Transparency Solomon Islands in its first article this year on this issue, scrutinized one of the reason given by the Senior Officials from the Office of Prime Minister and Cabinet for the proposed extension of Parliament term. That reason is that the country cannot run two big events within one year. In their shallow, argument they opted to extend the term of Parliament to 5 years, delay and deny people right to elect who they would like to entrust their powers to, to run the country democratically in the next four years. Any right-thinking civil servant would have looked at what weight these two events hold in their hierarchy of importance and would have done the opposite. Run the National General Election and delay the SPG23 to 2024 giving time for the proper completion of the games facilities, improving our health facilities to a level acceptable, giving assurance to participating countries that the health of their athletes, sportswomen and sportsmen is in safe hand for the two  weeks that they will be in the country.
Postponing the National General Election is not only flawed but ludicrous. The real reason is for the current Executive Government to stay in power for longer to continue to divert public funds to themselves than for the games. Transparency Solomon Islands urges the Executive Government to listen to the citizens. The view aired by one of our critical, analytical, responsible young female graduate lawyer says it all for the people of this country and TSI quotes “I VOTED FOR MY MEMBER OF PARLIAMENT IN 2019 FOR A TERM OF 4 YEARS ONLY AND NOT 5 YEARS. SHOULD THERE BE AN EXTRA YEAR BE ADDED TO THE 4 YEARS, THE EXECUTIVE GOVERNMENT, MY MEMBER OF PARLIAMENT SHOULD ASK ME AS A VOTER FOR MY CONSENT AND AUTHORITY FOR MY MEMBER OF PARLIAMENT TO CONTINUE TO REPRESENT ME AN EXTRA YEAR OR FOR A 5 YEAR TERM.
As pointed out by concerned citizens what this proposal will do is deny people their democratic right to vote more frequently and get rid of non-performing government, continue to breed inefficiencies and, waste of public money on the perpetual employment of lazy non-performing politically appointed senior officials of no substance, breed complacency, an environment for corruption to grow and thrive. It would seem that these senior officials of the Office of Prime Minister and Cabinet, and especially those with qualification lack the stamina for quality work and are dependent on the number game instead of providing quality advice to the Executive Government. From their language and argument, they have finally got the Executive Government in the palms of their hands by assuring them that all they need is number and they got the number so the need for any proper comparative analysis of the pro, cons, risk and cost of these half-baked policies do not count anymore. This is a big concern, for they are taking the citizens of this country, their human rights, and democratic rights for granted. They have shown no respect for people’s right and always to be involved in politics reverting to legal language to cover up their lack of knowledge, experience, and depth. They do not know that “Politics is the activity through which people make, preserve, and amend the general rules under which they live”. The citizens of this country do not want to live under a tyranny by oligarch that do not know what they are talking about than to look at ways to remain in power.
To recap on the SPG23 rationale- that we cannot hold two very big events in one year, Transparency Solomon Islands asks the Senior Officials of Office of Prime Minister and Cabinet the following questions:
- Is the SPG23 games going to be run by the Solomon Islands Electoral Office [SIEC] and is this what they have been coordinating/implementing that they are unable to prepare for the National General Election.
- Are all of Solomon Islands Citizens going to be brought to Honiara to compete in the games that what funds are there will be used to bring them into Honiara?
- Is the SPG23 going to run for the whole of 2023, making it impossible to run the General Election.
The citizens of Solomon Islands and more importantly the Solomon Islands Electoral Commission has in the past always seen as independent of the Executive Government and part of the National Parliament. As such they have always known since independence that people go to the polls every four years to elect who they want to entrust their powers to, to govern them for the next four years. They also paid tax to support the Solomon Islands Electoral Commission to look after, do educational awareness and run the National General Election. Are the senior officials of the Office of Prime Minister and Cabinet telling the citizens of this country that SIEC is dysfunctional and therefore not able to implement the requirement of running the National General Election? Or is it the case that SIEC only learned yesterday and for the first time it is being asked to run the National General Election, therefore not prepared all this time.
In the recent amendment of the Electoral Act 2018, the SIEC Commission as do other Commissions are now under the Office of the Prime Minister and Cabinet. Are the public/citizens of Solomon Islands witnessing the politicizing of the Solomon Islands Electoral Commission and Office, an issue that Transparency Solomon Islands raised in its submission to the Bills and Legislation Committee of the Parliament. Or is this another instance of where the Executive Government having these Commissions under it, it can control it through non-resourcing deliberately stopping them doing their work. One only has to look at the Solomon Islands Independence Commission Against Corruption, to date a white elephant in the room with no grass to feed on. These important institutions of integrity are being manipulated to serve the purpose of the current government to allow it to remain in power for an extra year. But the question is, is that the only option? Transparency Solomon Islands does not believe so and that they have not exhausted all possible options for running the election next year no the options that would be better than the ones suggested. STOP THE MADNESS. IF YOU CANNOT STAND THE HEAT, KNOW HOW TO STAND THE HEAT VACATE THE HOUSE AND OFFICE. People of Solomon Islands must be accorded their democratic right. The Government answers to the people and not the other way round.
– Transparency Solomon Islands