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Wednesday, 04 January 2012 20:40

 

Power tends to corrupt.
Absolute power corrupts absolutely.

- Lord Acton, (1834–1902) British Historian

Democracy is our best defense against corrupt power. But it cannot be taken for granted and needs constant maintenance. Corrupt power often tries to undermine democracy through bribery – whether directly through payments of cash, alcohol or drugs, or indirectly through 'pork barreling' projects where national resources are inappropriately directed to local electorates.

Corrupt elections result in poor governance, increased poverty, crime and social instability, which can lead to violence and wars.

There is a clear link between corruption and violence. Corrupt power is often maintained by exploiting divisions, stirring up fear and hatred of a minority or external agency. In this way problems can be conveniently blamed on this scapegoat while unscrupulous politicians portray themselves as the best protector against this 'threat'. Under corrupt power, organized crime flourishes and can even take over the political process so that only those approved by the 'crime bosses' stand a chance of being elected.

Clean Elections Campaigns aim to safeguard and nurture democracy through educating voters about issues of corruption and inviting all to pledge to refuse to participate in bribery or violence.

 

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The Solomon Star examines the 'extraordinary impact' the Winds of Change Clean Election Campaign is having on the country’s voters.

On the front page of its Weekend magazine, The Solomon Star features a report on the Clean Election Campaign being conducted by Winds of Change, the name under which Initiatives of Change operates in the Solomon Islands.

‘They are small slips of paper, flimsy to the touch, printed only on one side,’ writes Moffat Mamu, ‘and yet what they represent may be the most powerful force to hit the Happy Isles since RAMSI landed its thousand plus force back in July 2003. Distributed by the Winds of Change as part of their Clean Election Campaign these pieces of paper are voters’ pledges, each one the signed pledge or promise of an individual voter not to engage in corrupt practices during the course of this year’s election but instead to carefully consider their vote, recognise its value and use it wisely. And right now they are flooding into the Honiara headquarters of the Winds of Change who have been carrying out a nationwide Clean Election Campaign (CEC) ahead of next month’s general election….

‘It is … about empowering people says Christina Mitini, another of the Winds of Change team who has also worked on the AusAID funded Civic Education Project. “What we are actually telling people is you‘ve got the power to make change, to make a difference you just have to know how to use it. And not misuse it,” she says with a laugh. “And, if you want to change things then you need first to look at yourself and what you need to change in yourself,” she says explaining the core philosophy behind the Winds of Change….

‘A non-denominational group of purely volunteers it has grown out of a one week conference held in Honiara back in June 2004 which had the broad theme of exploring ways of healing the nation and restoring public integrity.’

 

Get to know us at www.iofc.org/clean-elections-campaign-about

Last Updated on Friday, 07 April 2017 23:19
 

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