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Long walk to vote

Litia Vulaidausiga
Thursday, September 04, 2014

AFTER eight long years, the prospect of effectively having a say in the election of Fiji's new government drew voters to polling stations in the remotest parts of Viti Levu yesterday. These included a mainly older adult population at the villages of Namoli, Noikoro, Korovou and Wema in the tikina of Noikoro, and Tuvavatu in Navatusila, Navosa.

The province's vast, rugged terrain has always presented a challenge for travellers, which was evident in the efforts made by some voters to be at their polling stations on time.

Moape Ratu walked over a kilometre from Vatumali to vote at Namoli Village, and like others who trek on foot, had to cross a shallow portion of the Sigatoka River as the gravel road was abruptly ended by the pebbled banks.

Another voter who had registered to vote at the village of Navitilevu, crossed the border from Namosi on Tuesday night for a timely arrival to his polling venue at Nakoro yesterday morning.

Others still, were left confused about dates and schedules of their polling venue, such as an elderly, enthusiastic man near Vatumali who was waiting to hitch a hike to his polling venue before he was informed that the station would be in operation on Saturday.

The information had saved him and two other relatives time and energy, as public transport is far and few in between.

For most, they were just elated to cast their vote after close to a decade, and generally harboured hopes of infrastructural developments that will make them less isolated from Fiji's urban centres.

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