Book Reviews | Gordon Campbell | News Flashes | Scoop Features | Scoop Video | Strange & Bizarre | Search


Gearing up for national elections!

Gearing up for national elections!

J. Roughan
9 August 2005

In less than six months--probably February, 2006--Solomon Islanders vote in a new parliament. Present day members, however, are anxiously gearing themselves up for re-election. They're using an old fashioned method--create a new party--as usual, in Honiara. A public launching of the new party's manifesto and much tok tok what its candidates will do once elected takes the place of basic grass root, face to face campaigning. This tactic has hardly worked in the past and it won't help much this time around either.

Voters are mostly people back in their villages. They are much more interested in finding out why the member hasn't visited them for years. They're demanding an accurate account of what happened to all their Constituency Development money, more than $1.5 million over a four year period. Starting up a new party, unfortunately, gives the illusion that politicians really care for their people and are doing something positive for them. Starting up a new party, no matter who well intended and fine sounding but not interacting with the people who count the most, misses out on people's deep concerns.

Political talk about, concern for and focus on the rural person is fine if all of this really faces up to people's everyday lives. It must mean that the parliamentarian must be in tune with the typical Solomon Islander's life and make it noticeably better and more rewarding. Solomon Islanders' needs are modest and are easily accomplished if they were actually at the centre of politicians radar screen.

Political parties, if strong, well disciplined and energetic, certainly are a missing ingredient in Solomons' political life. Such parties could instil in members greater discipline and concentrate their efforts to make this nation a better place for its people. But over the past twenty years or so, most political parities mushroomed six months or so before election day, promised great things to come and promptly disappeared within three months after election day.

The trouble is not the political party but individuals who use them for election purposes and have little concern for it once elected into office. Witness the shifting loyalties once a ministerial post is on offer. Parliament has had more than its fare share of Political Cowboys (we have had only one woman MP in 27 years, so there is no case of Political Cowgirls!). Last week's shortened parliamentary session, for instance, came about because it couldn't muster a quorum.

Either the absent members thought their own private business interests more important than their law making work or was it a way of destroying Government's Foreign Business bill? Whatever the case, the cowboy attitude towards duty to the nation comes out clearly.

The high profile political parties are currently gearing themselves up for the 2006 election. In reality they should be setting their sights for the 2010 one, if they are serious about making the Solomons a better place to live. But because they usually die within three or four months after the election, it is hard for them to make a difference to the political life of the nation.

Most voters have already made up their minds who they don't want in next year's parliament. Who they will vote for, however, is still up for grabs. Current parliamentarians--about 35 of the 50 members--won't make it back into office. The reason? Rather simple in fact! Present members have failed in their primary duty to represent their people's best interests.

SIDT's recent Government Report Card No. 7 surfaces the same dismal findings for the ordinary village person and town dweller. According to this Report Card--marks for education patterns, health matters, resource help and availability of money--hasn't changed since the Mamaloni days in late 1989. In other words, the typical Solomon Islander's life hasn't improved much over a 16 year period..

But more importantly today's voters need to see positive change in their lives, in the lives of their family, in their village. The voter is unimpressed by high sounding words or fancy promises . People beg politicians to stick to basics: quality education, working clinics, markets for their products and a chance to gain modest amounts of money. Build on these basics and re-election is assured. Forget them and start looking for a new job!


© Scoop Media

Top Scoops Headlines


Werewolf: Living With Rio’s Olympic Ruins

Mariana Cavalcanti Critics of the Olympic project can point a discernible pattern in the delivery of Olympics-related urban interventions: the belated but rushed inaugurations of faulty and/or unfinished infrastructures... More>>

Live Blog On Now: Open Source//Open Society Conference

The second annual Open Source Open Society Conference is a 2 day event taking place on 22-23 August 2016 at Michael Fowler Centre in Wellington… Scoop is hosting a live blog summarising the key points of this exciting conference. More>>



Gordon Campbell: On The Politicising Of The War On Drugs In Sport

It hasn’t been much fun at all to see how “war on drugs in sport” has become a proxy version of the Cold War, fixated on Russia. This weekend’s banning of the Russian long jumper Darya Klishina took that fixation to fresh extremes. More>>


Binoy Kampmark: Kevin Rudd’s Failed UN Secretary General Bid

Few sights are sadder in international diplomacy than seeing an aging figure desperate for honours. In a desperate effort to net them, he scurries around, cultivating, prodding, wishing to be noted. Finally, such an honour is netted, in all likelihood just to shut that overly keen individual up. More>>

Open Source / Open Society: The Scoop Foundation - An Open Model For NZ Media

Access to accurate, relevant and timely information is a crucial aspect of an open and transparent society. However, in our digital society information is in a state of flux with every aspect of its creation, delivery and consumption undergoing profound redefinition... More>>

Keeping Out The Vote: Gordon Campbell On The US Elections

I’ll focus here on just two ways that dis-enfranchisement is currently occurring in the US: (a) by the rigging of the boundary lines for voter districts and (b) by demanding elaborate photo IDs before people are allowed to cast their vote. More>>

Ramzy Baroud: Being Black Palestinian - Solidarity As A Welcome Pathology

It should come as no surprise that the loudest international solidarity that accompanied the continued spate of the killing of Black Americans comes from Palestine; that books have already been written and published by Palestinians about the plight of their Black brethren. In fact, that solidarity is mutual. More>>


Get More From Scoop

Top Scoops
Search Scoop  
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news