James Mancham

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James Mancham
James Mancham 2014.jpg
1st President of Seychelles
In office
29 June 1976 – 5 June 1977
Prime Minister France-Albert René
Preceded by office established
Succeeded by France-Albert René
1st Prime Minister of Seychelles
In office
1 October 1975 – 28 June 1976
Preceded by Office established
Succeeded by France-Albert René
Chief Minister of the Crown Colony of Seychelles
In office
12 November 1970 – 1 October 1975
Preceded by Office established
Succeeded by Office abolished
Personal details
Born (1939-08-11)11 August 1939
Victoria, Seychelles
Died 8 January 2017(2017-01-08) (aged 77)
Glacis, Seychelles
Political party Seychelles Democratic Party
Spouse(s)

Heather Jean Evans (1963-1974)

Catherine Olsen (1985-to death of James Mancham 2017)
Profession Lawyer
Politician
Writer
Sir James Mancham on obverse of the Seychellois rupee silver coin, 1977

Sir James Richard Marie Mancham KBE (11 August 1939 – 8 January 2017) was a Seychellois politician who founded the Seychelles Democratic Party and was the first President of Seychelles from 1976 to 1977.

Political career[edit]

James' father, Richard Mancham, a successful businessman, sent James to law school in England. When Britain announced its intention to give independence to the colony, Mancham founded the Democratic Party (S.D.P.), and served as its leader until February 2005.[1] France-Albert René founded an opposition party, the Seychelles People's United Party (S.P.U.P) with the support of the Soviet Union. As Chief Minister of the colony, Mancham promoted tourism to the Seychelles and arranged for the building of the airport that was to make the Seychelles accessible to the rest of the world. Tourism increased and the economy developed. In 1976, he won the popular vote when the British gave the Seychelles independence. Less than a year later, in June 1977, he was deposed in a coup by Prime Minister France-Albert René, who had the support of Tanzanian-trained revolutionaries and Tanzanian-supplied weapons, whilst Mancham was attending the Commonwealth Heads of Government Conference in London.

Mancham lived in exile in London until April 1992. During this period, Mancham was financially successful in several international business ventures and married Catherine Olsen, an Australian journalist working in London. When he returned to the Seychelles following the lifting of the ban on opposition, he resumed the promotion of tourism to the tropical islands.

He ran for president in July 1993 and finished second behind René with 36.72% of the vote. In March 1998 he ran again, receiving third place and 13.8% of the vote, behind René and Wavel Ramkalawan.[2]

Personal life[edit]

Mancham was the eldest son of Richard and Evelyn (née Tirant) Mancham. He married Heather Jean Evans in 1963 and the marriage was dissolved in 1974. One daughter (Caroline Mancham); one son (Richard Mancham). In 1985 he married Catherine Olsen and had one son (Alexander).

Mancham died suddenly on 8 January 2017 of a possible stroke at age 77.[3][4]

Other activity[edit]

Mancham was the author of a number of books, among them being Paradise Raped about the June 1977 coup d'état in the Seychelles, War on America: Seen from the Indian Ocean, written after the 11 September 2001 attacks on the United States, his autobiography; Seychelles Global Citizen: The Autobiography of the Founding President, in 2009,;[5] and Seychelles: The Saga of a Small Nation Navigating the Cross-Currents of a Big World, in 2015.[6] Mancham also served on the advisory board of International Journal on World Peace.

Awards[edit]

Mancham received the 2010 International Jurist Award at the inauguration of the International Conference of Jurists at the Vigyan Bhawan, New Delhi, India. Under the theme International Terrorism, the event was jointly organised by the International Council of Jurists, the National Human Rights Commission of India, the All India Bar Association and Indian Council of Jurists. In a welcoming speech Dr. Adish Aggarwala, President of the International Council of Jurists and Chairman of All India Bar Association, said the award for r Mancham was to recognise his role in promoting world peace and the pivotal part he played in helping to settle international disputes.

Mancham was also one of the recipients of the Gusi Peace Prize in 2011.[7]

References[edit]

  1. ^ [1] Archived 16 August 2006 at the Wayback Machine.
  2. ^ Elections in the Seychelles, African Elections Database.
  3. ^ Vannier, Rassin; Bonnelame, Betymie (8 January 2017). "Former Seychelles' president James Mancham dies at residence". Seychelles News Agency. Victoria, Seychelles. Retrieved 8 January 2017. 
  4. ^ "Seychelles Founding President passed away". ETN Global Travel Industry News. 8 January 2017. Retrieved 8 January 2017. 
  5. ^ [2], Paragon House, 2009.
  6. ^ [3], Paragon House, 2015.
  7. ^ "Former Seychelles president to receive peace award". ETN Global Travel Industry News. 20 June 2011. 
Political offices
Preceded by
post created
Prime Minister of Seychelles
1970-1976
Succeeded by
France-Albert René
Preceded by
post created
President of Seychelles
1976–1977
Succeeded by
France-Albert René