TRANSPARENCY INTERNATIONAL VANUATU is taking the opportunity of UN Anti-Corruption Day tomorrow to call on the government to make strong commitments to fighting corruption to enhance political integrity.
“Vanuatu is facing a crisis of political integrity. Fragmentation of political parties, ongoing instability in government and serious deficiency in the electoral system are openly acknowledged by everyone in government, the opposition and the public. This situation needs to be address as a matter of urgency,” said Dr. Willie Tokon, chair of TI-Vanuatu*.
Transparency International Vanuatu believes that in order to enhance political integrity, the government must first establish a national integrity committee made up of both non-governmental and government representatives.
This committee should help:
- Develop laws to regulate political parties and independent candidates for election, and in particularly party finances and campaign finances.
- Implement an accurate electoral roll and voting system, which is not subject to abuse
- Revise the Standing Orders of Parliament, regulation of members’ allocations and rules about the use of motions of no confidence
- Revise the Ombudsman Act and Leadership Code Act to expand the Ombudsman’s powers and ensure that there are consequences for breaches of the Leadership Code
- Enact the Right to Information Bill and revise the Government Act to ensure of Transparency of the executive.
All of these changes should be made in a transparent and consultative manner in order to build awareness of the roles, responsibilities and good practice of both the government and the citizen within a democracy. This will help bring about both a public and political will for change.
This is particularly important as some of these changes may require amendments to the Constitution that will need to be supported by a public referendum.
Transparency Vanuatu is contributing to this by holding workshops on voter education awareness, anti-corruption awareness among young people and awareness on the importance of a Right to Information law. It is also providing free legal clinics through its Advocacy and Legal Advice Centre.
Even though the anti-corruption day activities in Vanuatu have been postponed (as per press statement from the Office the Prime Minister), yesterday 8 December Transparency International Vanuatu held a presentation reception at the Moorings attended by the media, government officials, politicians, CSO representatives, Board members of TIV and friends.
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