Fiji Time: 9:43 PM on Sunday 22 October

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Helpful friends

Sailosi Batiratu
Sunday, October 22, 2017

INDIA, through its high commissioner, has made it known that it is ready to help us out for the 2018 general election. That must be welcome news to those tasked with the preparation of the election.

That is at the government to government level, which is important for such an important exercise to be carried out without too many problems.

For the ordinary or average citizen, an election means going to cast their vote. But we also hope it is much more than just that.

For starters, Fijians should make it their duty to inform or educate themselves about the parties and individuals which will be contesting next year's general election?

Every so often, we hear or are told by people in power that education is one of the surest ways out of poverty which usually a physical and/or monetary lack leading to people living in a deprived state.

Because physical and monetary poverty can be so visible, it can easily lead to people not noticing the impacts of other forms of poverty on their lives which could just as easily have a negative bearing, not only on their existence, but on that of their communities and even the nation as a whole.

Given the fact that some of the candidates will eventually win a seat in Parliament, we should take a very keen interest in the people who put their hands up to serve us as parliamentarians.

We should ask if they have been of service to the communities which they hail from. If they have indeed been of service, what was the quality and the impact of that service?

Where there is a noticeable lack, the respective party should be made aware of this.

Given that there is a period of several years in between elections, people usually forget what candidates told them before the last election and what they did or did not do when they got into power.

Hence it is important to follow what candidates say on the campaign trail. Another source of important information will be the partie's manifestoes. These are important to our forming a political consciusness, so to speak.

It will allow us to hold our elected representatives to their word.

If present trends continue, and they should, elected leaders will be out and about among the people in the years after the election affording everyday women, men and children the opportunity to hear our elected officials and senior civil servants about Government's plans for a particular area and the things important to people in those areas.

While governments such as India and that of our other friends will be ready to help us with the smooth running of the election, the kind of government we will get is entirely up to us. That way, we can be our own most helpful friend.

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