Be Critical! Be Responsible, Mature and Loyal Citizens

Be Critical! Be Responsible, Mature and Loyal Citizens post thumbnail image
Foto: Jornal Nasional Diario

Foto: Jornal Nasional Diario

Fundasaun Mahein (FM) was pleased to observe that the 2017 Presidential elections were conducted peacefully and without major incident. FM also congratulates Mr Lu Olo on his victory.

FM remains concerned however, by the use of language preceding the elections, which saw politicians, students and citizens engaging in heated debates and using strong language when defending their positions. FM also observed the use of social media such Facebook, Twitter, TV and radio to launch attacks on rival candidates and policy positions. This has ramifications for the campaigning period that will precede the July Parliamentary elections.FM is concerned about the tone of discussion some people adopt when debating political issues. FM understands that politics are of a sensitive nature and that people can get very passionate when discussing such issues. However, people should be very careful when wording their arguments. Timor-Leste is still a very young democracy, attempting to mature in a post-conflict environment. It is important that people do not intensify existing tensions and divisions by launching verbal attacks onto political rivals.

Instead, FM suggests that people engage in constructive , solution orientated debate. The reason we fought so hard to achieve our independence was so that every citizen in this country could participate in a constructive manner and have their say in the development of our beloved homeland. Independence was fought so that people could speak freely and share their opinions without the fear of reprisal. So lets use this hard fought right to good cause and engage in positive political debate. This is the only possible way that we can find the solutions to advance this country further and lift our fellow Maubere’s out of poverty.

If not then one can ask, why do we engage in political elections at all if it’s simply a source of conflict? Does this mean we are still too politically immature to conduct elections? What does that say about us? Why not question the whole political process? With rising corruption, and levels of poverty remaining high, what is the meaning of my vote? Does it create a voice for people? Or does it simply create further poverty, corruption, poor sanitation, worsening infrastructure and a monopoly on political power? Are elections merely a process allowing legal corruption (pensaunvitalista) when elected representatives and government officials are awarded benefits they are entitled to for their entire life?

We are now at a crossroads, where as a nation we must make critical decisions. We can either engage in a constructive and positive political process whereby we demand our politicians to do the same or we can do the opposite and draw this country into further crisis and poverty. As engaged citizens and prospective voters, lets ask our politicians the tough questions and reward those who engage in positive politics.

We live in a small country, in which we are all Maun’s, Mana’s, Tiu’s and Tia’s means mesak feto-naan nian deit!. The upcoming July Parliamentary elections are for all Timorese and if they run smoothly everybody will be winners. For politicians, do not forget that if victorious, you represent all of us. For party supporters and voters, remember that you are first a citizen and then a political member. Don’t blindly obey your party. Be critical! Be responsible, mature and loyal citizens. This is how we will contribute to the development and stability of our beloved Timor-Lorosae.

For more details on this issue, please contact:

Nélson Belo
Executive Director of FM
Phone: +670 78316075 or 7756 1184

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