Seychelles Loses Founding President James Mancham

The founding president of Seychelles, James Mancham reportedly gave up the ghost on Sunday, aged 77.

James Mancham only spent a year in office. His term was cut short by a coup which was carried out by his Prime Minister.

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Mancham who was also a lawyer wrote several books during his lifetime which were centred on promoting Seychelles. Some of his books include; Seychelles: The Saga of a Small Nation Navigating the Cross-Currents of a Big World.

“This morning his wife told us that Mr Mancham was not moving and we did the necessary to get him transported to hospital,” one of his security guards Philippe Figaro told AFP.

“Doctors confirmed he was dead,” said the former president’s nephew Derick Pothin.

James Mancham had initially opposed Seychelles’ independence from  Britain, however, he went on to win the Indian Ocean archipelago’s first election in a marginal victory in 1976.

Seychelles Loses Founding President James Mancham

His victory dd not last long, as a year later, Mancham was ousted in a bloodless coup by his prime minister, France-Albert Rene. This happened while Mancham was attending a Commonwealth conference in London, England.

France-Albert Rene immediately set up a one-party socialist state. Following the coup, Mancham consequently fled into exile until 1993, when multi-party democracy was reinstated in Seychelles.

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When mercenaries from South Africa led by notorious Colonel “Mad Mike” Hoare tried to reinstate Mancham in power, they entered the country through a tourist disguise, but their cover was blown when airport inspectors found a weapon in their luggage. This led to a gun fight and consequently the flight of the mercenaries away from Seychelles.

The mercenaries hijacked an Air India flight forcing the pilot to take them to Durban, South Africa. Eventually, South Africa’s post-apartheid Truth and Reconciliation Commission discovered that the apartheid government was involved in planning the attack.

Mancham again contested for the presidency in 1998 when multi-party democracy was reinstated but he lost to Rene.