IN 2012, the people of Papua New Guinea again took themselves to the polls to elect their leaders in a so-called democratic election.
Throughout the length and breadth of Papua New Guinea in 111 electorates the adult members of its seven million people chose many men and some women to represent their views, hopes and aspirations
They chose representatives to protect and promote their interests and ultimately the interests of Papua New Guinea through the nation’s highest decision making institution, the National Parliament.
This was the ninth national election since the independence of PNG from Australia on 16 September 1976.
As in previous national elections, putting themselves in front of the people was a large collection of candidates all raising their hands to be chosen as leaders.
Included in those vying for a mandate were individuals who ranged from people who intended to serve the nation with necessary conviction to people who intended to serve themselves and were seeking to be in parliament to advance that goal.
Substantial resources were expended by more than a few. In fact, elections in PNG are more costly per person than in any other nation in the Pacific region.
The tactics, strategies and gimmicks used to entice the precious vote of the people ranged from clever to devious, and the motives from genuine to selfish.
And so the people voted.
Some voted because they were convinced and moved by the assumed knowledge of the person they selected as being worth their vote. Others voted along tribal lines. Many sold their votes for a few bottles of beer or a carton of lamb flaps.
Others were duped into believing the clever speeches delivered by candidates clamouring and claiming to be “leaders”.
The candidates stood up offering a virtual contract to carry the wishes of their people into parliament.
The people agreed to the terms and conditions and accepted them by casting their vote and so sealing the contract.
Some time later, the winning candidates found themselves in parliament, contract clutched in hands. The people hoped.
Sadly, the ratio of politicians to leaders remained more or less the same. Too few leaders; too many politicians.
Although some good will be achieved in the ninth parliament it will be almost insignificant in comparison to the evil that will occur, primarily because many of the newly mandated leaders do not intend to honour their contract.
Here the difference between politician and leader is defined.
Politicians prepare and present contracts they know they will meet only in part, or modify to suit circumstances or totally breach.
Their contract is based on convenience.
Leaders intend to stay true to their mandate and deliver what they can.
Their contract is based on conviction.
After the ninth parliament was elected, a majority of contracts were torn up and discarded outside the doorways of the chamber.
Some of the newly-elected politicians marched through the doors after storing their sheepskin in mothballs until the next elections.
They donned their wolves clothing and strode into parliament, that highest of high decision making forums, where every session they bowed their heads to pray fervently for guidance but act in a manner suggesting they are not prepared to be so guided.
Or at least, if guidance comes, it is not from a divine source which encourages sharing, caring and carrying out wholesome, just and righteous deeds.
With each passing hour, the humble personalities marketed during the election period wore off like a cheap whore’s make-up.
Eventually what had passed for honour and commitment became filthy reeking gutters of inequity, betraying the blood, sweat and tears of the people along with the people’s dreams, aspirations and hopes.
A contract was traduced and an economy was there to traverse; an economy that has never been owned by the people.
Many of these politicians, having discarded the sheepskin worn to placate voters, cover their wolves clothing with a hard shell that makes it impossible to hear the cries of their people.
It is a shell as hard as the heart which is set against the people they fooled into electing them, the very people with whom they had entered the contract they had no intention of keeping.
The political transformation from harmless caterpillar into poisonous moth now complete, they flit from one evil decision to another; surviving politically until the next election.
Meanwhile, the people witness a familiar pattern of apathy, arrogance and inconsiderate self-interest with ridiculous and outrageous and costly schemes and scams agreed to, endorsed and funded whilst opportunities to stand up and protect and promote their people’s interests are ignored.
A myriad of wholesome projects that would benefit the people and cost them nothing, and gifts from considerate individuals, governments and organisations, are ignored if they do not personally personally benefit those in power.
Ridiculous scams and schemes that cost the people substantially and bring little tangible benefit, and in not a few instances endanger the economy or even lives, are processed in record time.
Meanwhile the people bitterly complain and resign themselves to becoming victims of bad decision-making, poor and weak leadership and the inconsiderate behaviour of their so-called democratically elected leaders for the next five years.
The whole process repeats itself election after election.
Ballots are rigged, bribes are offered, people are duped, candidates ingratiate, contracts are offered and another batch of politicians is delivered.
With too few leaders amongst them; too few to make a difference.
Only when the ratio of leaders to politicians improves will there be a likelihood of the contract being honoured.