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Saneem And His Team Forging Ahead Despite Criticisms

In its short life of three years, the Fijian Elections Office has performed amazingly well despite criticisms from some quarters. Since the 2014 General Election, it continues to build its
26 Jan 2017 11:50
Saneem And His Team Forging Ahead Despite Criticisms

In its short life of three years, the Fijian Elections Office has performed amazingly well despite criticisms from some quarters.

Since the 2014 General Election, it continues to build its capacity and capability by establishing relationship with reputable election organisations abroad and learning the best practices from them.

The latest development is the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding between FEO and the Election Commission of India (ECI) at the Hotel Taj Mahal, India.

Supervisor of Elections Mohammed Saneem, who signed for the FEO, said the MoU will:

ν Promote the exchange of knowledge and experiences in the field of organisational and technical development of electoral processes, with a view to developing the practice of management and administration;

ν Exchange information, materials, expertise, technical knowledge and skills relating to electoral processes and systems;

ν Strengthen Institutions and build capacity through human resource development;

ν Facilitate relationships with other electoral authorities and organisations.

India is the world’s largest democracy so one can imagine the logistics involved in managing more than 800 million voters.

Despite the huge size of the electorate, the ECI has been successful in its Systematic Voters Education and Electoral Participation’ [SVEEP] programme.

It resulted in an increase in voter participation in the 2014 General Election by over 125 million voters. It also recorded the highest ever turnout in the Indian national election.

The FEO will learn from the experience of the ECI through training seminars and exchanges of personnel and information.

In October 2016, the FEO participated in the first Global International Seminar on Voter Education and has been contributing to the Voter Information, Communication and Education Network, which is a common platform for EMBs globally to share best practices in voter education.

Knowledge gained from these international forums have helped FEO build its capacity.

Its voter drive targeting secondary school students reaching 18-years-old has been a major success.

Based on the work it has done so far, it appears that the voter turnout for the 2018 general election could be higher than the 2014 figure. That will be good for our democracy.

Solving a burning question

The recent spate of fires including the big Korovou Town fire on Tuesday and three separate fires in the wider Suva area yesterday calls for a serious review.

Why are we having too many fires? Luckily in the recent ones, no one was seriously hurt or killed.

Based on its findings after investigating those fires, the National Fire Authority should analyse the causes and prepare a report.

The report should highlight the problems and recommend how we can prevent fires. It should be widely distributed to create public awareness.

While the NFA is conducting media campaigns, it also needs to go into communities and run an awareness campaign.

It would need the support of community leaders and other stakeholders to get this simple message across – stop fires, stay safe.

NEMANI DELAIBATIKI

Feedback: nemani.delaibatiki@fijisun.com.fj

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