By Mike Puia
THE female candidate for the Gizo-Kolombangara by-election, in the Western province, Lanelle Olandrea Tanangada, wasted no time as soon as the nomination period closed yesterday.
Lanelle completed her nomination formalities in Gizo yesterday morning and in the afternoon launched her campaign.
The campaign launching started with a parade through Gizo town. At the venue for the official programme, Lanelle delivered a powerful speech that got the crowd cheering throughout.
Lanelle is the wife of the former Member of Parliament (MP) for the constituency, Jimson Tanangada.
She is contesting along three male candidates. One of them is a former MP and Prime Minister, Gordon Darcy Lilo.
Mr Lilo was defeated by Mr Tanangada in the 2014 national general elections.
However, Lilo successfully lodged a petition against Tanangada which led to his disqualification from the seat last November ordered by the High Court.
Since then the Gizo-Kolombangara parliamentary seat has been vacant.
Lanelle said she is contesting the seat in response to calls by the people in the constituency for a leader to continue the work her husband had started.
This call becomes clear when speakers at the launching programme took their time to speak about their hope for a humble leader. They say Lanelle is the perfect person for the seat.
Lanelle said she had already received criticisms for contesting the seat as a woman.
“I think I know my place. I am a mother and I can speak for the silent majority especially the women and children in the rural areas.
“I want to do my best for the interest of the people in the Gizo-Kolombangara constituency,” Lanelle said.
She said she is confident and is prepared to be the voice of the constituency.
The 38-year-old calls for unity, solidarity and respect during this time until the polling day on May 23.
Lanelle is no ordinary woman. Like her husband, she is a teacher by profession. Lanelle graduated with a Masters in Education at the Waikato University in New Zealand.
She has given up her job as a teacher at Burnscreek School in Honiara to contest the seat.
Lanelle said she is contesting with no “revenge” as she is only putting to action the call by people in the constituency especially their leaders and women.
This is the first time a woman is contesting the Gizo-Kolombangara seat.
Whoever wins this by-election will only serve for seven months before parliament dissolves preparing for fresh national general elections next year.