TSI slams ‘vote buying’ plot
Quoting the Solomon Star newspaper – 13 February 2019
“TRANSPARENCY Solomon Islands (TSI) is urging East Kwaio Constituency in Malaita Province to stop from the intention not to cast their votes in the 2019 national general election unless they are paid with cash.
“It stated that the revelation in yesterday’s publication is a wake-up call for every constituency to stop selling their votes because it is wrong to vote for candidate that will help you personally, or help your family.
“As we prepare to go to the polls in April 2019, Transparency Solomon Islands is urging voters to vote wisely. Vote for a good leader, someone who has a vision for his/her constituency and the nation as a whole,” the anti-corruption body stated.
“TSI says election bribery is an offence; hence your vote is worth more, it is worth better essential services, better roads, better schools, inclusive leadership and so forth - not just a bag of rice on devils night.
“Vote buying is one such act that candidates (and their agents) practice which has bred a general perception of supporters/voters sense of ‘being entitled” - that an MP will only help his/her supporters/voters compared to the rest of the constituents.
“Citizens must realize that your members of parliament are voted into parliament to represent the constituency (not his/her voters and supporters alone).
“As the country is preparing for another National General Election (NGE), the issue of vote buying is again on the rise. It is practiced openly under the guise of gifts and custom.
“Sadly vote buying on Devil’s Night (commonly referred to the night before election) has now become a common aspect of elections in the country that people even speak openly about it without remorse.
“Time and again tales are told about how agents work tirelessly during the night to dish out money and gifts to influence voters. Some candidates use respected community and church leaders to influence people’s votes.
“Citizens need to realize that once we accept vote buying as ‘normal’ and ‘okay’ we are accepting bribery, fraud and dishonesty. Our country has experienced huge setbacks because of corruption. Citizens must not sit back and accept vote buying as ‘life as usual’.
“It is time that we the citizens must be vigilant and report any such vote buying activities (if known). Vote buying and bribery is illegal – citizens must speak up, say something when you see something.
“Exercise your rights as a citizen by voting without undue influence, make your vote count. Voting for someone merely as an act of reciprocity or feeling obliged after receiving gifts and/or some form of assistance is not the right way of exercising your rights.”
Copyright @ 2019, Solomon Star News.