Frustrated electors protest for the registration of indigenous Fataleka constituents
By Gary Hatigeva
A group of frustrated Fataleka electors have staged a protest against their current Member of Parliament, in the form of screening or blockade, on people who attended to register under the Fataleka Constituency Registration booth at Town Ground.
The group led by a few chiefs from the Eastern Malaita region told Island Sun yesterday that what’s witnessed, which they call a blocking or screening protest, was done with intentions to ensure that only the indigenous people of Fataleka constituency are registered.
A Chief, Charles Uimauri, explained that this protest is staged in response to the cross border voting practice, which they alleged the current MP has been capitalising on in the last three elections.
Mr Uimauri said the original people of Fataleka have been denied public service benefits for far too long and this, they blame it on the issue of cross border voting, which had sucked out all that should have gone down to the indigenous people of the constituency.
The group admittedly said they have turned away a good number of people whom they know or suspected to be of no connection to the constituency either through marriage or blood.
The frustrated electors have vowed to see that the practice of getting people from other constituencies to vote in Fataleka, is put up with, for the sake of their marginalised people in the region who felt, have missed out heavily on all essential government services, which includes proper health services, education and infrastructure developments.
“It is like, the rest of the Solomon’s is moving into a new era in the development cycle while we remained in the early independence era,” Uimauri suggested.
Meanwhile, upon hearing the group’s activities, the office of the Solomon Islands Electoral Commission (SIEC) in a notice, called for the group to evacuate the venue.
The notice titled “Intending Candidates to remove tents within the OCC compound with immediate effect” that was sent through the Registration Officer, copied to the Registration Manager of Honiara, and the Police operations of Honiara City Council, stressed that the Electoral Commission had received complaints over the setting up of camps by intending candidates at the registration centre.
The SIEC Letter explained that it was never an intention of the commission to see that such activities happen within any of its premises, and is also subjected offences under the electoral act.
“Additionally, the OCC is national undertaking that provides services for forty seven (47) other constituencies across the country, and by having these tents/camps within the area, there causes for possible intimidating of eligible registrants that needs to be able to feel freely to register and not to be intimidated in any way,” the letter states.
The Letter however alleged that some of those in the highlighted groups, have notably went to the extent of directing and controlling queues to respective booths allocated for registration of certain constituencies.
The letter then reiterates that group’s presence at the venue has become a public concern for the past few days since BVR programme started, and have been told again to remove tents or camps from within the fenced premises, while at the same time enforced a prohibition of similar activities from repeating, but clarified that all these activities will not be an issue to the Commission if they are done outside the designated venue.
However, the frustrated group said the Commission has got its information wrong as they are not candidates nor are they members of any intending, but are basically frustrated electors who have for the last 12 years, along with most or the rest of the Fataleka constituency, being lied to and denied the benefits of developments and services that are deemed to have been given to the indigenous people of the region.
They warned that their concerns must be taken on seriously by both the Commission and those involved in matters they raised, and ensure they are dealt with, so to avoid any future issues that could worsened things.
But SIEC officials calls on the group to discourage any negative intentions, and reminded that the registration process is still in its first phases, and suggested for the frustrated electors to wait for the right time allowed under the law, the part of the process where names can be objected and omitted or removed if proven in public hearings to be held at the time.
“And if you think or can prove that certain persons or names are not of the Fataleka constituency, then they will be legally removed, and that is provided for under the Act.”