Death of Marcel Henry, figure of the struggle for the maintenance of Mayotte in the Republic

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Death of Marcel Henry, figure of the struggle for the maintenance of Mayotte in the Republic

Former Mayotte senator Marcel Henry, affiliated with the Union for French Democracy (UDF), died Monday, August 30, at the age of 94 at his home in Pamandzi.

Mr Henry is one of the first political figures to claim the departmentalization of Mayotte. He withdrew from political life since 2004 and represented Mayotte for twenty-seven years without stopping at the Luxembourg Palace, from 1977 to 2004.

Born in Mtsapéré in 1926, Mr Henry became involved in politics in 1958 by joining his uncle Georges Nahouda, founding member of the Union for the Defense of the Interests of Mayotte (UDIM). In 1963 he took part in the creation of the Mouvement Populaire Mahorais (MPM).

This Catholic Mahorais, of Malagasy and Creole descent, managed to gather around him many adherents, mainly Muslims, the “soroda” (“soldiers” in Mahorais) and the “tickles”, these women who were the dignitaries of the government of mistreated the area from the Comoros favoring independence. During this period, Mr Henry will have been Minister of the Comorian Government on several occasions.

He is one of the MPM figures who will convince the Senate president, Alain Poher, and then the government to keep Mayotte within the French Republic.

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Full departmentalization

After the Mayotte referendum in April 1976, the complete departmentalization of Mayotte will be the main battle.

Differences of opinion with Younoussa Bamana, the other MPM leader, favorable to progressive departmentalization, led to the split of the movement in 2000, after the Matignon accords. These provided for a transition period of ten years before departmentalisation, a solution which Mr Henry rejected.

In 2009, Mr. Henry took an active part in the campaign to approve the statute of a department proposed by President Nicolas Sarkozy. A 95% statute adopted by the Mahorais that came to fruition on March 31, 2011.

“Mayotte mourns a father, one of the great figures of the revolution à la Mahoraise”Mayotte Department Council President Ben Issa Ousséni said in a press release.

Foreign Minister Sébastien Lecornu, who is currently traveling to Mayotte, greeted on Twitter a “Emblemmatic Personality of the Mayor’s Political Life”, That “Will have devoted his life to the departmentalization and development of his territory”.

The world with AFP

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