Dear editor like to make a few comments in this discussion.
My apologies first to Samson Viulu for misspelling your name
Coming back to the discussion, on the outset my comments in relation to Giona's contribution (voter's attitude) was made on the premise that I think Giano had made an important contribution in identifying some of the issues that may impacts on how the country's political leaders make decisions. There are many issues of course and voter's behavior is indeed an important issue to take into consideration in this discussion. For one to just brass aside that issue in the quest to find possible ways to deal with the political leadership issue the country is facing is but a step in vain. However one is entitled to his or her own opinion.
Political leadership in Solomon Islands and the challenges associate therewith is indeed a complex one. One that has its roots berried deep down in the fabric of our society.
Having said that I noticed that there are those who are of the view that every person elected to parliament will always end up corrupted. I personally do not share this assertion. May be this is true for the past and the present but surely not for the future. Future is an infinite period of time and it would be naïve for one to categorically say that all those who will end up in Parliament in the future will end up corrupted. It is not as simple as Normal citizen + Elected to Parliament = Corrupted. I believe as our society evolves and value structures changes to meet new demands and expectations that will play a pivotal role in as far as choosing new leaders in the future are concern.
Remember the developed nations that we are now adopting a lot of their values systems (human rights, transparency, accountability, and what have you) have traveled these development processes for centuries. There are no short cuts to these processes; the discussions surrounding leadership, corruption, self-serving so on and so forth are part and partial of the ongoing changes that affect our society as we struggle to live together as a nation. Remember we are a nation forged only 31 years ago and as much as we would like to prosper there are deeper inner hurdles that only time will erode away. A classical example is that of the relationship between the state and its people. For the developed world that reciprocal relationship existed for hundreds if not thousands of years and with that comes what we all like to see our leaders do today. That is for them to practice transparency, accountability, good governance and the list goes on. These are values that the Solomon Islands as a nation imported only some 31 years ago, values that others have cultured in their societies for many, many years, they live out these values and institutionalize them to be part of their lives. I believe the rhetoric's we are facing and going through today is a reflection of our own society's struggle to incorporate these adopted values into how we live and manage our common affairs together.
Having said that, in terms of devising a regime that will on the long run have positive impacts on leadership issues facing the country, I strongly believe that the education system should be the starting point. One way of addressing this issue on a long term basis might be to dedicate a subject area in the curriculum of our education system to address these issues; however I'll leave that to our educationists. Anyhow, formal debates and public speaking classes on issues like leadership, the government system and how it operates and developmental issues should be made part of our education system. Even look at setting up primary and secondary school debates competitions on these issues. I believe on a long run these types of undertakings are very important, because it allows students throughout their schooling years to engage and interact with these issues. One would assume that by institutionalizing such issues in our school system we would expect on the long run a society that is more responsive and inform of what is happening in terms of the issues discussed here. Furthermore I think having such a set up would enable those going through the formal education system to able to understand, appreciate and participate positively when comes to political leadership of the country.
On the question of RCDF, the country can always learn form others in this issue. For those of you interest in this matter look at Kenya's Constituency Development Act of 2003 for that matter. Most of the things that have been said about RCDF are dealt with under this act. I am not saying that we should adopt the act but by way of addressing this issue that might be a good starting point. If one is really serious about this then one should always employ a private lawyer to draft up a bill and give it to a Member of Parliament and let him table it in Parliament as a private members bill. May be the other way of looking at the issue is to form a national advocacy group that looks at this particular issue and from time to time hold public awareness of the actualities of what the fund is all about. Such group (depending on resources) should actively participate in formulating policies that target this issue or even drafting bills and giving them to members of Parliament. I mean this is a more proactive way of dealing with the issue rather than saying such things like "in the future our leaders will pass bills to immune themselves from prosecution". This is absolute rubbish because all that one does is continuing on with the crusade of being on the negative side of things all the time. If that reference is made on the recent report debated in Parliament concerning the powers and immunity of the House then the assertion that members will in the future immune from prosecution is totally wrong. That report is in fact about formalizing the powers and procedures of Parliament and giving immunity to the proceedings of the house but certainly not to give power to Parliament to immune its members from prosecution. I remembered Fono discussed this issue (immunity from prosecution for mps during their term as mps) during his contribution to this report on the floor of Parliament. But if ever such immunity is adopted into any future bill it will certainly contravene some other laws and that is a matter for the judiciary through the courts to deal with.
Anyway that's my little contribution to this complex issue of leadership in Solomon Islands
Leadership in Solomon Islands
Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this letter are those of Celsus Talifilu and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of Solomon Times Online.
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