30th August, 2012
A prominent women’s leader in Solomon Islands says there has been a mixed reaction to the election of only the second woman MP in the country’s history and the current parliament’s sole woman representative. Hon Vika Lusibaea, who is from Fiji, achieved a substantial victory over her nine male rivals in the North Malaita by-election. Mrs Lusibaea is the wife of the former North Malaita MP Jimmy Lusibaea, who lost the seat after an unlawful wounding conviction.
Dr Alice Pollard, who directs the West ‘Are’ Are Rokotanikeni or Women Coming Together Association, says some people are asking if Mrs Lusibaea was successful because she is a foreigner.
“Or because she’s a woman and she can deliver or did she win because of the great support rendered to her by her husband and family and the whole constituents, you know people are still asking the question of how did she get in.”
The Hon. Vika Lusibaea is only the second women in Solomon Islands political history to enter the National Parliament. It was a big victory for Mrs Lusibaea, who polled 2802 votes ahead of the second candidate Fredrick Kwanairara with 901 votes.
A recent report showed that the Pacific Islands are still lagging in terms of women representatives in Parliament. The report also highlighted that on average Pacific Island countries still have one of the lowest rates of women political representation globally.
Supporters of the newly elected MP for North Malaita, Vika Lusibaea, are defending her election win, describing it as “the choice of the people.”
In an e-mail to Solomon Times, supporters of Mrs Lusibaea say that for a prominent women leader to question their choice is unfortunate.
“We have been very satisfied with how our former MP managed our constituency, we are sure Mrs Lusibaea will carry forward the good plans that was started by her husband.”
They have called on those that choose to discredit their newly elected MP to respect their decision.
Mrs Vika Lusibaea is only the second women to be elected into the National Parliament. This is well below the Pacific average, where women suffer the worst rate of representation in parliaments.
The Solomon Islands Governor General, Sir Frank Kabui has congratulated the new MP-elects for East Are and North Malaita constituencies, saying that he wishes them well for their term in parliament.
Mr. Andrew Manepora’a won the East AreAre seat, while Vika Lusibaea won the North Malaita seat.
In a signed statement to officially declare Wednesday’s by-election results, the Governor General stated that Andrew Manepora’a as winning candidate, polled a total of 2,157 votes and had won the by elections in East AreAre by a majority of 929 votes.
Other by-election results for East AreAre: Aliki Toka Ha’apio polled 1,228; Sir Peter Kenilorea polled 460; and, Claudius Horiwapu polled 150 votes.
For the North Malaita by-election results, the Governor General stated Vika Lusibaea polled a total of 2,802 votes and had won by a majority of 1,901 votes.
Other by-election results for North Malaita: Frederick Kwainairara polled 901 votes; Senley Levi Filualea polled 675 votes; Peter Fairamoa polled 503 votes; Danny Ratai Fa’afunua polled 269 votes; John Moffat Konofilia polled 248 votes; Wilfred Baetalua polled 189 votes; Felix Maelil Abuofa polled 51 votes; George Sensie polled 23 votes; and Ben Fruits O’bana polled only 4 votes.