Papua New Guineans need to vote for change

12/03/2012 21:58

Papua New Guinean voters checking out a list of candidates in the 2007 general election.


By Nick Laki @ Sharp Talk

If you are a member of a community or society which is going to vote in June you need to walk out to your next street, block, corner and campaign for CHANGE that will bail this country out of corruption, fraud and malicious and dictatorial leadership. We have suffered so long and there is a need for change for the better.

In this polling period I see some of the best crop of people running for elections around the country. They will put up banners, postcards, postures etc to show to the people what they will do when they get into power. Some will come with enticing words to convince the voters, while others will lure voters with money to get into power. Whatever methods the candidates use, it will be election time and we will only find out at the time of election on who will get into Parliament.
For the voters, it will be an ultimate challenge as to whom to vote in election and that is “the decision” that will make or break this country. There is speculations that bribery, guns, violence, bulling etc will be used but it is our decision as a voter and our belief in what is right that will save this country for the future generations.
However, history has shown that people with high leadership credentials have similar characteristics and people need to identify them before putting ink on the ballot paper. There would be a number of criteria that can be used to find the best candidate for the electorates around the country. But some of the common leadership ingredients in a leader are character, knowledge, experience and vision.


This would be a critical measuring barometer as it will ask for the credibility and integrity of a person. It can be seen in honesty, trustworthiness, God-fearing, good family relationship (not broken, polygamous, etc.), leadership qualities in the family(how he/she looks after his/her own children), social lifestyle (anti-gambling and drinking), humility, meekness, goodness and good standing (both personal and professional life) in the community. A large number of members of the community break social and moral rules in their communities because with money and power, they know they can get away with it. 

As we make the transition to the computer and cyber age where information and technology is vital in any sphere of life, we need qualified and informed leaders and decision makers. Leadership is about leading with knowledge and making good decisions based on best information available for the good of all people. Since we are living in knowledge-based society and world, being educated is important for leaders. At present, we have a lot semi-educated leaders who were drop-outs or unsuccessful and got into politics because they had businesses and access to resources. Not because they had leadership qualities but they had the buying power to get in. This is not an attempt to underestimate their leadership credentials and their good-standing in the community but in a crunch time, they will need to read and make decisions on their own instead of relying on advisors. 

In PNG, we need a leader with a vision to lead this country. We were given a roadmap known as Vision 2050 that had some glittering outcomes but they are out-of-touch on the strategies and mechanism to achieve these goals. In a country where there is a lot of resources, people, land and money - vision and strategic leadership is absolutely necessary.

In the last 10-15 years we had a fire-fighting system of governance. Governments only responded to issues in times of emergency while areas of importance were left unattended. We are slowly becoming a time-bomb. There was no planning and resourc mechanisms in place for entire country with respect to development and resource booming opportunities. For example, when did the government think about the PNG LNG Project? Did it think of the impact that the PNG LNG Project now has on our normal lives such as housing, road and traffic issues that are problematic in our major cities now? This is a clear indication that there was no control over what happened in the country. Clearly the flood-gates are opening and all corners of government appear to be in total disarray. Worse still, resources were depleted and there is nothing to show for the money spent.

We need to change this style of leadership for the better. Whatever is going on in the court and parliament will only last for a few months. But the decision that we will make in June will determine the destiny of the country for another 5 years. If we don’t make or campaign for change in June there will be a lot of mourning and groaning and we could see the worst.
Finally when judging candidates, their vision and plans must be linked with their educational qualification and experience. And the visions and plans and qualifications must be supported by the candidate's character. PNG's greatest need is good leadership leadership. Money is not a problem - leadership is.. It is really a choice between progress and prosperity versus poverty and suffering and the decision for the future will dawn in two months.