5 Responses

  1. Dilu Okuk
    Dilu Okuk September 15, 2014 at 10:21 pm

    39 years on and our founding father suddenly admits to “mistakes” from the beginning, a human rights lawyer proposes policies indirectly opposed to democracy, the PM, senior Ministers and Public servants are centre of many serious controversies and a huge K15-K17 Billion debt…let us celebrate what little time we have before 2017, because if nothing changes we might as well migrate somewhere else for shelter.

    The deaf and dumb have an excuse to be tolerant, but what about the average person out there, when our representatives are clearly oblivious to our concerns and immediate needs, when they are aloof to the attack on our democratic systems, when the executive body has ears only for major corporations and their interests…

    Happy 39th year of independence Papua New Guinea, let us celebrate how the nation has survived under ruthless crooks and we pray for the day when independence for our country is less tainted by political greed and incompetence!!

  2. Bernard Yegiora
    Bernard Yegiora September 4, 2014 at 9:23 am

    Thank you Paul for your comment.

    Yes, in the words of Machiavelli ‘the ends justify the means’.

    I see this as a challenge for PNG political thinkers to do more research in order to find a workable design capturing the vital elements of both traditional and contemporary political systems.

  3. Bernard Yegiora
    Bernard Yegiora September 3, 2014 at 1:50 pm

    Bal, China has proved that the alternative can work.

    I concur with Minister Marape and Governor Parkop. Sometimes we need to think outside the box in order to find a way forward. Enough of looking at the world with a Western lens. The “A vibrant Opposition is critical for PNG” statement is Politics 101.

    China has shown the world that a one-party State can transform a nation. That does not mean that there is no opposition in China. The Communist party has factions namely; the Princelings (decedents of the Revolutionaries), the Tuanpai (members of the Chinese Communist Youth League), the Shanghai gang (followers of Jiang Zemin) and the Tsinghua Clique (Tsunghua graduates). Xi Jingping is from the Princeling faction while Li Keqiang is from the Tuanpai faction.

    In US foreign policy decision making, you have the Kissinger and Brzezinski factions. Both Harvard scholars have created schools of thought that are followed by their students.

    The various factions pursue the principles that are fundamental to their view. Thus they do disagree with each other. Likewise, the various parties in the PNG government can form factions within government to influence decision making.

    My point is factional politics can maintain the balance in the absence of an opposition. So my answer to the question is yes PNG can survive without an opposition but that will require major constitutional amendments and reforms.

    But then again, are the parliamentarians serious in pursuing this path or is this trend reflective of the forces at play in this particular term of parliament?

    1. Paul Oates
      Paul Oates September 4, 2014 at 8:18 am

      Hi Bernard,

      your point is well made and could be summed up as: ‘The end justifies the means’.

      Peter O’Neill has been determined to have a ‘government of national unity’ ever since as Opposition Leader he was prepared to join Michael Somare in much the same manner as now except with Somare as leader.

      The essence of difference between a democracy and a dictatorship has become somewhat blurred in many places. The real difference is how any government performs and then can be held accountable for their responsibilities.

      Has PNG been better off under this form of government? Has there been less corruption or more? Are many of the PNG political leaders now more accountable and do they do what the voters want? Do the voters have real choices and alternatives that are supposed to happen in a modern pluralistic society?

      If the answer is ‘No!’ then there’s your answer.

      You only have to look at the traditional PNG village to see where many PNG’s political leaders grew up and get their inspiration from. That’s where they are comfortable and so want to recreate that harmony of purpose instead of sustained argument and confrontation that the Westminster system promotes.

      The real issue is one of design. The concept of a village council in PNG has worked well where everyone knows everyone and can see what is happening and can hold their Councillors individually responsible. They live among their own people and can easily accessed and challenged.

      This village paradigm demonstrably can’t work when the people lose contact with their elected leaders and only see them every five years at election times or when they come back to hand out ‘government’ money or equipment.

      This form of government does however allow, when the opportunity presents itself, for personal gain at the expense of others. It also allows for the personal distribution of government funds and largesse as per the culture of the ‘bikman’.

      You should judge a person (read political leader, system or government) on what they do, not what they say.

    2. Peter Akori
      Peter Akori September 13, 2014 at 9:09 am

      Not responding to any comments so far on having an opposition I would like to draw your attention on the issue.

      PNG politics does not fit into any of the known and practised political systems in the world! We can say PNG practices a Westminster type but if you look at it closely and compare the fundamentals of the approaches PNG goes through from election process in choosing a leader to the way parties form governments, it seems a joke! An elected politician is a leader before and during the campaign period but once s/he gets elected s/he is nothing but a donkey dragged along by an invisible force so this so-called leader loses all thinking power and the dignity s/he has as a person and a leader.

      Who can admit the errors made in the past other than the father of the nation himself, Honourable Grand Chief Sir Michael Somare? That is our hint! PNG needs to go back to its roots and reassess the mistakes and rebuilt its foundation to be a vibrant Westminster democracy! The system at the moment is based on Melanesian ideology which is based on ‘big man’, chieftainship, Maimai, the list goes on.

      There is a talk about who should get into Parliament at the moment;
      Bigmen/women? Businessmen/women? Grassroots? Educated elites? Who?…

      Back to the present about operating a Westminster type of government without opposition by my Governor, Honourable Powes Parkop. I want to pause a question to him with due respect. So far in the current Parliament, which MP from the government ranks has the guts to speak out on sensitive issues apart from the three brave opposition MPs?

      Democracy cannot prevail without an opposition in PNG, period!

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