MPs' powerplays detrimental to PNG

12/09/2011 11:51

Guest Blogger Cottingham Geno

In the online news in PNG there are numerous articles on the 'toing and froing' of members of parliament and this has invoked my interest in the political state of affairs in PNG right now. Has the Parliament of PNG lost its definition and purpose? I understand that members were elected by Papua New Guineans to discuss and argue (politics) of national interest for the nation and its citizens.

The readings indicate to me that Parliament is being used by those elected members as a 'battlefield for individual power'. This fight for individual power is detrimental to PNG. The battle has created a loss of respect by our international counterparts and global partners and even Papua New Guineans living abroad. Valued opportunities for economic and social growth have been forgone and most importantly, this political 'power play' has created an ignorance of social and welfare issues that need to be addressed.

Why is PNG behind in growth, both economically and socially? It is because we carry so much of the traditional thinking of social status (or some could say the 'big man' attitude) into an arena where a significant number of stakeholders are an illiterate, uneducated and gullible voting population. The traditional societal status of the so called 'born and inherited leadership' is still very much contentedly alive in modern PNG.

Why can’t we grasp the concept of 'earned leadership'?  Why do we continue to allow such 'stone age' practices and mentalities rule the way we elect and govern this country? After more than 35 years of independence are we not an educated enough population to pursue intellectual and visionary leadership? Are we not a population of intelligent and dynamic young individual change agents who are capable of manoeuvring this nation into economic and social prosperity? Or are we still 'morons' pursuing personal financial wealth and prosperity at the expense of taxpayers or the sick child who died from a curable disease because there was no medical equipment or medicine at the local hospital? Or a parent labourer who paid a full year school fee only for their child to sit on the floor of a classroom? Or the rural population who still has no electricity, roads and sanitised water?

It is truly frustrating to continue to read about thoughtless actions of our leaders in Parliament while important matters relating to infrastructure development, health and education improvement, and economic welfare are not debated intellectually enough to ensure that the fruits of Vision 2050 are realised. Millions of PNG Kina in taxpayers money are lost in the power play of those elected by us to ensure that we get better hospitals, more medicines, better schools and world class curriculum, more roads and better capital infrastructure to promote social and economic growth, trade and productivity in PNG.  

Where is PNG heading to? Can anyone tell me and enlighten me with an intellectual debate? We have to cast our votes in less than a year but is it worth it?

Cottingham Geno is currently doing a Masters of Business Administration at the Southern Cross University in Australia under an Australian Leadership Awards (ALA) scholarship program.