…democracy, […] denotes a system of government, not an actual state of equality. It means that we enjoy equal rights versus the government, and in relation to each other. Having equal rights does not mean having equal talents, equal abilities, or equal knowledge. It assuredly does not mean that “everyone’s opinion about anything is as good as anyone else’s.” And yet, this is now enshrined as the credo of a fair number of people despite being obvious nonsense.
Who gave Speaker of the Papua New Guinean Parliament, Theo Zurenuoc, the right to shape Papua New Guinea after an image that he chooses?
Who gave him the right to arbitrarily reinterpret the constitution and what the founding father’s meant – and to decide where they’d erred?
I’m speaking, specifically, of the tearing down of traditional artefacts originally commissioned for the Haus Tambaran to be replaced by others that the Speaker finds more to his taste, sensibilities and his personal interpretation of the Christian doctrine.
Plaintiffs, Prime Minister, Peter O’Neill and Acting Secretary of Treasury, Mr Dairi Vele had their application to the National Court upheld today at Waigani.
The application was pertaining to a loan acquired by government to purchase Oilsearch shares – a situation that gave rise to certain directions by the defendants, the Ombudsman’s Commission (OC ) whose constitutionality remain in dispute.
Earlier this year, proceedings were instigated for a judicial review of the Ombudsman Commission directions to stop payments on said loan
The National Court, at that time, stayed the directions of the OC in order that repayments were able to be met and the government’s obligations under the loan honoured. This was pending an application for a judicial review.
Today, the judicial review was stayed in its entirety and all the questions asked by the lawyers for the plaintiffs referred to the Supreme Court for interpretation.
Amongst the matters to be decided by the Supreme Court are whether the OC has legal authority, power and jurisdiction to issue a notice of direction to government, whether failure to comply with such a notice constitutes misconduct in office and whether the OC has the power, authority and jurisdiction to impose penalties
Governing PNG is taking a back seat to power mongering – which seems to be a chronic symptom of the current system.
Maybe now is the time for the People’s National Congress to govern in their own right – and for the rest to form the opposition.
It would serve to cement policy and give the opposition an opportunity to formulate real alternate policy rather than just the empty rhetoric that passes for party platforms.
For example, while the UBS loan has been questioned because of it’s alleged breaches of the constitution and processes – whether it was a sound decision (rather than just legal or illegal) has not been adequately canvassed by the Opposition.
So what would the opposition have done in similar circumstances? Who knows?
And that’s because the Opposition is merely hell-bent on providing itself with a ‘Gotcha’ moment of illegality that would give them an opportunity to wrest power..and what for.?
As the Beatles sang in ‘Revolution’ “We’d all love to see your plan.”
There has never been a more opportune time to establish the two-party system in PNG – and if handled correctly, it could be an organic rather than a legalistic move.
The current political reality in Papua New Guinea is that there is one overwhelmingly strong party and a gaggle of ‘also rans’ (who sometimes form a party of one) most of whom have no qualms in using money to attain power. That’s what needs to be addressed.
Leaders should have followers who follow the leaders ideas and their ability to implement them – too often in Papua New Guinea, leaders just have lots of money and few morals.