Microkhan by Brendan I. Koerner

Jimmy Rasta on the Skids

November 30th, 2010 · 2 Comments

Try as I might to keep apprised of the political situation in the Solomon Islands, I regrettably lose track of the thread from time to time. Thanks, then, to the commenter who recently showed up to offer his two cents regarding Jimmy “Rasta” Lusibaea, the former ethnic militia leader who had become the Solomon Islands’ fisheries minister. Our Microkhan visitor from the South Pacific is evidently not a fan:

[Lusibaea] is not capable and dumb, he is just a wild boar let loose with alot of weight to throw around….he wont make a good politician….how do you think he became wealthy,,,by the barrel of a gun of course..he stole, he is a thief, and unworthy of a position in the Big House…he sucks man!

I wondered why this heartfelt comment appeared a few months after the post went live. A quick news search revealed all: Lusibaea was recently convicted for kneecaping an unconscious man a decade ago. He was sentenced today to roughly 33 months in prison, a pronouncement that caused his youthful supporters to run roughshod through the streets of Honiara. The political fallout may be worse, however:

The sentencing bars Lusibaea from acting as an MP and puts the government, led by Danny Philip, under pressure. Mr Philip now has 24 members, while the opposition, led by Steve Abana, has 23. Three by-elections are likely to take place next month after two other MPs died shortly after elections in August.

The stakes here are unusually high, given the Western world’s interest in tapping the Solomon Islands’ gold resources. But it’s tough to see how foreign business interests can have much impact on tiny by-elections. As is so often the case with embryonic democracies, the entire experiment may ride on the ability of local political bosses to deliver votes—a service that will come with a heavy price tag, no doubt.

(Image via The Sydney Morning Herald, by James Brickwood)


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