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


Reflections on the Aftermath of Independence Day Celebrations

17 09 2010

Being a regular commuter on Port Moresby’s public transport system, I couldn’t stomach the idea of putting myself through another tussling match with fellow commuters for a seat on the bus, especially on the 35th Independence Day. (Not that keen on buses so I often get to walk to work and back on most days).

a chap with a face paint on Indy 35

As a result I spent the better part of the day at home and happened to be one of the late ones out to join in the festivities at the Sir John Guise Stadium for the main celebration. But by the time I got there, the party was long gone but that did not stop me from getting a face paint mask on.

Then I happened by several mini PNG flags lying on the side of the footpath like oversized confetti along with disused snack wrappers and other litter – which we so carelessly and mindlessly chuck away without a care at all. This is just a small reminder on the surface of the underlying sense of patriotism or the lack of it thereof, and what it means to be part of this young nation.

I was left with a bad aftertaste and a string bag full of disused PNG flags.

It got me thinking again as to what exactly it means to be a Papua New Guinean celebrating our country’s 35th Independence and my mind drifted back to the words of Reginald Renagi and Effrey Dademo on their take on Independence in  Keith Jackson’s PNG Attitude blog.


As It Stands: Kirap na Opim Tingting

14 09 2010

Wherever you are in your respective niche in society, know that you are but simply a medium of information and knowledge to others less fortunate in education and information. It is your duty to God, Man and yourself to educate and inform them free of bias.

To enlighten and liberate the souls of their minds to the endless possibilities out there for them to explore.  To show them that the world is much bigger than your pettiness and my trivialities.

Much bigger than your Sepik and my Simbu and your Morobe and my Sepik. Much bigger than your Southern Bloc and my Highlands Bloc and your Momase Bloc and my Islands Bloc. Much bigger than your Hailens and my Nambis and your solwara and my maunten. Much bigger than your SP botol and my White Can and your buai and my daka. Much bigger than your pokies and my bomb kandis and your gossip and my backbite.

(Wan Shane yo, Mi wanbel na full support long trupla toktok blong yu long Fonde apinun (9/9/10) long Rait FM – 99.5 FM. Kaim oh kinningk pii lde. Trupla!)

If you are reading this then know this. You are not the future of this nation. You are the present. You are the now. You have been born into this era for a purpose and a reason. Live true to this fact.

You don’t have to look far to see that this nation is at the crossroads and you are right there at the helm, with your actions, words and thoughts setting the course for this ship. Now ask yourself this everyday. AM I building up or breaking down?

Every single action you take counts on whether we make it or break it as a nation. Every single word you utter will either light the way or cast a shadow over stumbling blocks.

I therefore beseech you to let reason prevail as you abandon all petty squabbles and politics of your tribe and hauslain and instead let your being and soul feed the flames of passion for this NATION and its GREATNESS.

Live True!

Regionalism and its ugly head

13 09 2010

Reprinted below is an editorial from The National newspaper dated 8 September 2010. It pretty much sums up my thoughts as we celebrate 35 years of Independence.

Regionalism and its ugly head

A YOUNG man’s dreams and hopes were snuffed out last Thursday evening when a sharp implement was driven deep into his throat.
The first-year applied science student at the University of Technology was pronounced dead on arrival at the Angau Memorial Hospital in Lae the same evening.
It does not matter what part of this beautiful nation he hailed from. In the final analysis, a young Papua New Guinean died at the prime of youth, killed by other young Papua New Guineans driven by the mistaken belief that, where they come from, constitutes a higher calling; that their allegiance to their tribe, province and region is far greater than that to their nation.
University, they might be at, but such thoughts are baseless, stupid and will never allow them to shrug free from the inhibiting forces of ignorance, shallow and small mindedness which binds them prisoner.
We have seen this ugly face of tribalism and regionalism again and again. Most tragically, it has happened in the tertiary educational institutions of the land, the places where one would think intelligence and common sense ruled over such emotional attachments.
Unfortunately, this nation has not grown up yet. And, sadly, it will not until the tribal instincts, which drive intelligent young people to such blood letting and unthinking acts of extreme violence as happened last week at Unitech, is cauterised from the PNG psyche.
There was far greater nationalism in the early days of PNG’s walk to self-government and independence.
True, there was a common enemy then in the repressive colonial regime of the time. Still, there might have been a far greater excuse for regional tension because people were just drawn up from closely knitted tribal communities, given half-baked education and then introduced to a greater national tribe concept for which they were ill-prepared.
Yet, our founding fathers persevered and delivered independence, which we will celebrate the 35th anniversary of in eight days.
Only days away from the celebration of the concept of national unity, we are faced with ethnic violence, easily the most divisive force in our midst today.
Our fathers coined the expression “unity in diversity” in the hope that, despite all the diverse cultures of the country, PNG was united in the common desire to stand as one nation. It has come to pass that the truer expression is that there would be “unity but for diversity”.
The incident at Unitech gives us, and the rest of the world, a clear message that, however many years may have passed since independence, the basic ingredient for national unity, cooperation and cohesiveness which can drive the nation onward towards progress, prosperity, wealth and developed status eludes us still.
Big money from the LNG project will not buy it for us. It has to take a conscious effort by the people to turn away from petty tribal and regional issues to the broader and bigger national and international picture.
Sadly, too, regionalism survives in the very institutions which have the best chance of getting rid of it: our educational institutions and colleges and universities at that.
It calls for drastic action and the higher education authorities, including the managements and boards of universities and colleges, must take heed.
We can say the first thing that should be dismantled in all educational institutions across the country should
be provincial and
regional student associations and clubs. This should include sporting clubs.
Whatever their use, they have also become hotbeds for regional and provincial sentiments of the kind that leads directly to confrontations with other provincial groupings.
Clubs and associations at such institutions should be formed along course interests and common hobbies.
This will ensure there is far greater cross cultural mixing which will lead to greater friendship and appreciation.
Where regionalism rears its ugly head, it should be stomped upon immediately and decisively by the administration so as to leave no doubt that such tendency will never be tolerated.
Unless drastic actions of this sort are taken, provincial clashes will continue and, in the end, might lead to greater confrontation across the nation which can be debilitating, nationally.

Source: The National, permalink:

So I ask what exactly are we celebrating 2 days from today?

Independence To Have Precedence

14 09 2007

My Papua New Guinea
Here it comes around again. Another year. Another anniversary to celebrate Papua New Guinea’s Independence. The 32nd, to be precise.

This is the time when I should be celebrating the anniversary of the day these group of islands and its people stood up tall and proud to proclaim and “shout our name to the whole world to hear; Papua New Guinea“. Rejoice in its achievements and its wondrous beauty and blessings of rich culture and fertile land and bountiful seas. Accept her shortcomings, but proud nonetheless, that “this land of our fathers so free“.

Yet I have to put up with another hoopla about the Hiri Moale Festival on this day of all days in the Gregorian Calender.

Now, I don’t have any qualms whatsoever against this tradition and celebration. In fact I am proud to witness and absorb this festival’s history and tradition and see that even at a time when some of our cultural traditions are slowly withering away in the face of western influence and modernization, we still have these celebrations to remind us of our heritage and rich history.

I only want to see this festival moved to another day of the year. They can move it the Queen’s birthday for all I care. I just want September 16 to be left alone, solely for the celebration of our nation’s independence. All attention, all focus; should be on celebrating this day as the Independence Day of this sovereign nation that we call Papua New Guinea.

Even if the government through the National Events Council does not come up with something of a festivity or celebration for this date, the 16th of September is still worthy to be celebrated. In our own little way even.

If anyone reading this posting has found it offensive, then I just want to let you know that this was not the intention of this post. The truth often hurts but its good to tell it as it is. It is not supposed to prejudice against any particular group of people. Far from it. Especially at this time when we are about to celebrate our independence.

I am writing this simply because the blood that course through these veins and the bones that hold up this frame boldly scream out loud in Red, Black and Gold.

Peace y’all.


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