THE FIRST AND MOST COMMON misconception prevalent among international critics of leadership in Papua New Guinea is the attempt to analyse the prevalent behaviour using existing comparative models, the favourites being Africa, South America or Asia.
This is a pitfall as academia will continue to be disappointed because PNG leaders notoriously defy existing patterns used in analysing their political affiliations and behaviour.
A unique model for a society in transition proves evasive as the model must suffice to incorporate the remarkable differences in the leadership style between regions; i.e., Highlander, Sepik, Coastal or Papuan-Southern societies, and also accommodate for the differences within: for example, Samarai and Hula or Sepik and Morobe.
Therefore it is a futile venture to attempt to describe a pattern, as there can be no satisfactory average or typical Melanesian mini-society that can be studied to extract a successful model.
One has to agree that it would trying, especially for a young nation like ours, to achieve the ideal 'thriving western democracy' as Susan Merrell has put it.
PNG should realise that the capitalist based and engineered western democracy which our founding fathers chose with the 'appropriate urging' of our colonial masters may be detrimental to our unique society.
The best way forward will be for Papua New Guineans to forge their own path that will work for our people without compromising our unique heritage and identity.
This is a very important point in the Melanesian context considering the increasing number of cultures becoming bastardised by the globalisation tsunami.
Only when we have lost our cultural heritage and identity either traditional or adopted (Christian principles) can we understand the lamentations of the west which has already either lost or forsaken its heritage in a rush to develop and integrate into a bastardised culture.