The week that was – ending 18 November 2013

By PNG EchoPhoto on 2013-07-05 at 03.26 #2

Welcome to the first of a regular feature of PNG Echo where we look back on the more interesting things that happened in the week passed – the week that was.

Although, it was ‘the week that wasn’t’ for the recently convened ‘Social Media Activists’ group.  A most welcome addition to the PNG political scene, this new group is having trouble harnessing its considerable passion and channeling it into effective protest.

Last week’s planned protest was quickly abandoned when the government (which they were planning to protest against) ruled their gathering illegal.  That they never envisaged this opposition to their plans is a considerable failing.  They’d do well to heed the words of Sam Koim who famously said: “When you fight corruption, it fights back. ”

How to run a successful protest
How to run a successful protest

Their ‘contingency’ plan of a ‘stop work’ day though, is particularly ill-conceived and bordering on the criminally negligent.  There can only be two outcomes of this plan either it is going to be successful or it’s not.  Should the latter be the case (and the most likely scenario according to precedent) then they have exposed themselves to the government to be ‘paper tigers’…but there’s worse if the plan is successful.

Imagine the streets of the major cities of PNG being taken over, unopposed (police having stopped work as exhorted) by criminal elements on a rampage of rape, pillage and looting.  Imagine the innocent people injured in the mayhem lying in the gutter, bleeding, with no emergency workers available to come to their aid.  In the hospitals mothers are giving birth unassisted and the 48-year-old father of four who’s presented  with chest pains is left to die of a heart attack because the staff are away, protesting.

At Bomana prison, the inmates have broken out – no one’s there to stop them.  They contribute to the anarchy on the streets of the capital where buai spitting has reached epidemic proportions with no City Rangers available to control the buai trade.  Jackson Airport is closed, as are the shops and banks, children run amok at school without supervision …getting the picture?

Also of concern with this group, is that amongst the leaders are also commissioned officers in Belden Namah’s ‘barmy army’.  It worries me that the considerable problem of corruption may be being co-opted and used by the unscrupulous for base political purposes. It’s not unknown for vested interests to infiltrate groups and completely distort their focus.

The rodeo clown, distracting the bull
The rodeo clown, distracting the bull

Namah’s barmy army are like the clowns, who, at a rodeo, jump into the bull-ring to distract the bull and stop him goring to death the fallen cowboy.  “Look at me. Look at me,” they shout as their colourful antics turns the bull’s attention onto them, giving the cowboy time to run and hide.

And they’re doing a sterling job, for although Namah is attempting to ride the raging bull, he doesn’t stay on for long, and so far he hasn’t been gored to death thanks to the cover of the bright petticoats and the loud clown’s pants.

Furthermore, the recent welcoming of Paul Tiensten into the fold of a corruption-fighting opposition is akin to the inmates running the asylum.

Nevertheless, I sincerely wish the Social Media Activists success – let’s hope they iron out all their teething problems and become a force to be reckoned with.

But before we leave the subject of ‘barmy’: last week, Prime Minister Peter O’Neill “…referred Namah to the Privileges Committee for what he described as “constant nonsense” and wild allegations without facts that have been raised during Question Time in Parliament. Mr O’Neill also requested the Privileges Committee to appoint two psychiatrists to do an analysis to determine whether the Opposition Leader is qualified to hold onto office as leader.” (Post Courier Friday, 15 November 2013)

Are they indeed “wild allegations” and is Namah unstable or is he digging too close to the bone?  I don’t have the answer, but I have long suspected that Namah is less than stable and wrote as much over a year ago http://www.pngblogs.com/2012/06/its-madness-dpm.html

In another piece of damage that seems to occur every time this PNG parliament sits, is the attempt to control the internet.  I wish them luck with that – they are as delusional as was King Canute when he attempted to turn back the tide.  The Chinese government has gone down that deep rabbit hole – only to come out empty handed and the PNG government has neither the resources nor the determination of the Chinese.

Across the Torres Strait, news is that Kevin Rudd, former Prime Minister of Australia has resigned from parliament.  What a waste of time he was!

He deposed the sitting Prime Minister 025506-kevin-ruddbelieving that she could not lead the party to victory in the elections.  He then enacted, with the co-operation of Peter O’Neill, the most ill-conceived, dastardly and populist of policy that was (and is) the Manus Island Detention Centre – built on the premise that boat people would stay away if they thought that they would end up in a “hell hole.”  The Prime Minister of PNG did not argue with this premise.

This notwithstanding, Rudd still went on to lead the Australian Labor Party to defeat in the election and subsequently lost the leadership of the party.  With all that failure under his belt – he quits! Now?  Why couldn’t he have quit while he was ahead?

That’s it for this week, but I am looking forward to the coming week – the outcome of today’s ‘stop work’ protest – and then there’s the tabling of the budget tomorrow in parliament and the mooted blocking by disaffected MPs – led by Sir Michael Somare or led by the Opposition – both scenarios suggested by the coconut telegraph.

May you live in interesting times.

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