The curse of money politics in PNG

20 06 2014

The previous post generated a lot of comments at the original site at which it was posted. One of them touched on a key factor of politics in PNG. Money.

That response comment to Vergil Narokobi’s post has been re-posted verbatim below for the benefit of the non-FB readership.

 

succinctly put…; although one must clearly guard against mischievous, opportunistic or politicised actions against the government of the day from within the police or any other institution, clearly the rules need to be universal, whatever one’s position. So it it critical that mechanisms are not abused to circumvent due process. But this does bring one back to the question of how government’s are formed in PNG and how majorities are gained and retained. Unfortunately, with little or no ideological basis for parties (as in Australia and most places) PNG has ended up with government by dint of personality, but increasingly the use of money. Would an inspiring leader like Nelson Mandela have been able to become PM in PNG if he was to remain honest and not participate in pork barrel or money politics, or would he have just been sidelined by the man with access to logging money? And let’s face it this case is partly about that…the assumption is that public funds were laundered through a law firm’s accounts to be able to be used by a party for gaining office for funding campaigns and winning over other parties and independents…and if that was the assumption, what were the other parties and leaders doing? similar sorts of things, using SABLs and other land allocations, logging permits, DSIP funds, RESE funds, fish or petroleum licenses, exclusive rice concessions, citizenship awards, construction or commercial contracts, trust funds etc… So if this scenario has some truth, the question is, how does one halt it, and halt it across the board, so that no party or group is left with a special advantage, with exclusive access to public or other improperly-gained funds, leaving the others high and dry? how does one rid elections and post election formation of government of the current money element (from vote buy, to rigging electoral lists, to buying parties and members etc)? Many politicians would prefer that, but feel dragged into the current corrupt practices as the only way to play the game…these are some of the challenges, and it requires active involvement by the parties themselves, think tanks etc but also the wider public to help find the solutions, as clearly the voters are widely accepting and even demanding electoral bribes (in cash or kind)…

By Paul Barker





Why the Prime Minister has to step down

20 06 2014

I cannot remember the last time I was here.  It was certainly a long while back as I see the shelves here have been collecting dust.  There were a few factors that led to this rather lengthy hiatus, but let’s not get into that now.

I am here simply to re-post verbatim a commentary that I came across on Facebook for the benefit of the portion of readership out there who may not subscribe to this social media.

In any case, I feel that this man has pretty much summed up and articulated what most likely must be running through people’s mind as they try to make sense of the latest developments in Papua New Guinea’s rather vibrant national political stage.

“Its time for Papua New Guineans to call an ace an ace and a spade a spade!

The call for the resignation by the Prime Minister is a political question, not so much a legal question. The Prime Minister, like any body who goes through the criminal justice system is innocent until proven guilty. Here are some matters the Prime Minister should consider when making that decision.

Kua was Somare’s lawyer in the misconduct allegations against Somare. They went through the judicial process to challenge the OC. They failed. But they fronted up at the Leadership Tribunal, went through the process, found guilty by the Tribunal, paid the fine and life goes on. Skate resigned as Prime Minister paving the way for Sir Mekere to come in an atmosphere of serious allegations leveled against him. Julius Chan resigned when public opinion against him was overwhelming in the Sandline Affair. We hold public office as custodians for the people. If they are wrong in their convictions, they stand to suffer. That is the nature of our democracy. We have nothing to lose. Its their office.

There are important national matters that the Prime Minister must attend to. There are roads to be built, hospitals to maintain, doctors to be trained, borders to be protected, investors to meet and the list goes on. If one is busy fighting a criminal matter, looking over one’s shoulder when the next counter move will be made, attending a Commission of Inquiry, sacking “disobedient” ministers and servants of the state, how can one give their 100% level best to serve the interest of the country? One’s time and attention is divided. One cannot serve two masters. “To be or not to be, that is the question”.

Whilst one serve office, they enjoy the confidence of the people. If that confidence is no longer apparent in one’s leadership, and we are a democracy, it is an irreconcilable position to be in and one must do the honourable thing and resign. A leaf should be taken out of the dissenting opinion of the member of Leadership Tribunal Sir Robin Auld in the Somare Leadership Tribunal who thought that Somare should be dismissed from office. He said, “what would the reasonable person at Gordon’s market think about it?” What would the ordinary Papua New Guinean think the Prime Minister should do under the present circumstances?

When the Prime Minister relies on his privilege as a Member of Parliament to avoid a warrant of arrest, it raises the question whether one is using his office for personal gain and therefore misconduct in office under s 27 of the Constitution. Does an ordinary Papua New Guinean have that privilege when they are called into question by the police? When a Commission of Inquiry is set up to exonerate one from a criminal allegation, when the same question can be raised in one’s defence before a court of law, it raises the question of whether the Prime Minister is using his office for personal gain and therefore misconduct in office. How many ordinary Papua New Guineans can set up a Commission of Inquiry when they are called into question by the police. When a Minister of State is decommissioned for dubious reasons, which a reasonable person can infer for not giving concurring advice to avert investigation and arrest, that raises the question of whether one is using one’s office for personal gain and therefore misconduct in office. When a career serving police officer is sidelined for purportedly ordering the arrest of a Police Commissioner whose decisions have been in one’s interest, that raises the question of possible misconduct in office. Again the same can be said for Task Force Sweep.

Task Force is an administrative arrangement. It is not a statutory body. When the Opposition called for its disbanding, it was ignored. There would have been good legal grounds to disband it. Now that the subject of the investigation is the Prime Minister, it is dismantled. Is that a case of using public office for personal gain? Paul Tienstein obviously would say yes despite his desperate plea that it was “politically motivated”.

How many inmates in Bomana would also like to have a Commission of Inquiry into their conviction on the basis of that they were wrongfully convicted. A life is a life, no matter who you are. It is a wrong signal to the people of Papua New Guinea that there are two sets of laws.

There are national security issues at stake here. The longer the matter pro-longs the potential for widespread discontent arises. Stand-off between and among the disciplined officers is a serious threat. Investor confidence will be impaired and the gains from LNG will be lost over night. Its time to make the hard decision for the national interest.

There appears to be another potential stand-off between the executive and the judiciary. The same question on the legality of the payments to Paraka Lawyers is being determined by the court in his criminal matter. The same question will confront the Prime Minister if he is charged. By setting up a Commission of Inquiry, a quasi-judicial body will deal with the same question. It is questioning the independence of the judiciary. This is not in the national interest.

If the Prime Minister of Papua New Guinea has no faith in the police and the judiciary to determine the truth of the allegations against him, his own people, but choosing instead to rely on a Commission of Inquiry headed by an Australian, are we than a failed state? As the Opposition Leader said, “Prime Minister you are the first man in Papua New Guinea”. If you don’t believe in me, who else will?

The reason I have made this decision to make this call, is that Sam Koim an ordinary Papua New Guinean has put his hand up for Papua New Guinea, and I would be ashamed to call myself a Papua New Guinean if I did not honour his courage by having something to say. His involvement in the investigation suggests to me that there is no “political motivation”. After all he was appointed by the Prime Minister and has nothing to gain or lose except his reputation.”

by Vergil Narokobi

 





Day 3: Bill Ningur – Upholstery Maker; and a dab of Truth

2 10 2012

There does not seem to be much change in the movement of the dial on the scale. It quivers undecided between 88kg and 89kg. Perhaps it does not want to disappoint me. But who am I trying to fool here? It has only been two days. I did not say I was on some miracle fad diet.

In any case, a digital scale would have given a more definitive reading. But I realized that this yearning for an absolute figure is not just some random desire that was borne the minute I stepped onto the scale. It is something inbuilt. Whether we realise it or not, it is that longing that ignites the urge for the absolute truth to give us that peace of mind. It is that age old desire to know.

Then again, one could suppose this old scale better reflects life. That there are no absolutes in life but only varied shades of grey between the black and the white and the here and there. This is where many a thought junky may insist that truth is relative.  That truth is a variable of facts and has the shape of water.  But if we are to abide by such reasoning – relativism, they call it – then we have a catch-22 situation on our hands because that line of thinking alone calls for us to accept that version of truth, which in turn contradicts the very heart of that principle.

The only truth right now is that THIS very moment is the truth, as you get bored silly reading this far, and are perhaps pondering upon the possibility that the person writing this may have gone slightly cuckoos after all. (Speaking of which, I still reckon Jack Nicholson in ‘One Flew over the Cuckoos Nest’ was absolutely brilliant).

The only absolute truth is in the time between what has been and what will be; it is this moment– the NOW. Our memories have been either tarnished or glossed over by prejudice while our visions of grandeur play surrogate to the truth of tomorrow. Absolute truth resides in this moment. That is why the Psalmist said “Today if you will hear His voice, harden not your hearts” (Psalms 95:7-8).

Today.

This reaffirms THE truth behind this truth. That the only ABSOLUTE TRUTH is Jesus (John 14:6).

Today.

Lets return to the matter on hand.

So before my daily weigh in, I had to pick up a half dozen apple from the nearby supermarket during my lunch break (I feel a post coming up soon on the state of affairs of the apples from Stop N Shop). On my way back I happened to be sharing the footpath with this fellow who was peddling some burgundy and red synthetic leather bags, so naturally I fell into conversation with him. It was then that I found out more about his wares – that he actually sews these bags.

They looked quite a classy lot, them bags. Of course not Louis Vuitton classy, but straight up niugini freestyle K10-wan-wan classy. Sawn up like those regularly printed ‘Radazz’ bags, the only difference was the material used here, and a bit of flair factor with the inclusion of proper buttons and fasteners, handles and side pockets. Neat, eh?

Bill Ningur, the upholstery maker

Bill Ningur (left) and his salesman, Joe

This trooper’s name is Bill Ningur from Simbu and he is a upholstery maker. He resides in June Valley near Tokarara and supports his family chiefly through this trade. He told me he also uses this to keep youths and wantoks busy by getting them to help him sell his products.

I thought that was neat and that Billy deserved an apple for simply being a go-getter and not a gimme-gimme. I promised to check up on him later to see if we could do a follow up feature on him and his work.

I did not have a camera with me on the day I bumped into him and his salesman so I just used the camera on the phone to take this shot, hence the rather low quality of the shot.





Day 2: Elijah Memedu – Apprentice Electrician

26 09 2012

I am into my second day and the scale reads 88kg. I don’t know if that is the truth or if it is only me with a bit of wishful thinking.

No matter, after leaving office at around 1726 hours, I happened by an old friend of mine. He’s a caricature artist by the name of Charles. (I think folks over at Sunday Chronicles hire him to do cartoons and stuff). So Charles tags along with me on this one.

Not long after I meet this sharp little kid of 4 by the name of Jaybes. He and his mom Maria were on their way into (that rather detestable) Vision City. I had a quick chat with them and took their photos but, sad to say, I forgot to get them to sign my release form so I will not be putting up their faces here.

Elijah Memedu is from Goroko and Alotau

Elijah Memedu is from Goroko and Alotau

Further down the road, just before reaching Waigani* I bump into Elijah Memedu.

Well in fact Memedu was about to overtake me when I introduced myself and told him about what I was up to and if he was interested and he seemed fairly keen. By then even Charles lit up to the game and fell into beat with some support remarks on the side.

At 16 years of age, Elijah is a trainee electrician doing his apprenticeship with Starlight Electrical after having completed his vocational training at Morata* Vocational School. Neat eh? :) Good kid.

Elijah loves rugby and resides in Gerehu Stage 1* but was “walking to relax” that afternoon after being dropped off by his boss near the NCDC City Hall when I caught up with him.

His eyes lit up when I presented him with not one, but TWO APPLES. Charles also took a break from his buai and sunk his teeth into the delights of an apple too.





Day 1: Kure Yosi – Social Worker

24 09 2012

Weighing in at 89 kg, the first day of my 30 Day Challenge kicked off to a rocky start but I never expected it to be a walk in the park either. It was a walk nevertheless; and it will be so for the next 30 days. ;)

The first person I bumped into was this office worker type in Westpac bank colours. Opening with a courteous “Abinun, bro”, I observed on the traffic congestion in the manner of small talk.  But I may have introduced myself too soon because I could see that he was all suss about me from the way he eyed me.

You could tell he was thinking, “Who is this mausgrass psycho and what manner of scam is he peddling?” He had a polite wall up, which he successfully marshalled with a brisk pace for much of the way so I let him be.

Day 1 - Kure Yosi

Day 1: Kure Yosi of Lufa in the Eastern Highlands

But then I caught up with Kure Yosi.

Kure seemed a friendly chap from the word go, all the way to the North Waigani traffic lights where we parted company.

He was walking with a very slight limp that I later found out to be a sprained ankle.

At 33 years of age he works as a Youth Officer at the National Capital District Commission. Hailing from Lufa in the Eastern Highlands Province, Kure resides at ATS* but on that day I bumped into him he was on his way to crash at his wantoks’ at June Valley near Tokarara.

During our conversation, he told me a great deal about how stuff works at Lagatoi Haus, and I told him a great deal about my new friend Jesus.

I thought that was pretty cool because I learnt  quite a few NEW things from this quiet spoken man and so shared with him my stash of apple. :)

*Areas within the general vicinity of the PNGDF Air Transport Squadron.





Painting my 30-day Challenge with Faces

21 09 2012

That’s it, I’m done talking politics.

Well most of the time I’m either quoting someone or blogging a gripe. And I hate to see myself as a person who sees the glass half empty all the time. Although the system and the gremlins that work the system are largely responsible for fueling my words.

But that is not the point of this post. Folks over at Stella Mag recently brought to my attention this super cool idea of doing something out of the ordinary for 30 consecutive days. (By the way, that is one cool magazine you should get your hands on or better yet, subscribe to).

So here I was on Independence Day, trying on for size ideas for endeavours that anyone who knows me would not normally find me doing. And no, I am not going to go to work dressed as Zorro for the next 30 days (although I know of some who would in a heartbeat if they could).

However, I was toying with the idea of bungee jumping every afternoon. Unfortunately I had to forgo that idea for the simple fact that my afternoon schedule could not fit in a trip to the white cliffs of Vararaita National Park and back; and I have not even factored in the time it would take to strap on the gear. Yeah, sound check and all.

On a similar note, I sadly had to cross off a daily round of BASE jumping and croc-wrestling as well. During this brainstorming session, my patriotic zeal got lost somewhere in the mix, and I noticed my shoe lace was undone so I reached down to tie it. It was then, as I bumped into my gut, that I knew I had to do something about my expanding midsection.

Here was something practical I could embark on without unnecessarily creating a hole in my pocket, not to mention drastically reducing my lifespan. So I have resolved to do something about my weight with the help of the trusty old bathroom scale.

My modus operandi is quite elementary really. It is good old fashioned walking coupled with a simple garden diet.  So instead of hopping on a vehicle, I plan to walk home every day after work. Plus I am going vegan for a month to boot!

Weighing the pros and cons, the only negative aspect of walking is that I might suffer a little discomfort from the sweat and the strain of my backpack. But I can stand my own sweat than to have my olfactory receptors assaulted by the collective body odour and goodness knows what else 35 people and an bus offsider who has not touched a bar of soap in more than a month can cook up in a crammed bus on an equally crammed road.

Or shall I factor in the PMV experience of having one’s ears mercilessly assailed by a badly strung computerized techno jam overflowing with otiose drum rolls? Every day is high town madness with a driver who wishes he was cruising down the freeway in the hot, hot sun. O how bizarre. How bizarre.

Wait. Was that a line from a song somewhere? In any case, you get the picture.

On the other hand however, there are so many points going in favour of the simplicity of walking. It is economically sound. It is a good, fun-filled and wholesome exercise. You also have the wide open space to strike up a conversation with anyone you are walking with. If you walk alone, then it gives you precious thinking time to muse over the issues of life and beyond.

Now I like to tinker with stuff – even ideas. So I have decided to throw in a twist into this whacky script. I plan to meet and get to know a complete stranger on each of the 30 days that I am walking.

In celebrating the occasion of meeting this new friend, I will share a fruit with them, be it an apple or an orange. Apart from being an icebreaker, this is hoped to drive home the message of healthy eating to get folks off that rather loathsome buai, while further promoting the Melanesian spirit of sharing and giving.

To top things off I will get their photos taken – with their express permission of course, so they can get to feature on this blog. These people will make up the portraits of the faces that paint my afternoon walks.

The best part about this 30-day drill is that anybody can do it. Even you can do it. So get on board already. :)

Waigani traffic rush hour

Waigani traffic at rush hour. Port Moresby’s bus and taxi service providers were on strike on the day this photo was taken (20-9-2012)





Juffa clears the air on the ‘Third Corner’

31 07 2012

Gary Juffa has come out with a statement to clear the air on the supposed 3rd Camp as posted earlier.

In any case, I wouldn’t mind seeing Juffa as my Papua New Guinea’s next Prime Minister. He has what it takes to save this country from certain doom.

On a side note, those two lead figure who orchestrated the whole political crisis not too long ago, making Papua New Guinea the laughing stock of the world by blessing us with the #WhatElseCanPngHaveTwoOf  tag, have now kissed and made up in Alotau, Milne Bay Province. But that is all old news, right?

Anyway, forget them. Here’s what Mr Juffa had to say.

Hi people.

There is so much rumor and rhetoric in the media and here that I believe I would like to substantiate and spell out some facts about my part and role in what is happening in Eastern Highlands.

Firstly, I am NOT part of the Eastern Block. I am here to support my Regional Candidate Sam Sii. I am here with Governor elect for Morobe, Hon. Kelly Naru who is a friend by the way and we embrace certain values and principals much of which the members here do as well.

We are also collectively concerned about certain national issues such as the granting of citizenship to

  • Djoko Tjandra
  • and in my specific case the Naima Rice Monopoly Project
  • and the Seabed Mining Project and
  • such other issues which we here have spoken about and are concerned about.

I am NOT forming a group as an alternative government and I am not lobbying for the PM’s job I am just speaking to like minded elected leaders and discussing how best to approach our common concerns and how best we can represent our people in our electorates, our province and our country.

I am NOT with John Kerenga GUL and with due respect to him and his group, have my own stance that I will take into parliament and again, I do not intend to deviate form what I believe in and have spoken against here or anywhere.Gary Juffa ~ Oro Province Governor-elect*

*source: http://www.facebook.com/groups/Sharptalk







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