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Secretary ballot: Bought

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Dear Editor - The way we vote in Solomon Islands is by secret ballot. This is to prevent bias, intimidation, and bribery.

Ballot papers after elections should remain secret.

Balloting is the power one has in a democratic government.  It is the essence of democratic governance.

Unless there are High Court petitions, ballot papers will be destroyed after six months.  This is not always the case in Solomon Islands.

 In the last election (2006), ballot papers were bought.

Ballot papers in one of the constituencies on Malaita were bought by the winning candidate.

This is for purposes of punishing and penalizing those who have not voted for that particular MP.

During the last parliamentary term, that particular MP only rewarded those who voted for him.

I want to urge the government through the Ministry of Home Affairs to ensure that this practice should be nipped in the bud.

It should be ceased forthwith.  If we do not do this, people would create a parallel system to the electoral system.

 Also, this very aberrant practice defeats the very purpose of elections: to elect representatives to parliament using the very last power in a democratic system—the secret ballot!

Wilson Lota