6 Responses

  1. Jack WIllie GALIA
    Jack WIllie GALIA July 19, 2012 at 2:53 pm

    A good account of the PNG type of politics especially in the highlands of PNG.This to a lesser extent happens in the coastal areas of the country. In trying to understand PNG (highlands) politics, one has to have a better understanding of the culture of the people. PNG society is predominantly a communal society where everybody takes part and share the wealth (pigs, taro etc…). So the national election campaign is liken to the hosting of a village feast where the ‘big man’ shares his wealth amongst his people.

    1. Satish Chand
      Satish Chand July 20, 2012 at 10:26 am

      Thanks for your comments Jack. You are right about the ‘Big man’ politics in the Highlands. I was blown away by the amount of money poured in the campaigns.

  2. Tess Newton Cain
    Tess Newton Cain July 5, 2012 at 8:02 am

    We also need to be prepared for the fact that whilst the elections provide something of a circuit breaker, the upheaval since last August has had some really profound effects on the very fabric of constitutional democracy in PNG and there will be a number of fundamental issues to be resolved when the dust has settled

    1. Satish Chand
      Satish Chand July 5, 2012 at 2:29 pm

      Tess, I agree that the compromises made across the three arms of government in the lead up to elections have done series damage to constitutional democracy in PNG. So it is all the more important that the ongoing national elections deliver the leaders willing and able to remedy the damage done by some of their predecessors.

  3. Ben Graham
    Ben Graham July 4, 2012 at 9:05 am

    A fascinating and entertaining account, Satish.

    I don’t know if this is occurring in other parts of the developing world, but it at least some parts of the Pacific election day seems to have become an occasion to throw a big, island-wide party. In the northern Pacific these festive scenes can also be witnessed on election day, albeit not as extreme as what you’ve described in PNG.

    In reference to incentives, some aspiring and incumbent candidates are definitely running for all the right reasons. But as PNG’s national pot gets bigger by the year, raising the stakes for the political class, many are probably also incentivized to gain power for other reasons. Let’s hope the former lot outnumbers the latter.

    I’ll never forget this line, told to me by a gentleman working in PNG Finance: “We’re about to be hit by a tsunami of money. But is our house in order?”

    Let’s hope these elections will usher in enough good leaders to get the house in order!

    1. Satish Chand
      Satish Chand July 4, 2012 at 12:06 pm

      Thanks Ben. I agree that some candidates are vying for the seats for all the right reaons. As to whther they will win is a different matter. Like you, I am hoping for the best but we must be prepared for the worst!

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