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Solomon Island’s election among ‘most corrupt’, says former PM
5:21 pm GMT+12, 15/04/2019, Solomon Islands

Former Solomon Islands Prime Minister Ezekiel Alebua says that while last week’s general election was peaceful, he claims it was also among the most corrupt.
 
The main source of election corruption was the 2018 Electoral Act which had many flaws, he said in an interview with national broadcaster Solomon Islands Broadcasting Corporation (SIBC).
 
Alebua said the Act was either “ill-conceived” or “intentionally drawn up” to enable former MPs who passed the Act to retain their Parliamentary seats.
 
He cited cross-constituency voting and the use of the Rural Constituency Development Fund (RCDF) as among the major flaws.
 
“People are being asked to use their right to vote anywhere they like, but the people didn’t use their rights responsibly,” he said.
 
“People from different provinces who don’t know the candidates from other provinces. They also didn’t attend their campaigns, they went and voted in different provinces. The government is also responsible for the return of many former MPs through the RCDF.”
 
He also used an example from the election campaign period, when other candidates wanted to hire vehicles that were bought with constituency funds by former MPs.
 
This was prevented, however, by the supporters of the former MPs.
 
Alebua said it was not right because the vehicles were government assets.
 
“I don’t have any other option but to describe this election as the most corrupt,” he said.
 
Alebua is recording his observations on the 2019 national general election and will pass them on to the Solomon Islands Electoral Office for consideration in future elections.
 
Others around the country have shared similar opinions as Abebua.
 
Joe Silvester from Lau Baelelea in Malaita Province said although the election was peaceful it was not fair and needed to be investigated.
 
Meanwhile, the present period of “regime change” needs proper financial allocation.
 
MP elect for Honiara Central Constituency John Maffot Fugui voiced this as camps of MPs, accommodating in hotels, now utilise their power to win the number game to form the next coalition government.
 
Fugui explained, last year during the ‘Sine Die’ motion he told parliament that $20 million (US$2.5 million) was needed for regime change or change of government.
 
“If you talk about grass hopping , if you talk about stability , if you talk about integrity, and if you talk about political party development we have to fund it,” he said.
 
“Let the government of the day put funds for what is the most important thing in terms of government and governance.”
 
He also said the reason why the government should put funds into this idea was to stop corruption and avoid looking for money elsewhere.
 
“$20 million dollars is nothing, if this amount is used and some amount remains, then this will go to the treasury,” he said.
 
“What I’m saying is for a new government to come in, we have to fund it ourselves,” he said.

SOURCE: SIBC/PACNEWS


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