Democracy vs Development in West Makira constituency

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DEAR EDITOR, one notable feature of democracy is the majority always wins. This is mostly expressed during voting – a common system of electing leaders in democratic nations. These leaders in turn are elected purposely to become the mouthpiece and the voice of its people being represented in the governing house.

Equally important as well is that they are elected to facilitate, coordinate and fulfil the development aspiration and visions of the represented populace – a popular notion being widely uphold nowadays as a result of the dual function nature of our MPs better described as legislator and a development planner.

Thus we see on a general perspective that a leader has a direct link with the development of our country hence our respective constituencies. Moreover, it is interesting to see that respective leaders have different development visions, goals and objectives, plans and programmes for its followers, and that it is of their high interest to see their development dreams come true. And so is the people.

However for a leader with such development visions, the possible and probably the most favourable step to undertake towards fulfilling his or her development dreams is to get into the highest governing body – the parliament.

And this is where most have a problem with, because the key to that round house is with the people. And they cannot give you on granted purposes. They can lock you in and lock you out anytime they want or whenever they wish. Infact this peculiar right is granted to them by the legitimate principles of democracy.

However, experience tells that the way we applied these rights can either have positive or negative impacts on development initiatives we undertake.

To the West Makira constituents how we use our rights to put someone up there in the parliament is not explicit neither subtle and is quite undetectable but it can be deduced from our political history and two real practicable observable facts.

First of these two facts is, there has been too much playing around with the key to the round-house since late S S Mamaloni reign comes to an end and; secondly, we uphold psychologically, a typical development ideology that implies that major and wholesome developments are practical initiatives of life that can occur overnight.

Too much playing around with the key to parliament can be clearly comprehended when we glance back on our political history since Mamaloni’s reign ends. To be straight, since the beginning of this 21st century, we have locked in and thrown out four respective leaders successively, with full completed terms.

Each leader embarking on its own route to developing west Makira based on his development ideologies. And interestingly to note, each successive one never picks on from where his former ends – an act based on self-realisation which does not promote the “all” but the “I”. None the less, looking at this political scenario, can we draw something out that has a relative effect on our progressing developments?

In other words, what is the effect of toying around with this key on our development strive? Or to an extent, do you think we can have a consistent, logical, economically relevant and priority, and a fast-paced progressive developments?

Answering these questions will enlightened us why we need to be more careful with the key we hold to parliament, And hopefully would give us better understanding on why we need to apply key rightly in the best interest of our development strive.

In addition, how we use our voting rights appears to be rooted from a kind of development project ideology that implies that major significant developments projects can happen overnight.

And the effect of this ideology is clearly seen in the political scenario just recently described. In other words, we are often dissatisfied with every leader we appoint probably because they might have not done any major significant developments projects which can address the entire constituency socio-economical needs and wants. However we need to scrutinise such mindsets because practically it is wrong and does not conform to practical natures of project implementations.

Literally, huge projects that can have an entire effect on our constituency cannot happen in a day neither in a year except on very rare occasion, in the Solomon Islands context and setting. There are a lot of factors contributing to this and it is not the MP that delays the process or doing nothing.

Let us get informed that project implementation is a difficult task that does not demands a day to get it done. In fact development planners, project managers and implementer know all too well the difficulty and the complexity of the task. It’s not that easy as we might think as well as not too soon as we might expect. Practically four years is sufficiently not enough.

And to you all the MPs of this country whom you have managed to give in and developed your constituency with whatever resources being possibly available to you, I commend you for your hard work.

But in truth, implementing major significant development projects that could have a dynamic effect and satisfy us all (should we ever be satisfied) is a difficult task that demands time and energy. And this is one reason why only a few insignificant projects taking place in the first four years.

And as you have experienced these insignificant projects are merely community, household or personal projects. But let me tell you the truth, unless these insignificant projects were in line with the constituency development plans and policy ,they are the least of projects the MP and his team should spend their time and energy on; but somehow they were done as means to pacify our self-gratification and self-centred interests.

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Huge constituency development projects that can have a whole effect on the entire constituency generally needs more than four years or so. Thus the ideology that implies that wholesome developments can happen overnight must be discarded.

These two facts then have exposed two very abstractive notions on developments which can be stated as: voting leaders one after another hinders progressive development but result only with a stagnant development.

And secondly, sufficient time is needed by a leader to fully implement his development plans and visions, thus I reckon two terms in the parliament is reasonable.

So far I have seen nothing too negatively serious about our current leader’s performance relating to his work. After all he’s far better off than the others before him. In fact he made a difference by compiling his team in a transparent and procedural manner. That is his CDO, project manager and the accountant were chosen on merit through application for the respective post while in the past hand-pick is the usual practise which is a typical of corruption.

Not only that, but already he has done some significant changes in our socio- economic development. He has invested a lot too in the education sector-a worthwhile investment in which you will see its fruit in the next ten years or so. Moreover there are still more good things yet to come and we are picking up. And though we are a bit slower, we are accelerating.

Our worst fear however, at this remaining months is, if this current development scheme and programme comes to halt once more, by electing another new MP, as we have been doing all along, then definitely we are sliding down again to square one.

Consequently the status qou is maintained and worst still (instead of moving forward, we are not only moving backward but rotating on a dead end cycle. This is why we can describe our development situation as a stagnant development situation)

It’s high time we take a serious consideration on our previous practice on electing leaders. It’s time we should focus and think more heavily on the progression of our development rather than on preferring leaders.

It is time we evaluate the effect of putting one leader after another on our development strive. And above all, it is really high time we identify and honestly state who really is to be blame for the slow development progression we are experiencing. To be frank, our MPs are totally out from any form of blames, for don’t you remember that the government is of the people, by the people and for the people.

This statement apparently states (clarify) that all responsibilities and hence blames falls on you: not the MPs. Nonetheless, in regard to changing an MP, let that be an ad hoc matter. In fact time and nature will tell exactly when to change a leader. Let us not rush hence to change a leader just for the sake of ticking somebody different.

Of course we will have additional candidates vying for that sacred chair in this upcoming national election as well definitely they are going to cause imbalance on our minds. However it is important that we know and understand that such is the ways and natures of democracy, which if we carefully considered, are just illusions and fancies of the system. To be straight, these are the deceptive parts of democracy that carry ones minds away from the current development scheme and programmes that are going on.

So let us not focus, dwell and fooled around on those impractical natures of democracy, rather let’s be pragmatic towards our development strive.

And this can be truly achieved through communicating, cooperating and collaborating with our MP which apart from other modes, can be simply shown through our ballot papers by appointing him on another second term. This might sound a bit undemocratically but this is an expedient approach for the sake of speeding up worthwhile developments in west Makira.

To conclude democracy provides legitimate principles whereby we can exercise our rights based on our free conscience to choose and elect leaders. But exercising some of these rights can have an impact on certain aspect of live, in particular, our development strive. So far we have been using these rights to prefer leader after leader that we do not realise that it has a detrimental effect as well as a hindrance to our progressive development.

It is time we turn around and exercise our rights wisely for a positive and a progressive development in our constituency.

Finally lest we forget, all our leaders envision a healthy, active, wealthy and a prosperous constituency – not bad things. They just need time to fulfil those dreams.

Long live west Makira!

Hansel Sau

USP Solomon Islands

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