An Open Letter to My Dear Leaders in Papua New Guinea

By LUCAS KIAP

My dear leaders in Papua New Guinea, 

The country some of you helped created in September 16th 1975 just recently celebrated 38 years of nationhood. Looking back, as a nation we have come a long way through both bad and good times when others thought we would never made this far or for worse become a failed state. A country of more than seven million people with diverse cultures, ethnic groups and some more than eight hundred language groups living scattered across in some of the remotest parts of the world, it’s quite amazing how you have pulled them all together. I congratulate you all for this significant achievement. 

For me celebrating this important event was painful, though I had only lived less than 38 years, half of which spent growing up in a village at the foot of Mt. Hagen in WHP. 

For the last five years, life in the city - Port Moresby was very difficult for me. I don’t know how you all have been managing yours but for me, I had to squeeze my family into a single room, where there is little space for us all. I am only affording what my fortnight salary could afford me at this time. I was taught at school to have three meals a day but only a dream now, not to mention school lunch for the kids. Thinking of saving, maybe I should have born in another country, not in PNG, where you have a lot of relatives all looking up at you with all their problems. Looking around, probably I am not alone. There are thousands Papua New Guineans sharing my story but are all keeping quite. These are painful problems, deep problems that quick fixes will not solve them yet I am sharing mine with you, hoping that somewhere out there someone is listening. 

For me there is no one to blame yet I know deeply in my heart I am not the product of my own decisions. My country is unarguably rich enough to offer me a decent life I deserve from many years of hard work in school and where I am today. 

With growing frustrations every day, I have been reading in the newspapers - stories of some of you corrupt politicians, bureaucrats, officials and your cohorts misusing and stealing millions and billions of public funds every year. I have been even witnessing them too as it is all happening around me while I am writing this. I have been wondering how such huge monies could be stolen under your watch and those who responsible are not brought to justice. While on the other hand, people like the Late Walliam Kapris was chased and killed as if there is no justice for such people. What is then the use of having a government that can’t do anything to stop the theft of public funds while people like me are struggling to survive in a very expensive city? 

I am only the product of your decisions that you all have made for the last 38 years. Day-in-day-out – every day, I am bearing the moral burden of your decisions. Don’t question me how much do I know about the country but let me remind you this. I have lived long in this country and I know what goes on around the corridors of Waigani and the strange whispers with echoes it makes.

With bitter sadness and deep pain, I am writing to remind you all now. Whose country is it that you’re helping to destroy and whose interest are you serving? You can go to overseas for medical treatment when you are sick. But when you die you coffin with your corpse in it will never leave the shores of PNG. You can change your face by plastic surgery. You can change your skin color by applying cosmetics. You can do anything to your body as long as you don’t want to be called a Papua New Guinean or be seen as one. But deep in your heart, the blood that it pumps to keep your alive is not a foreign blood. It is a red blood – a Papua New Guinean blood. I will rather die than suffering while seeing you destroy your own country and your own people. 

Yours sincerely, 

Lucas Kiap
PNG Anti-Corruption Movement for Change (PNGACMC)

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