The Oceania Transformation Movement (OTM) wishes to first of all congratulate the current government for its mandatory to govern our beloved country, the Republic of Vanuatu and secondly OTM wish to congratulate all the citizens of Vanuatu for the 40 years of independence.
Arriving at 40 years of political freedom is not an easy journey. There had been lots of challenges we encountered along the journey of our political liberty. The many ups and downs of government through continuous political instability due to hunger for political power which the foreign political concept had brought to us.
We are all very happy and joyful to celebrate the 40 years of our independence, but it is always good that we look back to the road map which was set by late Father Walter Hadey Lini Tungorovanua, the first Prime Minister of the Republic of Vanuatu who stated the meaning of independence in his first independent speech on 30 July 1980 and I Quote; << Most immediately, independence means the handing over the reins of power by the British and French governments and the assumption of responsibility for the developments and welfare of the nation by our own leaders, it is also a challenge to us to prove to the world that we are able to stand alone and direct our affairs in the years to come.
One another level, independence means something quite different. It is an unalienable birth – right, given by God to every person and every nation, without which we cannot truly fulfil ourselves. It should be highly valued and never abused for self-fish gain. Rather, we must build a united country and maintain and enjoy our independence within the great family of nations.
To those peace-loving governments of the world who respect our independence and sovereignty, we invite you to be our good friends and partners. And finally, to be citizens of Vanuatu, we must remember our motto; <>, as together we take this great step forward to independence >>.
Now that we are 40 years old as a nation, I wish to highlight few points within the first independent speech of Late Walter H. Lini, fisrt Prime Minister of Vanuatu.
1. The handing over the reins of power by British and French government.
The handing over of the power stated by the Founder of independence does not reflect the reality. It is very true that we gained our political freedom but under the colonial laws, rules and governing system which drove our little nation up to this 40 years of independence. Can we call that political freedom?
2. Birth – right given by God
Do we really understand our birth-right, given by God to every person and every nation, While we allow foreign laws, and systems continue to rule our God given nation for 40 years? Where is our birth-right and power given by God?
3. It should be highly valued and never abused for selfish gain.
What should be highly valued and never abused for self-fish gain? It is the right and power given by God to our nation. The right of self-governance and the power to rule our God given nation. It must be well understood that at the very beginning of the independence, late Fr. Lini had already looked beyond the dark cloud and sees the great danger which can swallow the new born nation like an alligator. He already saw the unseen war which we went through during the 40 years journey of our political liberty. He knew at that time that we shall face challenges and that leaders will fight for political power which becomes self-interest. The hunger for personal political patronage has become more and more superior rather than the responsibility for the developments and welfare of the people mentioned by Late Fr. Lini in his first independent speech.
4. Motto; “Stand firm in God”
The original motto of the Republic of Vanuatu which was delivered by Late Fr. Lini, Founder of independence is not “In God we stand” which translates to “Long God yumi stanap” but rather “Stand firm in God” which should translate to “Yumi stanap strong long God.”
We are all joyful to celebrate the 40 years journey of our political freedom, but then what?
Biblically, 40 years journey means the transformation of a nation from an old ways of life to a new ways of life. An old governing system to a new governing system. Passing from an old covenant to a new covenant, from old laws to new laws. Are we going to be like the Chosen People, entering their promised land after 40 years in the desert? When there are more foreign lands in Vanuatu than custom land? Very good example can be seen on Efate Island where about 82% of land have already gone under titled and only about 18% remain under the indigenous ownership without title. If it happens to Efate, why can’t it happen to other Islands of Vanuatu.
All the current land laws and policies of the Republic of Vanuatu drive all indigenous people to sale all their land and encourages the foreign investors to purchase all the land through lease system and develop it then sell them to other investors or foreigners leaving the poor indigenous families struggling with their lives because they are living without land.
Where is our birth-right, given by God? Late Fr. Walter H. Lini had stated very clearly in his fisrt independent speech that God has given that same birth-right to every person and every nation. Why other nations citizens should come and deprive our indigenous land rights through their foreign land concept?
Where is our new road map as a nation after 40 years journey of struggle? Are we achieving the real meaning of independence stated by Late Fr Lini?
The current education system has failed to educate our young generation to value their culture and their land as their lifetime assets, recognise their cultural identity and know who they are but instead drove them away from the realities of their lives.
For 40 years we continue to build a foreign Vanuatu. When shall we build an indigenous Vanuatu? How long more it will take us as a nation, another 40 years? The first Constitution has driven our nation for 40 years now, when will it changed? When shall we have a second Constitution which will declare a second Republic?
The election system of Vanuatu has becoming more and more corrupted and incompetent through minority representation, when will we change it?
The current Parliamentary system is the foundation of continuous political instability in the country, when shall we change it?
Our current economic system has driven away our God given nation through foreign economic investment policies which demoted our economic rights and power, when shall we change it to internal investment policies that will encourage all indigenous ni-Vanuatu to grow the economy of our nation instead of relying solely on foreign investments and foreign aid to build the economy of our God given nation?
God has purposely allowed COVID 19 to reset our mindset as a nation. For 40 years we focus our livelihood beyond the horizon, now it’s time to look within the horizon.
The Republic of Vanuatu was “called” like many other nations but was “chosen” to be the “model” to all nation. The Republic of Vanuatu had received a Divine calling and that Divine calling has become our nation’s divine mission which must be fulfilled by we who are his followers.
In October 5th 2020, we shall celebrate 41 years of our Constitution, which Biblically speaking should be the beginning of our entering the promised land given to us as a free gift from God the Creator of universe which are 83 Islands of Vanuatu. Are we going to harvest milk and honey from our promised land? Or we shall continue to sale it away and lose our God given milk and honey.
CAPTION: Interim President of OTM, Lazare Asial