Solomon Star

HONIARA, Solomon Islands (Feb. 6, 2010) - At least two political parties have already launched their party manifestos ahead of this year’s national election.

They are OUR Party and Autonomous Solomon Islanders Party.

OUR Party comprised of current MPs within the Opposition and the Independent Group in parliament.

It is led by none other than Opposition leader Manasseh Sogavare, who is eying another go at the top job.

Autonomous Solomon Islanders Party, on the other hand, is being led by a Elijah Owa, a man, even we at the Solomon Star, knew little about.

Its leadership includes two former members of parliament, Jackson Sunaone of West Makira, and Basil Manelegua of Gao/Bugotu, Isabel.

A former Makira premier Steven Piringisau is one of the party’s secretaries.

In their previous launches, party leaders outlined their aims and objectives, and what they plan to do if they lead the next government.

Normal speeches and promises you hear during political campaigns.

The two parties however, must be commended for their preparations and for telling this nation who they are and what they want for Solomon Islanders.

There is however, one thing we are yet to hear from these two parties. It’s on the controversial Rural Community Development Fund (RCDF) and other rural funds – Mircro Project Fund and the Millennium Fund.

We’ve said it before that these funds must be removed from the control of members of parliament.

The public too, wants to see that.

The funding packages, which Taiwan is providing in the name of rural developments, are largely controlled by MPs.

The demand is for the funds to be removed from the controlling power of MPs and placed into the care of a designated government agency that will manage their usage.

The fundings have turned politicians into fund managers and Automatic Teller Machines (ATMs) instead of doing what they’re-elected to do.

Now the nation is waiting.

Which political party will come out and tell this nation they’re going to deal with the rural funding issue if they come into power?

Or is it an issue too sensitive for political parties to even mention in their manifestos?

Yes, we know politicians are too attached to the rural funding packages that they will not easily relinquish it.

It is power to them. It is what gives them the status and the recognition they want people to accord them.

But this is people’s money. MPs shouldn’t have the controlling authority over it.

Experiences have shown the millions of dollars Taiwan provided under the fundings did very little towards rural development.

It is largely a slush fund politicians used to keep their seats.

Other political party leaders are waiting on the wings. They’ll soon be launching their parties.

Let’s all wait and see what they’re going to say on the "people’s money".

Are they going to keep the money to themselves again?

Or are they going to finally come to their senses and leave the money alone to the people.

Let’s wait and hear from them.

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