Edited Version for the Blog: Entry for the 2017 Papua New Guinea Chamber of Mines and Petroleum Essay & Journalism Category by Carter Pau Jr.
Carter Pau Jr resides in Goroka, PNG. Together with a like-minded, Carter Pau Jr started an organization called NEHASA Projects in 2013 and volunteers services in designing churches, classrooms, clinics and teachers houses for free to rural based schools and churches. He has been writing mostly poems as a hobby but has not published anything.
Anybody can say anything nowadays and win an election in Papua New Guinea (PNG). There are no spaces or forums to screen and rate the promises of intending candidates during elections. Some intending candidates have shown to be irrational and illogical. An intending candidate in the Highlands of PNG can say for example, he would fight to legalise marijuana. He could win. The idea or his campaign platform sounds hilariously stupid and is dangerous. Another example of irrational idea could be a campaign platform to lift the “Buai Ban” in the National Capital District of PNG. The idea of making the sale of Buai on the Streets of Port Moresby legal again sounds irrational because Port Moresby is cleaner thanks to the Buai Ban. But this campaign plan could be a clever strategy to have a chance of un-sitting the incumbent Governor, Honourable MP, Mr Powes Parkop.
Another unrealistic, silly and senseless claim by an intending Candidate for Eastern Highlands Provincial Governors seat may say, ‘meh! mi wankain stritman ose yu ya, sapos mi win, dua blo mi ba op’. Ol saveman ksim inap, nau em taim blo yumi. Holim hap brus yet na kaikai buai yet kam lo opis. Noken bisi lo dres up gut tu because mi tu ba wankain tasol.’ This person can possibly win be saying this. And who know, he will do this when he is in power.
This last example may perhaps be a reoccurring experience in many other parts of PNG. It is so easy; I feel this resonates with many people and political constituencies in PNG. An intending candidate with a colourful history of corruption, adultery, child abuse, alcohol, gambling addiction and compulsive lying, to name just a few, with no background in leadership in his life stands for election. Let’s say he contests Okapa Open Electorate and says “ba mi putim kolta lo Gimi raunim South Fore na kam go Auyana na Ausik blo Okapa ba kamap referral hospital na……………..na……. na eventually wins.
I do not intend to be pejorative in my discourse. It seems that the contradictions are so obvious. We have had 40 years of the experiences. This is the tenth election, the 10th Parliament. Who in his or her right state of mind would vote for intending candidates as described above? Our history has shown that we have voted in these politicians who are not leaders themselves. We have been voting in Politicians with such colourful empty dreams, empty promises that are senseless and ridiculous.
We cry for change but we refuse to accept change ourselves. “Yu gim na mi kaikai nau yet, na mi gim yu vote.” That is the irony of change in PNG Politics. The irony has to change. We need a complete cultural shift in thinking. I put forward the simple measuring tool for a leader. As voters of a leader, we should be looking at a candidate’s family life as the microcosm of his leadership capabilities. If he ever is to be the epitome of the leader we hope for, then I strongly believe and suggest to you that the indicators are not his money, wealth, fame or educational level. We should look at how he manages his family.