By CHRISTOPHER PAPIALI
My old father used to tell me that when you go fetch water down the valley using a bamboo make sure that it does not capsize right at the doorsteps of the house after covering kilometers walking with sweat and pain.
This old story can be related to the political development leading up to the formation of the government for the 9th parliament.
Peter O’Neill, Sir Julius Chan, Sir Michael T. Somare and Paias Wingti have forged partnership to present to the people of PNG that their new government is for the people, and not themselves. They said it bridges generation gap and yields prosperous future.
Peter Ipatas, Don Polye, Beldon Namah, Luther Wenge, Garry Juffa have been left out in the preliminary discussions on the best political party marriages.
We have a team of very conservative and right wing advocates verses the very radical and passionate leaders who do not give a second thought on what ought to be done.In all these, one thing is clear:PNG Politics presents a new dimensional growth as a result of education, exposure and experience.
Paias Wingti was the name synonymous with highlands political leadership. He is an inconspicuous leader who escapes media paparazzi for he knows that he does not want anyone to know what he does. Paias never wanted any highlands leaders to rise up and dominate the region. His intention was to allow other highlands leaders to follow him and him not following them. And after almost 20 years, he is returning to the podium, much to the joy of Western Highlanders and PDM supporters right around the country.
Sir Julius Chan felt the real pain when NA was in government for the last nine years. NA did not want to do anything for the New Ireland Province until Peter O’Neill government took office. For the first time several impact projects kicked off through a fat cheque from MRDC and other overdue payment released through National Planning department. During O’Neill’s government he played a back stage role while pushing his son Bryan Chan up the front with a government portfolio.
One of the strong PPP man, Ben Micah is back and he was one of the key advisors to O’Neill government. Now six PPP candidates have won their respective seats and the decision to move over to O’Neill camp has to be the work of Ben Micah and Sir Julius Chan. It is more appropriate to state here at Ben Micah may have provided the link between PDM, PPP and PNC.
Sir Michael Somare’s decision to join PNC coalition took me to a surprise last night. If Sir Michael had majority of his candidates winning the election, I do not think he should have allowed O’Neill and Namah to be in his camp. Sir Michael was planning to retire after the 2012 elections but the treatment he received in the last 9 months forced him to put his hands up again. Sir Michael will become looser and will be no body, and for sure he will be demoralized and penalized if he did not join PNC camp. He did it to save the face of Arthur Somare and his business associates. Michael Somare is a seasoned politician and his years of political life make him what he is. He is a snake in the grass, hissing through, knowing very well the political climate and tension and he makes sure he survives through the rough seas.
From all there is what we find now is that Peter O’Neill is not toffee nosed, neither is he a supporter of guided democracy. He is wheeled and swayed by advisors and business partners. The foreign business houses and diplomats see the combination of Sir Michael, Paias, and O’Neill as the right chose to move the billions of kina worth projects off the ground. It seems these three political leaders provide the balance of power and excellent mediators for those who are seeking self-interest and particularly multi-corporations who have big stakes in this country.
The combination of Paias, Somare, Julius and O’Neill is nothing but a strong foothold that can never be broken. Is this true?
My view is that one of them will become a sponge and destabilize the PNC dominated government in the coming months if things are not done the way as one or the other expects. At the outset, we are seeing the marriages of these political parties as a welcome to bring stability.
I still view that the old dogs are back and the line of networks they have is far more than any first time MP entering parliament. Sir J, Sir Michael and Paias have a long list of priority list presented to them by thousands and thousands of business cronies and associates including family members. Can they be firm enough to say no to all forms of dubious handshakes and put the interest of the country first? Only time will tell.
Who is the true champion? Who is true Papua New Guinean? Who is real nationalist? Who is thinking of the 7 million people?
A true champion lies within. A true politician stands firm, beat all odds, to protect the safety and interest of all Papua New Guineans.
Can Sir Michael be a true champion? Was he not related to the Moti Affair, his long association with Asian network reaping this country apart? His inability to discipline his son Arthur for the squandering of millions of state money purchasing properties and investments inside and outside PNG?
Even Paias Wingti is known for the billions of money seeped to the Cayman Islands and him been declared as the first multimillionaire almost 25 years ago? He took advantage of the depreciated kina in the early 1980s – 1990s, and invested the balance elsewhere.
Sir Julius is known for the Sandline Crisis (although the issue has been watered down as a result of continuous reconciliation with the Bougainville people). He may be viewed as someone pushing for regionalist government, having New Ireland Province achieving the ‘autonomous status’ like Bougainville. Where is the line drawn to see whether he is truly Papua New Guinean who can speak ardently with good command of English language for all Papua New Guineans rather than the select few?
O’Neill’s name is associated with the NPF saga, now NASFUND. He should not have helped Jim Maladina to contest this year’s election. Where is the extradite law?
And as Papua New Guineans, we are not thinking deep and if it means to go beyond our line of thinking and see which politician or political party truly serves the interest of the people.
And now you are racing for names who truly serve PNG interest. Nearly all Papua New Guineans are resilient on the re-election of Beldon Namah, for you all know he is dangerous to our internal security and political life.
However, have you not thought at the back of your mind who is here to clean up the country for the better? Who can really fight for your right to say no to foreigners who steal our forests, fish, minerals, copra, cocoa, coffee and land? We should be asking which political parties serve the interest of big corporations and foreigners?
I am led to believe that:
• A political party that deports people who break our national laws speak for PNG.
• A political party that jails people who break our laws speak for PNG.
• A political party that controls the influx of foreigners into this country speaks for PNG.
• A political party that promotes local businesses and reserves business for nationals speak for PNG.
• A political party that fully subsidizes education and health speak for PNG.
• A political party that minimizes law and order and increase investor confidence speaks for PNG.
• A political party that delivers service at the grassroots level speaks for PNG.
An astounding political character that seem to have going against all our belief system is Beldon Namah. Foreigners who are illegally doing business in this country do not want to associate with him because they will be revealed and deported. And even other seasoned politicians feel that he is too young to be Prime Minister material.
So I keep on pondering:
• Don’t we want to know that any MP who is fighting against corruption is true nationalist?
• Don’t we want to know that any MP who is saying no to foreign dominance of business is true nationalist?
• Don’t we want to know that any MP who is empowering Papua New Guineas to do business is true nationalist?
• Don’t we want to know that any MP who is nationalistic but embraces globalism is true a champion for promoting democratic principles.
Other educated people have said nationalism can be detrimental because of globalism. However, globalism stems from national ideals; the belief systems that draw from our customs and traditions. Major successful economies like India and China commenced their national development pathways through this view. And of course it will take years and it will take a political party or a politician to truly grasp such level of comprehension.
My fellow Papua New Guineans as you raise your minds on who should form the next government and who should become Prime Minister, I have in my own capacity, have provided some thoughts (that can be viewed as bias, unrealistic, optimistic, etc…) for you to rationalize and make informed discussions and decisions on the growth and development of PNG.