Fundasaun Mahein 26 January 2012
The official campaigning period for the presidential campaign hasn’t begun yet, but this hasn’t stopped numerous politicians, students and ordinary citizens from being drawn into heated debates and from using strong language when defending their positions. Fundasaun Mahein (FM) has already noted numerous attacks being launched onto rival candidates, political parties or stances of a rather aggressive nature on social media like blogs, facebook, twitter, TV, radio and various national media outlets.
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 a very young democracy, attempting to mature in a post-conflict environment. It is important that people not intensify existing tensions and divisions by launching verbal attacks onto political rivals.
Instead, FM suggests that people engage into constructive debate, 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 monopoly Timor Telecom systems? 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 crossroad, where as a nation we must make big 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!. These upcoming elections are for all Timorese and if ran 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. (NB)