From JOHN FOWKE
Today there is an increasing inclination among Papua New Guineans who have access to the net to post their views, their praise and their criticism in a wide variety of PNG-orientated blogs and in the daily and weekly papers.
This is the sign of freedom and fairness which should prevail in a country with the sort of constitution PNG possesses.
But in what seems a complete negation of such an assumption, almost none of these hundreds of commentators is willing to sign his or her own name!
As well, all of these people allocate blame and portray the manifest weaknesses and injustices faced by ordinary citizens, aspects of life in PNG
which are continuously featured in the news; and which have been featured time and again for more than the past decade.
Very few however are able to come up with reasoned practicable solutions- and this is what I find so extremely frustrating; this is why I continue to contribute my own views even though I receive the occasional rebuke for my pains.
Of course, I dont apologise at all.It would make me happy if others, born PNGans, took over my very minor role here. In a land where so great a number of the young and educated are apparently so insecure within their own society that they are not prepared to state their opinions over their given names, nor do anything much but criticise, is it not pointless to pine almost daily for " a new charismatic leader" or " a return to the application of principles in leadership as opposed to convenience and personal greed" as we read so often?
In a society so shy of making a strong stand upon any principle is it likely that such potential leaders are present and willing to come forward in any number?
These problems will not be resolved by suggestions for confrontational activity like "civil disobedience" as has been spoken about recently.
Any such an effort if it came to pass would be seen as a rebellion, and rightly so. It would be put down by the rulers of the nation using force as necessary.
This is not something to be considered.
PNG's big problems are:
( 1) too many working citizens at all levels are both lazy and dishonest within the workplace. This applies in commerce as well as within the hugely-inefficient public service.
( 2) the citizenry, the electorate, is not connected to the parties and has little idea at all of the role parties and MPs should desirably play. This major disconnect is fully responsible for the powerlessness of PNG's people to effect changes and remedies to unfair, inefficient and dishonest practices in the public sector
Civil disobedience is not an effective remedy for these issues even if it was not contested by the authorities.
Focused electorates and well-managed elections are the way ahead.
The remedy lies in a focused electorate which selects its MP on the basis of the quality of the individual, allied to a signed and witnessed agreement to serve the electorate through the medium of its local level government (LLG). This by constantly consulting with the LLG/s, carrying out agreed instructions, and reporting back in person to the LLG, as well as by depositing funds allocated for discretionary development in an account accessible only via approvals stemming from the LLG's annual budget.
In this situation the ward councillors will combine to watch over and effectively control government inputs within the LLG area; schools, aid-posts, policing and roads and buildings; and focus needs and demands via the MP and the LLG chairman to government.
This arrangement will be opposed, naturally, by PNG's established political class which has luxuriated in a level of freedom and unilateral decision-making which has led to present-day dissatisfactions.
There will be a contest here, but wise MPs will see that there is the advantage of long-term tenure for those who play the game.
An assurance of security which has always been notably absent in PNG politics.
The parties have always been too fluid, focused on momentary advantage rather than good policy, to provide the basis for lasting success for even the best of the nation's MPs.
Such a movement for change might very well be backed by a renewed effort by PNG's Christian community; a commitment to combine to enter the field as a second nation-wide focus group in support or in coalition with the L:LGs.
Here may lie the seed for stability, honesty and full equity in the commonwealth of PNG.
The end of powerlessness and the beginning of true nationhood.