I’VE been wondering about a few things that appear to be odd, and have reached the frightening conclusion that the 2017 national election is being deliberately set up to fail.
If I am right, then God save our Papua New Guinea.
Consider our present state of affairs. The PNG economy is on the brink of failure. The Central Bank has been printing money for some time now and public debt is around twice the national budget.
Critical information is being withheld, denying people truthful, accurate and much needed facts upon which to make reliable decisions.
Key economic and service delivery infrastructure has not been upgraded or maintained. For reasons of political expediency, funding has been diverted to areas that don’t need it: like building four-lane highways in the national capital (for one percent of the population) while the Okuk Highway, Bulolo Highway and others crumble.
The ‘free education’ policy has proven unsustainable and ineffective. Our children are now less educated. The ‘free health care’ policy has also proven unsustainable - it too is a political gimmick. More people are dying from preventable diseases.
Law enforcement and security agencies have been systematically degraded leaving only shadows of their former selves.
The funding of (loyal government aligned) politicians has never once been cut or delayed while critical services languish.
The mainstream news media has been effectively gagged and reduced to the level of a government propaganda machine.
Michael Somare’s illegal removal as prime minister by Peter O’Neill and others five years ago was quickly recognised by Australia despite a PNG supreme court ruling. Was this because Grand Chief Somare was vehemently against the Manus asylum seeker facility?
Never forget PNG, that without Australian government support, the O’Neill government would have died in early 2012.
At the 2012 elections, we had several electorates where the polling was deemed to have failed and was declared as such. By law, by-elections should have been held. This did not happen.
Our elections are guaranteed by the Constitution. In my view, what occurred in 2012 was a flagrant breach of our Constitution.
The key government agencies that have a role to play in the forthcoming election have been massively underfunded. The Electoral Commission’s estimates based on past elections have been ignored. The same goes for the police and other security agencies. The resources needed to conduct free and fair elections are insufficient.
Given the massive number of weapons in PNG, attempts to apprehend elements who may be instrumental in provoking disruptions to a peaceful election seem doomed to fail. I don’t blame the police; they can only do so much with the little they have.
If the elections fail, the State will delay appeals until the next elections (there are still cases related to the last election in the courts today). Dissatisfaction or unrest can be quelled using the security forces to put down acts of “lawlessness”.
We all know this government has a track record of ignoring or circumventing laws that do not favour it. I feel it is highly probable that this year’s election has been deliberately planned to fail so current members of parliament can be returned legally unopposed.
I also believe that voting will be terminated at any polling booth where there is the slightest hint of trouble.
So what can we do to avert such a situation?
We must start now, this very minute, to educate every single person.
At the same time, there must be no violence or disorder of any sort at polling booths.
The people of every community must collectively act to enforce their rights to freely, safely and fairly elect the person to represent them on the floor of parliament and in the council chambers.
The community must collaboratively take charge of enforcing the electoral laws at their local polling booths.
The community must take the initiative and collectively support their local security personnel to quickly suppress acts that could impact upon polling.
After polling, the people must collectively escort ballot boxes to the designated storage points before counting.
The community must collectively provide additional security for ballot boxes until counting is completed.
Ensure that no block voting is allowed in your area.
All candidates, as true leaders, must agree to the above conditions – win or lose.
These steps will ensure that the elections do not fail and the person elected is truly the choice of the majority of the people in the electorate.
I hope my analysis is wrong. But let us not take chances as we know who and what we are up against.
God bless you all and God bless Papua New Guinea.