Push in Solomons to stop vote buying
Anti-corruption group in Solomon Islands encourages people not to expect payment in exchange for their votes in the general election later this year.
Transparency Solomon Islands is trying to encourage people not to sell their votes in this year's general election.
The organisation says it is a common practice for people only to give their vote to a candidate who gives them something in return.
It has condemned the practice and as its spokesperson, Daniel Fenua, told Don Wiseman Transparency is running workshops around the country to highlight the problem, which are having an impact.
DANIEL FENUA: Most of the participants who attended the workshop were saying that because of the fact that they didn't receive anything from their members of parliament so if they really want to get their vote they have to give them their money. I think most of the people in the Solomon Islands, unless of course you give them something, and then of course they will promise their vote in exchange for you know, if you give them some money.
DON WISEMAN: And when we talk about giving them money we mean money in their back pockets, not a road in the village?
DF: Yes that is correct because they are aware that there are public funds that should be available for them but because they did not get access to these funds what they are thinking is if MPs or candidates who contest in their constituencies they expect that they should give them something before they actually give their vote.
DW; Alright so you are conducting these workshops. You want to turn those sort of attitudes around, and I guess they are very ingrained so how do you do it?
DF: We try to educate the participants and other voters that this is wrong. You don't have to give your vote in exchange for money, this is probably wrong and everybody has the right to choose the best candidates who can represent them in parliament. We told them that it only takes them five seconds to have a choice but if you choose a wrong leader it will mean four years suffering, facing the same situation, suffering all the time, so we are trying to discourage people - that this a wrong perception, this is a wrong attitude and they really need to change. So they have to cast their vote in exchange for services rather for cash.
DW: What sort of impact are you having? Are you getting feedback that people will vote differently in the elections later this year?
DF: Absolutely. Like the participants are now organising anti corruption groups within the provinces we visited and they promise to do a lot of voter education about the fact that, like women's group need to vote for the kind of leaders they choose rather those that pay them cash, so we should have an impact. Like there is already a group of people being formed like an anti corruption group within the province where they promise they will disseminate whatever information we give them and distribute the materials, and then they will contact some of the other women. And we also will be conducting some of the election activities, leading up to the election. So what we will do, we will maintain contact with these people, these local groups that have formed as a result of these workshops and we will continue to give them information and encouragement that people don't have to exchange their votes for money.
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