Hold on Papua New Guinea: Get the election you deserve.

by PNG Echo

Papua New Guinea’s political opposition has just two weeks to oust the Prime Minister if they want to get their hands on the government cheque book before the next election – and they do – desperately.

They’re pulling out all the stops.

As I write, there should be a decision being handed down by the Supreme Court as to the recalling of parliament to allow a motion of ‘No Confidence’ to go ahead. With the three judges sitting on the case being Mikail J, Salika DCJ and Injia CJ, I don’t like the chances of the government winning this.

The opposition are likely to get their chance at a Vote of No Confidence – whether they win it, is another matter entirely.

But they’re in there trying!

Bring out the big guns

Strange bedfellows
Strange bedfellows

They’ve got former Prime Ministers Sir Mekere Morauta and Sir Michael Somare joining forces in the attempt to depose the Prime Minister and asking other MPs to join them in a press statement that is the most hypocritical and self- serving document imaginable.

These men live in a very fragile metaphoric ‘glass houses’, yet they insist on throwing stones.

The two masters of the ironic (Morauta and Somare) are saying:

As former Prime Ministers we have made our choice, and we ask our fellow Papua New Guineans to join us in rescuing our country. We cannot, through inaction, see our democracy and the institutions that support democracy ruined. The nation’s future is at stake. Today we are declaring that the Prime Minister must stand down, for the good of all Papua New Guineans.”

For the good of all Papua New Guineans? When did these two have the good of Papua New Guinea foremost on their agenda?

Sir Michael was the architect and founding father of what Wikileaks called “a dysfunctional blob” and when Wikileaks made a comment on the possibility of Sir Michael coming back into power after the 2011 political coup, they referred to the Somare regime as

…a cesspit of corruption, incompetence and mediocrity.

Then again, Sir Mekere Morauta presided over what the Prime Minister has described as “the lost decade” with opportunities and good times squandered.

They are proposing a rescue plan that, on scrutiny, is actually a plan to make a plan. – they provide no solutions but plenty of criticism – all wreaking of gross hypocrisy.

They say:

The past five years of Mr O’Neill’s leadership have been characterized by mismanagement, waste and corruption on an unprecedented scale.

That’s not right.

If we’re talking mismanagement there are plenty of precedents in the Prime Ministership of both Somare and Morauta. In fact, let’s hear from Sir Mekere on what he thought about the management of PNGs finances during the Somare era,

As Minister, Arthur Somare regarded the SOEs [state–owned enterprises] as toys to be owned to glorify his image.

He said that the Somare family regarded these SOEs as their “honey pot”

It’s an interesting criticism when you consider the similar one the Prime Minister made of Sir Mekere when he recently said that that the

“…ongoing stream of hate and malice is all about the former Prime Minister trying to undermine the Government to keep control of the Sustainable Development Program (SDP) money…[Morauta] thinks that if there is a change of Government he might get to stay on and keep spending the money belonging to SDP [Sustained Development Program associated with compensation for the OkTedi mining environmental damage].”

The Founding father of the dysfunctional blob
The Founding father of the dysfunctional blob

As for corruption, well the ‘Father of the Nation’ is still allegedly at it (see here) and it would be more important to him than ever, now that he’s announced his retirement, that he install a government that would be sympathetic to his, and his family’s, ongoing needs.

No, neither of these two has earned the right to access the public coffers -especially not prior to an election that would recognise either of them as the mandated incumbent – and that’s unlikely to happen ever again making them no different to thieves, taking what doesn’t belong to them.

To election…

The question has to be asked why the opposition so desperately need access to the state’s coffers, doesn’t it?  What plans do they have for money belonging to the people?

These two weeks are so crucial to the Opposition because if they depose O’Neill after this small window of opportunity, then it will trigger an election – and they will have to go to that election without the benefit of the public purse.

Make no mistake, these next two weeks are nothing to do with the good of the nation and everything to do with the financial ambitions of the Opposition who’d like the trough for their snouts.

They’ll be quiet come the end of July – mark my words. The good of the nation will be forgotten.

Hold on PNG – get the election you deserve.

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9 thoughts on “Hold on Papua New Guinea: Get the election you deserve.

  1. How can this nullification of the three tier system of government stand? The Westminster system’s division of power has been rendered useless! The Judiciary is directing Parliament! The last time the Judiciary interfered into Parliamentary supremacy and delivered a vague and unconstitutional decision we had a national crisis. If O’Neill is the villain and tyrant what then is Injia – the Saviour?

  2. I think you should carefully read the court’s decision again, Lypit, then go back to your constitutional Law tomes and compare the principles enunciated in the decision with the precedents set out in the text books and law – the reason the court is ordering the resumption of parliament is because officers of the parliament acted beyond their collective powers in not allowing the motion of no confidence to be debated on the floor of parliament – in no way has the doctrine of the separation of powers been abrogated by this court decision.

  3. Peter, I have not read decision but I have read the order that’s been uploaded on the net and I note that the court found fault with the Speaker and Chairman of the Parliamentary Committee who are members of Parliament (MPs) and who acted within the sanctity of a sitting Parliament, as did those MPs who voted to adjourn Parliament were. On any give day their acts are privileged and protected from judicial scrutiny (Section 115).

    And somebody please tell me how the court could possibly ORDER MPs (not ‘officers’ Peter) to perform their privileged functions on the back of declaratory orders in a Section 18 (Constitution) Application?

    • Lypit,
      Both the Speaker and the Chairman of the parliamentary committee are “officers” of the parliament in their respective positions as well as MP’s and as such, in those offices are bound to the laws and parliamentary conventions which apply to the said offices of Speaker and Chairman – the court, in its wisdom ruled that they did not carry out their roles appropriately and that the decision to adjourn parliament, which was based on the two “officers” deliberations was, therefore flawed – in no way did the court in this case interfere with the legitimate running of the parliament – in fact it enhanced it. Are you really trying to argue that MP’s, if they have the parliamentary numbers are above the law?

      • So Peter, are we to accept that the notion of government by majority is irrelevant and the Judiciary rules by proxy of its own members’ discretion – which appears to be informed solely by individual judge’s personal view of what is “in the national interest” and not the law?

        • Not at all, Snakes, we all must take the word “legitimacy” into account here as well – in a nut shell what the court said in this case was that both the Speaker and the Chairman acted in an improper manner as Speaker and Chairman and because of this, the decision taken by the parliament to adjourn to the specified date unfairly fettered the discretion of the MP’s to conduct their business in a legitimate manner. Taken to its nth degree your proposition of the supremity of parliament means that all commercial transactions undertaken within the country are taken at the risk of being overturned by a disgruntled MP who manages to garner the majority of votes in parliament to overturn the commercial decision – you would find few people willing to invest under those conditions and if they did, the premium would be enormous. There are many other such examples, if you just think about it. Finally, it is the law that the court was upholding here.

        • Not al all, Snakes, and I would first like to correct the erroneous impression you gave that a single Judge was responsible for the decision – as with all cases such as this there were three, sometimes there could be more. Both the Speaker and the Chairman are “officers” of the parliament as well as MP’s because they hold the Office that they do, namely Speaker and Chairman. As such they are bound by laws and conventions that are attached to those offices. The court in its wisdom decided that they failed to effectively carry out their duties in not allowing the MP’s unfettered discretion in considering important matters of governance – in this case the relevant motion. Far from eroding parliament’s authority, the decision has enhanced it. Your proposition, taken to its logical conclusion would mean that an MP who was unhappy with a commercial decision could, if he had the numbers in parliament completely re-write that decision. This would not attract too many investors and those that did would be after an extremely high premium for investing in such a regime.

  4. OMGoodness, I cannot believe that at the age of 41 we still haven’t learned much about Prime Ministers (including past ones) and corruption; we still believe that changing one PM for another through a vote of no confidence will give us an honest government; seriously, are we really that dumb? have we ever had a PM who was honest, honourable, democratic and a great leader of his nation? Dare I say a Mandela? Surely we should know by now (after so many) that as soon as a ‘vote of no confidence’ shows its ugly head within months of a national election, clothed in constitutional, legal and democratic jargon and pandering to the nation of voters, this is corruption at its finest ugliness. It so insults the people’s intelligence and makes a sick mockery of PNG Constitution, its legal processes and its democracy. We should just get on with building a nation and vote out persons whom we consider to be corrupt, including former PMs if that’s what we think. Voting in the PNG National Elections in 2017 is where the people’s power is. The right to vote in the National Elections is democracy. That’s where our power is – it is not / never was / and never will be in a vote of no confidence in parliament. How many university students, hard working men and women, the unemployed and rural and village dwellers can vote in a vote of no confidence? None? So how democratic is this? Indeed, how many of us have been invited to vote in a vote of no confidence? If the answer is ‘none’ again you can be more than sure a vote of no confidence is just a sham for those who believe in it, and a gross insult to those who don’t believe in it; and dividing the spoils of the nation for those involved in that process. It is 41 years now. Time to move on. Time to find a PNG Mandela. Time to build a nation for all Papua New Guineans.

  5. Yes its time to build a nation for all Papua New Guineans and I totally agree to that.
    The only way forward is to give these people a chance to participate in the development process.
    They have been neglected so much by these unruly hypocritic leaders that think they can bring change.
    Many hands make work lighter.
    How can a one man feed 100,000 people individually in 5 years?
    Do we have a testimony of any leaders in the country achieving that in the past 40years?
    I believe in Economic Development, that is where the people’s participation lies.
    A true leader fascilates the development process which the people of any nation are subjected to be involved in.
    It is not a leader that bring change rather its the people, and that change starts in their own homes impacting the families first than only it can spread.

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