From a simple housewife to Solomons Parliament: Hon Ethel Lency Vokia

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25th November, 2020

[By Alfred Sasako] The meteoric rise of Mrs. Ethel Lency Vokia – a simple housewife to Parliament – is a story of considerable achievement.  The Solomon Star caught up with her when her constituents from three Communities took delivery of three ray boats, each powered by a 30-hp Suzuki engine in Honiara this week. “From the word “go”, I had no doubt whatsoever about winning the seat,” the newly elected MP for North East Guadalcanal, said.“I had no doubt whatsoever because of the support the people in the Constituency have given my husband when he was the MP. If the support was not there, I would not have gone in there in the first place,” she told Solomon Star yesterday.

Mrs. Ethel Lency Vokia.

It was a husband-and-wife team that blazed its way through the Constituency from the moment campaigning opened for the November 18 by-election. “Our opposition threw all sorts of dirt at us in the hope of dimming our hopes in regaining the seat. As it turned out, nothing worked for them. People have seen what works and what does not,” Mr. Vokia said yesterday. “The outcome of the election simply switches our roles. Whereas she was managing the Constituency Development Program for me when I was the MP, now I will be doing that role,” he said. But I wish to make it clear that Mrs. Vokia would be calling the shots in prioritizing the development of the Constituency purely from the perspective of a Mother that she is.

Mrs. Vokia is due to be sworn in at a brief ceremony in Parliament this morning. This week, just three days after being declared the winner, Mrs. Vokia and her supporters swung into action. The Constituency bought three large ray boats for three Communities in the Constituency.  The three lucky communities are SIARA, KERAKOKA, and Tivilae. SIARA’s Jonathan Tutu told Solomon Star yesterday the purchase of the three boats and engines have lifted a huge load off their shoulders.

“Today is the end of our dependency on private OBMs to take us to and from the market. It was hard work as we had to walk about five kilometres from the market to our villages,” he said. Now Mrs. Vokia has set her eyes on the Housing Scheme which her husband had started following last year’s national general election. Materials such as cement, steel rods, and so on are being delivered in some wards in preparation for the resumption of the housing scheme, which will see some 570 houses being erected in the Constituency over the next two years.

According to Mr. Vokia, the choice of buying the boats has taken care of a number of important things. These include transporting building materials for the housing scheme, removing the payment of double freighting, the safety of women walking back to their villages at night as well as medical emergencies. “Again, this is seen from a mother’s perspective because at the end of the day the heavy workload always falls on the women. And that is why you see so many women with their children here,” he said.

There is one other individual who fought tooth and nails all the way to the ballot box in making sure Mrs. Vokia wins. It is another mother, Rose Tala, a Guadalcanal Provincial Assembly Member who comes from the Tasimboko area. “Mrs. Vokia’s victory has made my work a lot easier because now I have a direct link with someone in the National Parliament whose support I can count on,” Ms. Tala told Solomon Star yesterday.  Mrs. Tala is introducing the new Member of Parliament to the Guadalcanal Provincial Assembly later. “We want to create a new team, which will work together for the development of our Constituency as well as the Province,” MPA Tala said.


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