FORUM Solomon Islands International (FSII) has partnered with Transparency Solomon Islands (TSI) and other local civil society groups to promote clean election campaigns.
TSI Executive Officer Daniel Fenua expressed his gratitude for collaborating with some of the powerful society groups in the country.
“I am happy that that you have shown commitment to be part of this important campaign,” MrFenua said.
The partners that agreed to work with TSI include FSII, Solomon Islands Development Trust (SIDT), Development Services Exchange (DSE) and Youth at Work.
The aim of the partnership is to use existing networks to spread the message to as many people as possible to the uttermost corners of the country, using various medium and different kinds of activities before, during and after the 2014 National General election.
MrFenua explained that the planned activities for the clean election campaign include MPs performance Assessment, Election Integrity Pledges and Voter Education.
The activities will include Radio programs, Community awareness, Newspapers, Workshop/Forums, Pledge events, Distribution of materials, Engaging Volunteers, Key messages on Bill Boards and others.
TSI has already engaged a number of researchers to go through Hansard records to collect data on MPs attendance, participation, contributions, membership, votes on bills, constituency tours and seek answers to a number of designed questionnaires.
“The information gathered will be entirely quantitative and will not seek to anlayse or make qualitative assessments on MPs performance.
“The information gathered will be gathered and published in the media,”MrFenua added.
“This information will rely entirely on public records and will be published with the caveat that the study looks at data only and there may have been other factors (not officially recorded) that may have impacted on the MPs performances.”
The other important activity is the Election Integrity Pledges.
Election integrity pledges aim to bring in parties and individuals,making pledges to commit to the principles of accountability, transparency and clean election by signing a statement.
“These pledges are a contract between the participating political parties or candidates and the public who will hold the politicians to account if they win,” MrFenua said.
He further stated that the statements will be witnessed by representatives from all sectors in the society, diplomats, development partners, civil society organisations, youths and other stakeholders.
The third component is the voter education which will involve a significant amount of direct communication with communities across the country, using print media, radio and workshops.
MrFenua said the program will encourage Solomon Islanders to make more informed choices when voicing, choose the right leaders and participate actively in the electoral process.
“TSI will do this by publishing factsheets as described above, lists of questions to ask election candidates and how they might assess their answers,” MrFenua said.
He said he was encouraged by the support shown by the 4 partners.
The partners agreed to run the campaign as a cartel, forgetting organisation banners but as a union that cared about accountability and transparency.
The Project is funded by UNDP and sets to begin in October.
FSII chief executive officer Benjamin Afuga said Clean Election Campaign has been a vision for his group.
“We have been working hard to engage in the clean election campaign. We even submitted a proposal to the EU but unfortunately it was unsuccessful. Nevertheless that does not daunt us from fulfilling this vision,” he said.
“So this opportunity given by TSI will be used to fulfill our vision to participate for a clean 2014 National General Election.
“We have many enthusiastic volunteers who are interested to get involved, therefore I’m certain we will get involve in many of the proposed activities,” Mr Afuga said.