Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Zooming in to D-Day: 'Tough love' scenarios starting to re-emerge?

As the date to elect a new Prime Minister is announced by the Governor-General, lobbying has reached its near climax with the reported merge of the other camps to face-off with the stronger and more stable SIDP-led Heritage Park Hotel (HPH) camp.

According to media reports, the number of political camps has been reduced to two and a bigger (grand) coalition has emerged, with a total of 35 members in their camp. Solomon Times reported that the newly-merged group may now have the numbers and that the SIDP- led HPH camp is losing its support.

However, Hon. Matthew Wale, spokesman for the SIDP-led HPH camp told Solomon Star that they are unmoved by the other camp's claim of numbers. He added that some of their members are still to arrive in  Honiara and once they are all in town their numbers should be enough to make up the 26 members simple majority required to form government.

While it is still unclear who has the number advantage, one thing is clear that the math just don't add up with one group claiming 35 and the other 26. For sure, one of these groups is not telling the truth and is trying to mislead the people of Solomon Islands with this petty number politics.

For the new MPs, it is  clear that they are now fully absorbed into the 'dirty' politics of Solomon Islands as they are being lured into 'marriage' with either of the camps. For them it is a new adventure, a new experience. But for the 'old-timers' this is just the begining of another four-year battle for power and dominance; the survival of the fitness, the most cunning and the most ambitious.

Indeed, with the formation of a 'grand coalition' as reported by the media, what we are staring to witness is the formation of 'tough love' relationships between rivals who happen to have grouped together just to fulfil their own strategic interests and motives because the situation reqires them to. They have found themselves in a very uncomfortable situation where they are required to group together to face a common enemy and rival, and that is the SIDP-led HPH camp.

My worry is that if they really have the numbers and therefore the upper hand to form the next government, it won't be long before cracks will start to show again within the coalition. Any coalition of their kind will be a highly fluid and loose one, formed only to satisfy the requirement of the day, but never out of the genuine need to 'form and work the government'.

We have all seen how the GCCG crambled in the face of pressure. In the most trying times of governing when they were required to group together as a group with a common voice and solidaity, they disintegrated. Many would argue that the dividing factor then was the 'Moti saga', but cracks were already showing before the 'moti saga' was an issue. The row between the then Prime Minister, the Minister of Finance and the Minister for Forestry due to business interests related to logging is a case in point.

Thus, despite their profiles and ranks, since they may never work together with a common, vision, purpose, interest, goal and committment they may never last. As the holy book says, "the Lord helps only those who help themselves", my opinion is that such a situation like the one described earlier is one that is very afar from the criterion suitable for any divine intervention. The end result is a government that would only last for 2 years or less- an ineffective government whose behaviour is defined by the characters it is made up of, thus a government that would put its own interest before that of public value and concerns.

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