifty two thousand inhabitants -- acknowledge his supporters.