People have forgotten they have the right to control their municipality - Apted

People have forgotten they have the right to control their municipality - Apted

By Rashika Kumar
Tuesday 07/11/2023
Former Supervisor of Elections, Jon Apted

Former Supervisor of Elections, Jon Apted says the people of the municipalities have forgotten that they have the right to control the municipality and that people on the council are accountable to them.

While speaking during a Dialogue Fiji panel discussion on the electoral system design for the local government elections, Apted says people do not bother about their municipalities where he pointed out that people are not concerned about Sukuna Park in Suva that has been blocked off for two years without absolutely no public outcry.

He says people are complacent and do not understand that they have the right to control it.

Apted says this tells us what has changed within the local government society and the amount of work that needs to be done. He says people cannot assume that when an electoral system is chosen, the people will behave like they do for the general elections and be ready to vote.

The former Supervisor of Elections says prior to 2005, the level of local government engagement in terms of registration and turnout was shockingly low.

Apted says it is going to be worse unless major work is done.

He says a lot of people and businesses in Suva have moved to other municipalities where the retail sector will argue that this is because of poor local government administration and lack of accountability.

He says they also need to ask whether property owners from outside should stand and vote in a municipality and whether we allow non-citizens to vote as it is about running the town well.

Apted adds the municipal elections should not mirror the same cycle as the national general elections.

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