By PNG Echo
Papua New Guinea has entered very dangerous political waters.
Yet both sides are going about, willy nilly, doing the very things that they were cautioned against and which may just land them with a contempt of court charge?
The retired Police Commissioner, Sir Tom Kulunga, was recently convicted of contempt and received a sentence of seven months hard labour. Not even this has deterred them.
The Prime Minister’s actions are easily explainable – he’s fighting for his very existence.
He’s using political manoeuvring to stack the deck for when he next appears in court.
For while he controls the parliament, he holds little sway over the judiciary – no doubt that’s why he’d prefer a Commission of Inquiry into the Paraka matter rather than leave it to the courts to test the evidence collected by the Task Force Sweep (TFS).
So the dismissal of the main legal advisor to government – the Attorney General, Kerenga Kua who hails from the coalition party, National Alliance, with a PNC party man (Ano Pala) is one that could have been predicted.
What’s more, O’Neill’s appointment of a new police chief, while necessary, was also a fairly obvious tactic, judging by what happened in the court when new Police Chief Vaki agreed to consent orders staying the arrest warrant.
No wonder the judge was confused and wanted convincing of the legality of the move (hence the adjournment). He must have wondered for which side Vaki was appearing.
Then there is the disbanding (threatened (?)) of TFS – because they were “politically compromised” according to O’Neill. But they also were the agency that collected all the evidence on this matter under the guiding hand of lawyer, Sam Koim – who has been removed (or so I’ve been led to believe). Expedience may not have been the motivator, but it smacks of it.
Yet, having acknowledged all the political shenanigans, it is also to be acknowledged that Peter O’Neill is still Prime Minister of Papua New Guinea and innocent until proven guilty
As such, the police are answerable to the state and its representatives: the government – and the top man is Peter O’Neill. He still calls the shots.
What sort of a state can function when every new appointment of the executive government is put under arrest by a police force left to themselves to interpret the laws? It’s a recipe for anarchy.
Like the arrest (attempted ?) of Ano Pala, newly appointed Attorney-General? What the heck had he done? These charges have very little hope of sticking and are indicative of a rudderless police force who are becoming a law unto themselves.
Now this situation would be bad enough were the RPNGC a disciplined force. It’s not.
I am reminded of the gang rape of a teenager in Wewak, just late last year – the culprits were four on-duty police officers in the performance of their duties, one even a senior officer. Being ruled by such a bunch of thugs would make Peter O’Neill seem very attractive again.
While O’Neill may (or may not) be a calculating thief, he has never been vicious or particularly malignant with how he deals with people – not so some of the others who would be lining up to take his place.
There are crimes of property and crimes against persons – The accusations against O’Neill have always been in the former category. I’d hate to see someone take his place who’d be physically abusive.
The demise of Peter O’Neil (if and when it arrives) will leave a vacuum that has the potential to be filled by someone far worse. This is my fear for Papua New Guinea..