ON THURSDAY THE 23rd of March voters from the Vanuatu provinces of MALAMPA, PENAMA, SHEFA and TAFEA took to the polling stations to cast their votes.
On that day a Transparency International Vanuatu Team was traveling around the island of Tanna conducting community awareness’s on the Right To Information Law.
Some of the voters that were spoken to described the distances that they had to walk to vote as “tiring, but it is our duty to elect our leaders.”
One voter from the Polling Station of Launalang Primary School in North Tanna explained that the long distances was just one little part of the hard work they do every time there is an election, “we wake up early in the morning, around two or three o’clock, and begin our journey to the polling station. We walk for around three to four hours to reach our destination.”
“When both parents come to vote they also have to bring all their children, including the elderly. This means that they have to cook their lunch very early in the morning so that they can eat together under a shade somewhere near the polling station.”
“After lunch they do not go home yet. They want to hear the Unofficial Results, so they have to wait till the polling station closes its door at around four or five in the evening, and then around six the Unofficial Results will come out. And by the time they get home, which would take again another three hours, it would be around nine or ten o’clock at night.”
Voters who walk long distances claim that they have the capacity and resources to conduct electoral voting processes at their own villages, “we can operate our own polling stations that is nearer to those of us that are living in the remote areas if the authorities approve of it, we have the capacity and the resources,” said a voter from North Tanna.
The elections on Tanna run smoothly with no major disturbances.
Below are a few photos of that day.