Home > Corruption, Papua New Guinea, Politics > We are to Blame for Our Corrupt Leaders – Its time to Unite and Fight

We are to Blame for Our Corrupt Leaders – Its time to Unite and Fight

January 23, 2014 Leave a comment Go to comments

Strong leaders emerge from mass movements, not vice versa. In times of corruption, virulent white-collar criminality, rising costs of living, expanding inequality, land grabs, resource manipulation, and the loss of sovereignty to shady foreigners of many colours and creeds, many citizens dream of a saviour who will cleanse PNG of the wrong-doers and bring about justice. This saviour exists – not in the form of any one man or woman, but in all men and women of PNG united. Only a mass movement of epic proportions can counteract a swindle of epic proportions.

At the moment there are no mass movements in PNG capable of securing the national interest. For instance, in the rural areas there is no peasant movement, uniting all clans, which seeks to conquer for the rural masses political power; to conquer political power in order to champion the interests of those who have access to land and labour, but who need vital support in terms of transport, technology, communications and marketing, if they are to get something remotely resembling a fair market price for their hard work. While in the cities, the labour-unions are small, poorly resourced, often mismanaged, and have yet to amplify the collective voice of working people either at an industrial level or a political level.

Without such mass movements, we still have leaders yes, but weak leaders that are greedy, self-interested and easily corruptible (with honourable exceptions). They are weak, greedy and corrupt because they are not held accountable by a mass of people unified through strong civil society organisations who can ensure that promises of sweeping reform and changes are kept. Instead, they are ‘accountable’ to a fragmented and atomised electorate, who are often disorganised and have no mechanisms or criteria with which to keep leaders in check. So when it comes to election time, our leaders arrive with beer, shirts and big promises. That votes are won through such superficial transactions is not an indictment on the people of PNG, it is a reflection of our demoralisation, disorganisation and disempowerment.

From there the weak leaders, unconnected to a mass movement, go to Waigani, where they are courted by foreign companies some of whom wish to command PNG’s natural resources, others are more brazen crooks just looking for a chunk of public revenues through petty frauds. Weak leaders listen to foreign companies and foreign advisers, because they have no mass movement keeping them to account, ensuring they are championing the interests of PNG people, not foreigners. Weak leaders fill their own pockets, because there is no consequence if they do.

The media is not going to be our saviour – lets face it, The National is owned by Rimbunan Hijau a company whose criminality is legendary, as the latest SABL Commission of Inquiry attests. Equally, the Post-Courier is owned by none other than the News Corporation, whose crooked deals are currently the subject of criminal prosecutions in the UK. News organisations run by the very types of venal companies coming to suck our fertile soils of every last ounce of wealth, are hardly going to act as spotlights.

For too long the people of this great nation have blamed their leaders for being weak. The truth is we are the ones who have made them weak. We have made them weak because we are fragmented and divided – there is no muscle on the bones of the nation! We have made them weak because there is no serious mass-resistance to those who steal our resources, and wreak havoc in the towns and rural areas.

It is time to unite, and fight, only then will strong leaders emerge who govern in the national interest rather than the interest of a rich and powerful minority who on the whole call foreign lands home.

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  1. JUDY
    January 24, 2014 at 3:01 pm

    Have read this right through and every word true to point.My heart cries out for that leader among us.For when I see my relatives in the villagers,my haus lain,my wantoks around PNG,my siblings all looking lost and worst for wear; and in need of begin released from the monstrous stress they are under or have gone through over the past 38 years.We PNGeans are so divided when it comes to politicians past and present.They are as far as I am concerned should not be called leaders but crooks of varying degrees,have got rich b/c they have taken the monies from the coffers of PNG,which was for the development of the country and nation Papua New Guinea.The politicians do not have a heart nor vision for PNG or Papua New Guineans.The majority of our people in the rural areas of PNG have been lied and tricked by few kinas by the politicians over the years and yet they still vote them in.They need to be schooled and who can do that?PNG needs a “moses” to lead us out from that “egypt”.
    I hope it ‘s soon people,pray it be soon.

  2. Charles
    January 25, 2014 at 11:55 am

    I really can’t contemplate here to where we’re heading to? Never seems anyone could imagine the legacy left behind by our past leaders which then reaped today! Only heaven can release the list for our voters to comprehend.

  3. January 27, 2014 at 10:28 pm

    We believe corruption starts at the family level. We usually accept bribery during election days…The elected MP disappears in the swamps of Waigani…and reappears during election days.

  4. February 13, 2014 at 9:14 am

    I am at a loss to understand what will motivate PNG to unite – in action – against what’s happening in PNG. Corruption is allowed to flourish because not enough people will take a collective and sustained stand. Even the small ‘anti-corruption’ movements that have recently risen have very few who will give anything but lip service. What’s more, these movements are, in the main, fuelled by the same motivations as corruption – to get their hands on power and money and are really a front for yet another corrupt politician. Someone once said (in jest) “I either want corruption to stop or want to get my share of it.” Many a true word is said in jest. Many ‘anti corruption’ fighters have been lured to the dark side by money (I would suggest most of them)

  5. March 20, 2014 at 9:54 pm

    It is PNG’s middle-class-( the well-educated, salary-earners, professionals and tertiary students )- who by virtue of the clarity of their understanding of the dispossession of PNG’s citizenry, of the loss of basic rights and of equity in the common wealth of their lovely land, are not only qualified, but DUTY-BOUND to conceive and to lead a lawful social revolution to restore citizens’ rights and to foster honesty and a sense of duty everywhere.

    The mass of the population, the villagers, the settlement-dwellers, these largely-illiterate or semi-literate people are ready-made victims for oppression by the exploitative bilakmasta class.. They MUST have the LEADERSHIP of people with a clarity of understanding of all the issues and of a path towards real reform. There are many people who are equipped to step in as groups based in their places of residence- perhaps as many as 200,000 people; those mentioned above as potential guides and leaders of a new society.
    Dont hide behind words, you middle-class people, you salary-earners, professionals, technocrats, tertiary students.

    There’s no way around it. Its your born duty and obligation to the nation which has made you a part of its educated, thinking,worldly-wise class. All that has to be done is something like what I will outline below, before signing off. Become active after some thought, and get together a few like-minded compatriots. With the emphasis on “..patriots.” And stop putting it off endlessly- JUST DO IT!

    All this mess is not PNG’s fault as a new nation. No. As a young man I was part of the biggest of Australias two major mistakes in its role as ruler of then TP&NG. I was a member of one of the teams which collected votes around the country in the first national election in 1964.

    I was too immature to understand how dense, how incredibly blind, my big bosses at Konedobu, -and in Canberra at the Department of Territories- were to allow parliamentary representation to arise without full discussion and examination of all possible paths. How in a nation where land and what grows on it, and the bones of those buried in it, are the absolute basic bedrock from which social structure, culture, ethics, morality all arise..This was a society of small groups, each dependent upon and intensely defensive of its own resource of land, of rights to river, reef and island.

    Here were no Barons whose landholdings and influence ran to Province-sized fiefdoms; here were no Manorial holdings comprising large acreages of prime farming land, here were no landowning Squires for whom landless share-farmers laboured all their lives, Here were no slaves bound to a Baron or a Lord for life. None of these. No; in 1964 TP&NG,, as ever, was an almost entirely egalitarian society with almost no tradition of hereditary class, hereditary privilege or poverty.Certainly a 99% classless self-governing society.

    From day one the opposing interests of the Bullybeef Club-( Pangu ) – and the business sector and Missions allied with older and conservative village leaders-( Compass Pati, later National)-advanced and retreated, skirmishing as they solidified into opposing parties. That is how it all started. Parliament soon became an institution far from the understanding of the common citizen, remote, eventually becoming the object of derision and mistrust. This is no way for a modern, avowedly-democratic nation to be

    So stupid, then, to allow a facsimile of the British Westminster party-based system to arise in the first House when none of the conditions which the party-system grew to meet in a heavily-class-ridden kingdom over several centuries in Britain. These conditions never existed in TP&NG. This is the source of most of PNG’s present-day unfairness and discontent. By their stupidity the Australians caused an isolated, selfish, greedy political class to establish itself in self-constructed, exclusive “clubs”. This most un-Melanesian ruling-class have established deep roots in this hitherto free, avowedly democratic if often unruly society..

    Especially stupid when 100 or more LLGs-( then LGCs)-being grass-roots-based political institutions were well-established and well-understood throughout the land. The LGCs of today -and now there are many, many more of them, still remain as the basic, grass-roots building blocks for grass-roots control of their nation and its resources and its state institutions.

    Then as now, parties possessed little of principle, little member-loyalty, and
    great personal, selfish ambition. There is no connection between the electorate
    and the elected.

    This has to change if you are to fulfil the promise embodied in your lovely
    land and your constitution and your aspirations.

    Get together with some others, like-minded, and prepare the way for your own Ward Councillor to suggest in a meeting that your current MP be asked to make a formal agreement to appear regularly at the Council’s meetings, to act upon reasonable requests pertaining to the welfare of the council’s constituency- being a large part of his own- and to bring his District Development funding to bear on reasonable and duly budgeted physical infrastructural needs. The MP should also take on the improvement of all National and Provincial services in the council area by liaison with provincial and Waigani-based officials and with the PM’s Department if necessary.

    In return the Council should agree that depending upon performance, the MP would have the full support of the LLG constituency in the next national election. Such an agreement would be constitutional and might be accomplished peacefully with great benefit on all sides.

    Lawful, transparent and productive of a much more settled, equitable and peaceful social environment if successfully publicised and acted upon. If in doubt, dig out the records of the Public Sector Reform Advisory Group presided over by the late Sir Barry Holloway until his death two years ago. This group of idealistic and well-qualified PNG professionals began work in 2002 and built up a number of excellent policy-papers for parliamentary consideration. Policies which encompassed aspects of my own suggestion above. Whilst parliament did nothing with these the records and most of the people concerned are still available for you to consult. Perhaps you may take some of their insights and ideas to incorporate in a set of steps you yourselves, you middle-class professionals and students, decide upon. This is not brand new territory, I assure you. Go to it.

    Good luck.

    John Fowke

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