By PNG Echo.
In the lead up to this particular session of parliament, anti-government forces have been in overdrive trying to convince the public that a vote of no confidence is eminently reasonable. All this in spite of the bleeding obvious – no likelihood of success.
Land of the unexpected, they said, winking knowingly.
Are they living in some imaginary world where advertising slogans have some magical power?
…it’s a numbers game
The Peoples National Congress (PNC) of which the Prime Minister is the head has 61 MPs – enough to govern in its own right, but, with the coalition partners, can call on around 100 votes. That only leaves 10% of Members in opposition.
Can we remind ourselves, once again, what democracy means? Hint: it has nothing to do with rule by a minority of 10%
What’s more, as one commenter on social media pointed out (thank you Clelland Tukana) if you are going to win a fight, you at least have to get into the ring.
In the first parliamentary session there were 92 MPs – just eight of them from the opposition. Belden Namah – that champion of the fight against corruption and alleged governmental excesses (where’s that ironic font?) who was so vocal in the media leading up to this parliamentary session hadn’t even bothered to turn up.
Nevertheless, as I write (Wednesday) a motion of no confidence has been registered and is waiting for the Speaker to accept.
But really, is there any hope that the would-be usurpers are capable of pulling this off? Is there really a window of opportunity there at all or just a small bolt-hole through which those, bloated with their addiction to power, are trying to squeeze?
Under the circumstances, I guess they’d better be greasing themselves up.
Dirty deeds, done dirt cheap
One of the opposition’s tactics in the lead up to this parliamentary session has been to wind up their sycophants to effect some smear campaigns – especially on social media and blog sites.
The most despicable effort has been that of Michael Joseph Passingan who wrote an article entitled “A comprehensive analysis of Peter Paire O’Neill: Fraudster or leader?” Under which, the article carried a picture of the Prime Minister with the caption “exposed serial liar.”
Well that points to a well-balanced article, doesn’t it? (Ironic font needed again.) From the get go we’re told how to think: the conclusion we should draw.
Passingan accuses the Prime Minister of many and varied crimes that move from the mundane to the fantastical – from, wholesale looting of public funds to the less-than-veiled suggestion of murder.
For these accusations he has nothing but assertion – he has no sources willing to be identified. In other words, he has absolutely no evidence – his accusations are vexatious and libellous.
In his efforts to lead the gullible reader, he only ever describes the Prime Minister of Papua New Guinea with adjectives that are pejorative. O’Neill, according to Passingan, is greedy, cunning, a serial and pathological liar and his associates are “cronies”.
O’Neill’s alleged victims, on the other hand, are described as “poor”.
In place of real sources he tells us:
Anyone who knows the Prime Minister well would attest that he does not know much about economic management. (My emphasis)
As a journalist who refuses to be led by manipulative language such as this, I’d like to ask anyone who does know the Prime Minister well to please personally attest to what you know, not let Michael Passingan get away with this ham-fisted attempt at wholesale manipulation.
And all this from the pen of someone who doesn’t know that the CSTB head is not Joseph Eledume but Philip Eludeme. ( Let’s not let a few inaccuracies get in the way of a good story, hey Michael? )
Passingan’s abuses of his right to free speech are legion, so then how does he have the audacity to say that the Prime Minister has a “dictatorial approach to media control”.
I suggest that this Prime Minister has generously let you have your head for far too long, Michael. But that will change – and guess what, Michael? It’s your fault. All of Papua New Guinea will pay for your sins.
Then, of course, there was the abortive protest: the provocation and the posturing by political wannbes trying hard to obtain the moral high ground because their righteous indignation is all they have to keep the people in a constantly agitated and highly excitable state that they feel may benefit them one day
Well, not today, I’m afraid. They’re too easily scared off. They are the lukewarm patriots without the courage of their convictions.
Business as usual.
In any case, as predicted by the Prime Minister, on the first day of parliament it was ‘business as usual.” On the agenda:
- A budget that needs to be debated and passed.
- Dual citizenship.
- Constitutional amendment on PNGs ownership of hydrocarbons and minerals
- Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC) – dealing with the Organic law to allow for this commission to be set up.
- The laws on cyber crime enacted.
These are the things that the O’Neill government has been working on while the opposition has been mischievously inciting wildly inappropriate and futile hope that they have what it takes to govern. – They don’t.
The laws on dual citizenship will be very welcome to many a PNGean who has found him/herself having to make a choice between the love of their country and the reality of their working arrangement. It will halt the brain-drain from the country and enable the frequent return of PNGs best and brightest.
ICAC is also an idea whose time has come after the debacle with Task Force Sweep and will be applauded by many both in the National and the International community. It is ironic, given the libelous accusations against O’Neill, that it will take this government to enact it.
As for the law governing the internet: I wish that this sort of legislation was unnecessary, but while we have people such as Michael Passingan willing to overlook all journalistic ethics and flout laws believing himself untouchable they’re only going to get more stringent.
Toksave, Michael: stop abusing your freedoms and they will stop being denied you. I, for one, am sick and tired of threats of sexual violence, death threats and bullying that goes on with impunity on the internet – and that’s just my personal experience.
The O’Neill government, as with most governments, is neither all good,nor all bad but it is in there trying to do its job – to make a difference. I sincerely believe it is the best government for this point in time – by far
It’s easy to govern when things are booming – well , as all are aware, there’s been a few unforeseen hiccoughs – the government needs to handle them in the best way they know how.
You may not agree with how they are going to tackle the problems – but isn’t that what the opposition should be about – to question the efficacy of their tactics; to debate policy? (I was recently told that by a very astute PNG politician)
In these economically trying times the last thing the government needs is to be distracted by things like votes of no confidence.
For God’s sake – give it a rest – you don’t have the numbers!
The government of Papua New Guinea is not yours for the taking just because you can crank up a few cranks.