Many suppose it is time to ascertain a government structure that is new, appropriate and can be able to spur economic development and to help squash out poverty in the country.

I heard Leaders and the public after the looting and destruction in Honiara, over and over again speaking about federalism; a system they think can break the spell of poverty, looting, rioting and ceases corruption.

But do we think this system can arrest corruption. I don’t think so. The biggest concern here is corruption, not the system of government.

A shift to federalism as a formula to address the problem of poverty is a remedy that calls for the reallocation of powers among politicians. Given the existing culture of corruption among these politicians, however, federalism will not yield positive results for the country at this time.

What we need at this time is to transfer more powers to the people, for them to fight the abuse of power by the politicians.

We need to arm citizens with a freedom of information law to enable them to easily expose corruption, which is the bigger cause of poverty compared to the perceived dysfunctional nature of the unitary form of government.

At the very least, strengthened anti corruption instruments—foremost among which are freedom of information and anti dynasty laws—must first be in place before any shift to a federal system of government is undertaken. These laws are very important preconditions for a federal system of government to function for the people’s welfare.

It must be pointed out that it is not the nature of a system of government that causes it to fail. It is the people who operate the system of government that will make it fail, or succeed. By merely changing the system of government—without changing the culture of the people who run the government—the same people who cause the failure of the unitary system will make the new federal system fail as well.