By Western Province Governor Hon Taboi Awi Yoto
There's a public perception out there that MP's have a lot of money. In Western Province, many assume that MPs and the Governor are supposed to have all the money and goodies to dish out for every personal/family/group requests.
Though it's a fact that what we MPs receive in a fortnight is more compared to the rest of our ordinary citizens, the list of request we receive is way beyond what our fortnightly pay can offset.
Since I won, there has been ever ending list of request that continues to flood my office, my facebook inbox, whatsup, text messages, emails and phone calls.
Many requests that I have received has tagged phrases used to try to squeeze something out of me. Tagged phrases such as "I'm your voter", "I campaigned for you" "I gave you my first preference vote" "I sacrificed my time for you" "I'm your die-hard supporter since 2012" "I was your scrutineer" I lost my tears for your victory" "mi hard wok man yah" etc etc
You can continue the never-ending "I DID THIS AND THAT FOR YOU" list.
I understand, everyone played a part, one way or the other to contributed to my election victory. However, it was done for a purpose bigger than the personal benefit or the minority group benefits.
One thing that stresses me is that though, I try to assist within my limits, I don't know how much is enough. For instance, I had to assist a desperate man with a ticket and K2000.00 when he was in need and called for help.
Though I knew he needed more than what I could assist, I couldn't do much so I had to give him how much I could. After receiving the little assistance from me, he calls me up and here is what he says,
"YOU GOVERNOR or tool boy lo workshop? Mi-key man yah. You papa blog rich Province na how? Bara You no fit lo painim money lo Mosbi, K2000 em peanut yah. Mi mas wastim taim lo supporting you ya, em orite yumi stap liklik na lukim lo 2022"
Many do not appreciate that at least their request has been considered among the many requests.
I'd like to inform my people here that such demands and expectations can drive your leaders down a wrong path, particularly force MPs to do something out of the normal to entertain your request and get into trouble. Later you will join the rest to spoil him/her for the wrongdoing. I have seen it happen and I know such traitors mix opportunists do exist.
Unless our people become self-reliant with no or little expectations from the MPs, MPs will continue to remain straight and not fall in the trap of trying to do something out of the normal to try to entertain the never-ending list of requests.
Being a son of former politician and having associated with people with perception about former politicians in the past, I have also learnt that in Western Province, if you are not able to entertain whatever personal request, even due to the lack financial and material resources, you are deemed a bad leader by majority of our illiterate voting population and so you should be replaced in the next election. Words of such goes around very easily and intending candidates usually capitalize on it to gain favour.
I am not afraid to be replaced that I fear that we will continue to have the political instability in the province and kill the continuity of good policy initiatives. Simply caused by defaming leaders for their lack of capacity to entertain personal request of the illiterate voting population rather than measuring what an MP has delivered.
The implication of such is that it can, driving an MP to a corner where he is forced to do something illegal to entertain personal requests and end up being dismissed or jailed like how it has happened in the past with WP leaders.