The Inaugural VONC Awards

By PNG Echo

To recognise outstanding achievement in matters concerning the Vote of No Confidence the committee (me) would like to make the following awards. In the category of

KNaru_ResizedBest Speech the winner is:
– the Governor of Morobe who displayed a profound understanding of the issues surrounding this vote and articulated them with a razor sharp analysis – especially in that which concerned the ‘Separation of Powers’.

1609803_10152547043623574_471502395_nThe Yeah Yeah Yeah award also goes to Morobe and is won by:
SAM BASIL– who displayed none of the above but whose words inspired the next award.

The Mispronunciation award, that goes to the word:
OPPOSHISHUN closely rivalled by DESHISHUN

In the ‘Best Dressed’ category the award was unanimously voted as going to:
BEN MICAH – Was his suit a political statement or does he just look good in yellow?


0317np2The Let’s Keep Them Guessing award goes to:
PAIAS WINGTI – who kindly kept the whole nation entertained for seven days playing ‘Where’s Wingti’?  He was in Port Moresby and voted with government.  Who got it right?


James-MarapeIn the category of Best Comeback the award goes to:
JAMES MARAPE – whose quick and incisive replies floored a couple of prominent members of the Opposition including Kerenga Kua, the practiced litigator.


5160696-3x2-940x627Best timing goes to:
THEO ZURENUOC: – the Speaker of the House whose call for a vote was a relief to most (see the ‘Yeah, Yeah, Yeah’ category that proved to be a strongly contested award) and that prompted the following category of…


Namah styleBest Tantrum and was won by:
BELDEN NAMAH – who is poised to make this category his own with his foot-stamping, fist thumping rhetoric – “Give us a chance to debate – I will not sit down until I debate.” He must be still standing because in the next category…

6a00d83454f2ec69e2017c32c40800970b-800wiBest Sense of Humour, …where the winner is, once again, Speaker of the House:
THEO ZURENUOC – He presided over the proceedings with good humour, a ready smile and who wisely responded not with sanctions, but with amused laughter at the above recalcitrant.

Peter+O'NeillBut the Gold VONC goes to the Honourable PETER O’NEILL, Prime Minister of Papua New Guinea (then and now) for his decisive win of 85 to 21.

Hail the Chief.

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The Opposition: Not a leader among them.

By PNG Echo.

Beware the Ides of August
Beware the Ides of August

Take Don Polye: he’s tried for years, but he inspires no one; his aspirations to lead have only led him into the diminished position he finds himself today – leading an opposition who are only behind him because that is the best position from where to stab him in the back.

They all want to lead – it’s just that no one follows.  They just don’t inspire –  none of them.

Yet, there are no followers in the current Opposition either (save for little Willie Samb of Goilala who, on joining the Opposition, found himself in a far more prominent position than he would have been had he joined government.)

Little Willie is the one-man-band of the eternal ‘deputy’ Sam Basil, and even he is now the proud head of the largest party (?) in Opposition (or is that still Polye’s THE Party, I seem unable to find any members who quit government to follow their ‘leader’ into Opposition – but I guess there must be at least one.)

Amusingly, a party of two is double the usual size of the parties in this coalition.

Painted into a corner

One of the 'Chancers'
One of the ‘Chancers’

Polye is the figurative head of a raggle-taggle band of wannabe leaders that are, in reality, has-beens (Namah), never-were (Marat), never-will-be (Basil), and chancers (Kua and the rest).

I doubt if any of them are loyal to Polye.  He doesn’t inspire loyalty.

Some are only in the Opposition because that’s the only side that will have them – and Polye is amongst this number.

Ousted by O’Neill – he should have seen it coming. His performance in the role of Minister for Treasury and Finance saw O’Neill remove the Finance portfolio from him and place it in more competent hands. That was before he dumped him, unceremoniously, notwithstanding the numbers that he could have taken with him into Opposition – but they didn’t go. His leadership qualities are lacking.

Then there are those that would be back in the government if only O’Neill would have them and I hear tell that at least one has been imploring O’Neill to take him back. The metaphoric jilted lover whose plaintiff cry “…after all I’ve done for you,” echoed through the hallowed halls of Waigani in 2012.

The things they share: The risks they run

 Namah with his followers - now all gone - even the 'eternal deputy', Sam Basil.
Namah with his followers – now all gone – even the ‘eternal deputy’, Sam Basil.

One of the binding common factors of the Opposition is that they don’t want to follow Polye: this coalition is of the unwilling.

The other, of course, is that these wannabe leaders have no followers. They are the overly-ambitious heads of one-man parties whose members (followers) have deserted them in droves.

If Polye manages to wrest power from O’Neill – and the likelihood of that is negligible – will we see the Ides of March re-enacted in Papua New Guinea?

I don’t believe there will be one member of the Opposition that will refrain from gleefully plunging the dagger into Polye after he has served his purpose – he just doesn’t inspire loyalty.

O’Neill has proved a formidable and maybe even an impossible target for this band of treacherous brothers  – Polye would be a far easier foe. They’re hoping he can pull a rabbit out of a hat for them – before they turn on him.

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Belden Namah’s demise: The ‘push’ factor (or: lack of effective leadership)

By PNG Echo

Namah on the campaign trail his bilum stuffed with K50 million
Namah on the campaign trail his bilum stuffed with K50 million

In a press statement issued earlier this week, Belden Namah, leader of a rapidly diminishing parliamentary opposition, vehemently denied that the defection of his MPs had anything to do with defective leadership and everything to do with the lure of money.  (A considerable irony, given his admission of using K50 million in the 2012 elections to buy votes and loyalty – yes Mr. O’Neill, I’m with you: where did that come from?)

Back in June of 2012 I wrote

It’s a sad spectacle to see Namah on the campaign trail, trying to buy admiration.  Showing off his expensive toys – an aircraft here, a landcruiser there, everywhere bundles of cash – never realising that people are more interested in his money than in Belden Namah.  He is attempting to buy with money something he never will be able to – admiration is not for sale.

Yesterday, the Prime Minister begged to differ with the denial saying that the defecting MPs had ‘lost confidence” in Namah’s leadership:

His abrupt and aggressive style of leadership is unheard of in Melanesian communities and [in] Melanesian style of leadership,

the Prime Minister stated.

Indeed, in the same aforementioned article, more than two years ago, I asked the question:

…[W]hen will pride become more important than money [to the Melanesian ‘Bikman’]?  How many more times will veteran politicians…such as the Highlander and former Deputy Prime Minister, Don Polye, put up with being publicly told to “F**king shut up?”   How much longer will Peter O’Neill, want to entertain a deputy or coalition partner that openly and publicly challenges superior authority, not understanding ‘chain of command’ in spite of all his military training.

Continue reading Belden Namah’s demise: The ‘push’ factor (or: lack of effective leadership)

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The demise of Belden Norman Namah: The kingmaker who would be king,

Slatev_tnc-BewareTheIdesOfMarchTurns2066752Sole MP in PNG Party and one of only three remaining MPs in the parliamentary opposition that he leads, Belden Norman Namah says he feels “betrayed” – quite rightly so, he has been. But, under the circumstances, why is he surprised?

They say that he who lives by the sword, dies by the sword. In Namah’s case, the proverbial ‘sword’ was money – and if money was the means of his political rise, then, that this should also be the cause of his fall is poetic, writes PNG Echo. Continue reading The demise of Belden Norman Namah: The kingmaker who would be king,

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