WHY PRESIDENT IMATA KABUA LOST THE MARSHALL ISLANDS ELECTION

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VIEWPOINT

By Carl Heine, Political Analyst

MAJURO, Marshall Islands (December 17, 1999 – Marshall Islands Journal)---The ballot box is still the best barometer to test public opinion one way or another. The recently completed general election throughout the Marshall Islands indicated beyond any doubt, the general feelings of the Marshallese people toward their government, its policies, and its leaders.

Let us look at some of the facts that emerged from the recent election.

The Majuro constituents, the largest in the Marshall Islands, brought down the administration of President Imata Kubua. Four Cabinet Ministers lost their seats, including two of the most powerful Ministers, Mr. Tony deBrum of Finance, and Mr. Phillip Muller of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. In addition, about eight candidates back by the Kabua administration lost in their respective election districts. Mamoru Kabua, Ebon, lost. Charles Domnick, Wotje, lost. Rod Nakamura, Ailinglaplap, lost. Bwillon Nakamura, Namdrik, lost. Leikman Robert, Arno, lost. Kejjo Bien, Mili, lost. Marie Maddison, Majuro, lost and Kunio Lemari, Wotho, won by one highly questionable vote.

Furthermore, the Majuro electorate is also composed of almost all the atolls throughout the Marshalls, so their vote in the last election is very representative of a cross section of the Marshallese people and their different opinions. Collectively, the Majuro electorate not only knocked out the administration of Imata Kabua, but it gave the largest number of votes to Senator-elect Wilfred I. Kendall. Mr. Kendall received the highest number of votes throughout the Marshall Islands. His vote was much bigger than Imata Kabua in Ebeye. In Majuro electorate alone, Mr. Kendall displayed a commanding lead over his other colleagues. Even if Kendall did not come out loudly and say anything publicly, the Majuro electorate loves him and demonstrated their strong support. This is something to be proud of and Mr. Kendall should get the support of his colleagues who ran with him in Majuro. If not, why not?

Finally something should be said about the Majuro electorate. Of all the Marshallese voters this last election, they are the ones whose eyes and ears, and thinking were closer to all the important events and news taking place in the Marshalls. Their vote speaks very loudly, and very nationally in character and sentiment. They spoke for the entire Republic, while the local electorates of other atolls spoke of local issues and sentiments.

What does all this mean now that the dust of the election has settled down? Well, for one thing, the electorate in Majuro and the outer islands are telling us that 1) they have had enough of Imata Kabua’s administration. They also expressed dislike for the Cabinet of President Kabua and his leadership; that is why four (4) ministers lost their seats. They also are telling us that the policies of President Kabua’s administration are totally unacceptable, including its foreign policy, especially as it relates to China and Taiwan. The people of the Marshalls somehow feel that there was too much illegal money from Taiwan getting into Marshall Islands internal election. This, they did not like.

I do not know if Senator-elect Wilfred Kendall has any ambition to be a President of the Republic, but if he does, the characteristics of the Majuro electorate speaks very highly of him as a person, as a legislator, and as a leader.

EDITORIAL Marshall Islands Journal Majuro, Marshall Islands December 17, 1999

WHAT’S THE MESSAGE?

We hear people wondering, will the United Democratic Party stay united, or are Senators going to jump to the President’s party so that Imata Kabua can return as head of state for another four years.

Our question to all of our elected leaders is, what exactly was the message of the voters on November 15? The answer, we believe, is obvious from the fact that the former government party is now in the minority.

People voted for change because they are tired of seeing government officials taking advantage of their positions to enrich themselves; because they would like to see a lot more accountability in government operations; because they want the hospital and Social Security, to name just two, to function properly.

Will the people get the result they voted for? That depends on the vigilance of the public in continuing to demand results from the Senators that they have elected to represent them.

The Marshall Islands Journal, Box 14, Majuro, Marshall Islands 96960 E-mail: journal@ntamar.com  Subscriptions (weekly): 1 year US $87.00; international $213.00 (air mail).

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Comments

I worked for him for a long time in different capacities and you can say nothing bad about the guy except for his being temperamental when under the influence of ethanol. He wanted to make changes but had to do it his way. There was the Aloha Airlines that he brought to compete with Air Micronesia but no one in his administration supported it . If there was a healthy competition the price of tickets between here and Honolulu would not be that lucrative. His legacy remains in the establishment of the relationship with Republic of China (Taiwan). To date Taiwan contribute much to the national funds of the government. Regarding his comeback to the Presidential seat, he was given that option to be elected to the Presidency but he would not allow himself to be aligned with people he did not like. So it did not take him that long to leave politics .

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