William Titipe Powi contested for Southern Highlands Provincial Seat under Peter O’Neill’s party – People’s National Congress (PNC), in the 2012 election. On the race with him were Joseph Kopol (independent), Vincent Mirupasi (independent), Silvester Harry Komba (independent) and others. They were contesting for the seat left vacant by Anderson Agiru (current Hela Governor). At the end of the final elimination, Powi was declared winner on 27 July 2012 with a total votes of 139, 308.

Before switching code into politics, Powi has been the serving as the Southern Highlands Provincial Administrator for about 10 years. Under his belt as the administrator, he delivered absolutely NOTHING to the province. He only manipulated and controlled all the administrative functions of the provincial government to suit his business and political interest. Development funds were used to pay ghost projects and then diverted into personal account to run election. For instance, during the 2012 election in Southern Highlands, a district administrator in one of the districts in SHP was campaigning for Mr. Powi. His home became another campaign house for his former boss (Powi). Food and money became political platform of winning support. I also heard other districts administrators, education and health bosses plus other divisional heads walking here and there throwing support at the back of Powi.

When Powi was declared as the SHP Governor, his first talk as the governor was the FIVE YEARS MASTER PLAN, a plan he described as the brainchild for the development in SHP. The master plan has raised the eyebrows of other 21 provinces that have been operating on FIVE YARS DEVELOPMENT PLAN. It also attracted the attention of international communities. With much been preached and boasted about this cut and paste master plan, other provinces thought that SHP will transform into a model province after some donkey years of decaying or falling backward.

The money milking plan captured infrastructure rehabilitation, law and justice sector, education, health and developing the agriculture sector. Those development areas are paper names to please the readers and seek attention. There is absolutely NOTHING on the ground that will reflect what is captured in the master plan. The master planner himself has a track record of gross abuse and misuse of PUBLIC FUNDS and maladministration during his term as the provincial administrator and getting the name tag as the political head of the province does not change his self-serving lifestyle at all. It is the title that changes. His way of life remained unchanged. The performance indicators are well below the previous years. The education, health, agriculture and infrastructure developments continue to decline despite the existence of the master plan. Look at the number of students entering into tertiary institutions. The numbers have been declining ever since Powi was in power (administration and political level).

As a matter of fact, the master plan was another money milking cut and paste fake document developed by one of the known academic at a very expensive cost as if it will come to fulfillment. If I can remember it correctly, at its introductory stage, more than K50 000 was paid to run the publication of this fake master plan on print media several times. From the layman’s point of view, nothing captured in the half-baked master plan diverges from the termly five years development plan where every mandated leader submits to the government agency as one of their constitutional requirements. In other words, it was just another WASTE of PUBLIC/DEVELOPMENT FUNDS.

In one of the news conference with EMTV after the court cleared his election petition case, Powi said top of the development agenda will also be to revive the tea and coffee plantations in the province. So far, 3.5 years has lapsed and there is no sign of tea and coffee plantations popping out.
Mendi town is decaying. Businesses are finding it very difficult to survive or cannot make enough profit because majority of the Southern Highlanders especially those in Kagua/Erave, Pangia/Ialibu and Imbonggu prefer Mt. Hagen over Mendi to do their daily business. This has lowered the business activities drastically in the provincial capital. The 7 floor Agiru Centre is like another ghost building. One can tell from its outside appearances.

I do not know whether this was part of master plan or not. In Powi’s 2013 Provincial Budget, he committed an initial K3 million to hire cars alone. In 4 years, it would be about K12 million. The hire car contract was given to former Mendi MP and losing PNC candidate Michael Nali to provide hire vehicles to the provincial administration at the rate of K900 per day. This is yet another CLEAR ABUSE OF PUBLIC FUNDS. The sectors mentioned in the master plan were overlooked and snubbed. It would be cost effective if Powi allocated money to buy new vehicles for public servants than to hire vehicles. There is zero benefit out of this hire car deals. No logic here. The National Planning Minister Hon Charles Abel has made it very clear that government departments must do away with hiring of vehicles. Yet, the master plan founder went ahead to award the hire car contract to his business partner.

On 16th September, 2013 during the 38th Independence anniversary celebration, Mr Powi announced that under the SHP government’s new master plan, a Graduate Scheme will be set up commencing in 2014 onwards for the benefit of fresh SHP graduates from institutions of higher education. He said under the graduate scheme Southern Highlanders who graduate in various fields of expertise would be brought back to the province to work in the districts.

In 2014, tertiary students in various universities and colleges were privileged to benefit from this so-called useless scheme. Each Southern Highlander (student) was entitled to at least K500 or 7OO school fee. The payments were received very late, near the closure of academic year. It was another laughing stock when compared to other provinces. This year (2015), NO payments were made. All the attempts made by the student leaders were unsuccessful. Mr Powi failed to honour his paper commitment as stipulated in the cut and paste master plan. Look at what Morobe Provincial Government (MPG) is doing with its scholarship scheme. MPG caters for FULL school fees for its citizens who attend any affiliated tertiary institutions. I am one of the proud recipients of MPG scholarship with a full package of K11 730. Central Provincial Government under Kila Haoda is committing K2 000 each to every Central student attending various tertiary institutions. Yet for Southern Highlands, even though it is one of the resource rich provinces in the country, has absolutely nothing to offer to the elite Southern Highlanders attending tertiary institutions. Is Mr Powi blind to read his very own master plan, something he treated as the brainchild for the province?
There are countless numbers of money milking unfinished and ghost projects initiated by Powi, which to this date remained paper projects. I remember million kina public fund pumped into building a K50 000 cost grandstand and public toilet in Momei Oval, Mendi. I was wondering if it was part of the fake master plan.
There are numerous allegations that the governor has properties worth millions in Cairns, Fiji and Port Moresby and many wives to provide the satisfaction that he needs. May be it must be part of the master plan too.

Surprisingly on Friday 20 November, 2015, Powi was shouted down and rejected by his own people when he was about to give his speech. This happened right in front the eyes of high profile dignitaries like Chief Justice Sir Salamo Injia and others during the official opening of the District and National Courts in Mendi.
Interestingly, in his concluding speech he said, IF YOU DON’T LIKE ME, CHALLENGE ME IN 2017. Only a fool would have said that.
My simple observation and view is that, 2012 election victory of Powi came because of the following;
1. He contested under Peter O’Neill’s Party (PNC),
2. The administrative manipulation during his term as the provincial administrator to gain support through the divisional and district heads.
People have now realized all the garbage brought by the self-serving fake master plan. Come 2017, they will show him the exit door and a new governor will be elected, may be from Mendi Central or Eastern end. That is my prediction. You might have yours.

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