Dear Editor – I notice that just about every day there is an article in the local papers about possible election dates. Our Constitution clearly says that general elections must be held within four months after Parliament has been dissolved.
The National Parliament Electoral Provisions Act (as amended) qualified this by saying that such election will be held 42 days after the GG has declared the election date.
Going by the Constitutional provision, elections must be held by the first week of December 2014 provided the requirements of NPEP Act have been met.
As it stands, only one person knows when the election will be held. That person is the PM. Like everything else the vice regal does the GG acts upon the advice of the PM.
Simply put, the GG is waiting for the PM to advise him when he should inform this nation of the election date for the general election.
It is not my intention to further speculate about possible election dates. My intention here is to argue for elections to be held as soon as the laws allow us to do so. There are very good reasons for going to the polls early.
There are many reasons for this but I will only choose three.
Firstly, we are approaching the wet and cyclonic season. If the PM wants us to go to the polls in November or early December, he should have some contingency plans in place in case the weather throws up some nasty things as we head close to the polls.
Given that we are so poor as a result of government reckless spending, the PM should opt for the easy route by holding elections early than close to the constitutional dateline of December.
Secondly, and following from the above, should there be a major natural disaster- a tropical cyclone or flooding or Tsunami- there is no Parliament to call upon to authorise the care-taker government to spend.
Any spending to cater for such national calamity by the care-taker government will be illegal. Therefore, having election as soon as the laws allow it ensures that we have a government and Parliament in place to deal with unexpected events.
Thirdly, our donor partners do prefer to talk to and sign deals with an incoming government, not a care-taker and lamb-duck government, especially a lamb-duck government headed by this PM.
If the elections are prolonged, this will have some serious impact on SI losing out on bilateral and multilateral funding assistance.
Do not forget donor agencies have closing dates for funding requests so they may go elsewhere if we are in a lamb-duck status for almost a quarter of the year!
Having said the above, I seriously do not think this PM wants the elections to be held in October. Going to the polls in October is not a top priority for this PM as opposed to him flying off to Taiwan to attend ROC so-called “double ten” and rap shoulders with other world leaders including those in Taipei.
The prudent thing to do by the PM is to advise the GG to declare the election date now and we head to the polls soon to elect new MPs and a new government and let bygones become bygones!
Andrew Donua Muaki