06 April 2012

Can We Still Trust Our Historical Leaders to Lead a Peaceful & StableTimor-Leste?

Fundasaun Mahein - Confrontations have begun to erupt notably in the eastern districts, between militants of the two remaining presidential candidates. Once again it seems that we are yet to be able to run peaceful elections.

Despite the rhetoric and actions by our political leaders committing them to peaceful campaigning, militants from both sides are increasingly involving themselves in violent disputes and political leaders are increasingly using provocative language. In the lead up to the first round of the presidential elections, the country’s political and religious leaders came together and committed themselves to peaceful elections, not only by making numerous statements but also in committing themselves to a CNE sponsored national unity pact. Furthermore during the second Maubisse meeting, all the historical leaders agreed to guarantee peaceful elections and maintain stability.

Weeks later, these pledges made guaranteeing peace seems once again to be mere political rhetoric. Either our political leaders in a short amount of time have forgotten their own words and actions, or have most likely dismissed them all together. This would mean not only that the words they usher are not always truthful, but more importantly that ensuring peace and security for the citizens of this country is something worth playing with.

A politician saying lies is not new and definitely not limited to Timor-Leste. But if our leaders are willing to risk the stability and security of our country for their own benefit then this is more alarming. Another possibility is that our leaders are well intentioned in the most part but do not have control over their militants, which is equally worrying. Many political leaders often do not actively engage with their militants, which means they are limited in their
ability to control them.

Regardless of the reasoning behind this worrying increase in violence, one has to seriously reconsider whether the current political elite is truly fit to lead this country. The current leadership is honoured with being the historical fathers of the nations. Their historical role in liberating this country is most definitely noted by all Timorese. However, these days, it seems like they can easily say the word peace but find it much harder to create the conditions guaranteeing peace. This consequently paralyses the security forces ability to do their work effectively and uphold the rule of law. Why can’t our leaders learn from our history? So much blood has already
been spilt. There have been numerous reports and recommendations made by numerous institutions including the CAVR report, the CTF, the UN Commission of Inquiry for the 2006 crisis in Timor-Leste. Why can’t
our leaders take note of these? Do our historical leaders really care about the people they are meant to represent, or do they solely care for their positions and interests?.

FM recommends and pleads that our leaders properly respect their functions with the responsibilities that come along with them as well as our state institutions. They should also do away with the practice of money politics. In a democratic setting, the people entrust their leadership to duly run their country and ensure a stable, secure and
prosperous environment. Timorese deserve this. The population is tired of violence and has suffered enough already. It is always the general population that suffers the brunt of the violence while the leadershipprofits from it. People need to be more critical of our current leadership and expect more from them. The people should not blindly be loyal to those leaders whom engage in violent acts or rhetoric.

Instead, we appeal to everyone to stay away from violence and play his or her part in contributing to peace in Timor-Leste.

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