- The new South African High Commissioner (Ambassador) to Seychelles, Ajay Bramdeo, yesterday hailed the tranquillity around the 14 April hand over of power from ex-President France Albert René to President James Michel. Although no elections were held, Mr Bramdeo said the transition was "democratic".
Speaking after he presented his credentials to President Michel at State House in Seychelles, Mr Bramdeo said the tranquillity was exemplary and that Seychelles was "a shining example" of how other countries should manage their affairs.
- We are very pleased that Seychelles has gone through the peaceful and democratic transition from the former president to the current one, said Mr Bramdeo. "We have been very supportive of this position and we are encouraged by the development because it augers well for stability on the islands and therefore for development," he added.
There was no mention on the chronically lack of democracy that has been characteristically for the long rule of ex-President René. Mr Michel was the handpicked successor of the controversial ex-President and has not been confirmed in any election.
The reception of Mr Bramdeo of course was dominated by a spirit of cooperation and diplomacy. The new South African Ambassador said that Seychelles' cooperation with his country extended over a wide variety of areas that are of mutual interests and benefits, for example capacity building and skills development.
- We would like to see Seychelles economy bear the fruits of the country's stability and we will try to encourage more South African businessmen to come and invest and look at trade issues, he said.
Mr Bramdeo is the second South African High Commissioner to be accredited to Seychelles and replaces Lulu Louis Aaron Mnguni, who served as High Commissioner from 1999 to 2003. He will be based in Port Louis, Mauritius. Seychelles and South Africa only established diplomatic relations on 5 November 1993.
The new High Commissioner said that the break until his appointment from the time his predecessor left was simply a "capacity building" problem for South Africa, and was "not meant to send any particular message" to Seychelles.
The lack of a South African High Commissioner during one year however had caused some raised eyebrows in Seychelles. The two countries are members of the regional economic body SADC, although Seychelles currently is pulling out of the body.
Nevertheless, the Seychellois government made sure to make an extraordinary good impression on Mr Bramdeo. In an unprecedented move, a 14-man Guard of Honour greeted the new South African envoy when he arrived at State House to present his credentials.
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