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16 April 2017


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The essence of the debate over what makes a good leader and who is one is that leadership is can only really be judged after the event.

Military Staff Colleges throughout the world have constantly sought to define what makes a leader and have virtually given up by insisting 'Command' is more important than leadership. Yet the debate goes on.

To try and define what makes a good leader is to descend into the history of humankind. There are many who could be used as examples of good leaders but who have led their people to disaster.

Often it depends on there being a potential individual with the required qualities who is in the right place at the right time.

Clearly an Alpha male or an Alpha female needs to have some experience and training in how to lead people. However the essence of good political leadership I suggest is how to select the right subordinates who will select the right supervisors who will all adhere to a code of ethics and ensure everyone obeys the laws of the land.

Even then, if the laws of the land are wrong, (read the various bad regimes of human history), much the same result will happen as if there were in fact bad leadership.

The crux of PNG's dilemma is simple. There are many potentially good local leaders but how can they become a national leader without compromising their ethical standards? The nature of PNG's multi faceted tribal make up is a truly difficult hurdle to overcome. The only common denominator used by recent PM's is to bribe their way to power using the nation's finances to their own ends. Clearly only those who will follow those who promise personal financial gains are not the right people the nation needs to ethically govern.

Many nations in the past have required a severe national threat to bring everyone, or at least the majority, into line and under a common leader. It's a bit like the traditional PNG Fight Leader who is selected and looked on to save the tribe in its hour of need. After the threat is past however, the fight leader resumes his place in the council of elders.

Perhaps PNG needs a national 'Fight Leader' who will then bow to Parliament after the 'battle for the nation' is over.

I'm not sure your average businessman is very smart Barbara - cunning, crafty, greedy and self-centred comes more to mind. There are exceptions of course.

Then again I've met some really dumb lawyers, and that seems to be the current breeding ground for political types.

I think good leaders are special people and identifying a category from which to draw them may not be sound thinking.

I put the whole article on the Sepik Forum on Facebook. Five people liked it but there are no comments, so no discussion.

This sort of analysis is beyond them, unless they have been to university and studied this topic. But they do know a lot of the findings of the experts and do understand that the government has got them into debt.

Somare is now telling candidates who are interested in business not to stand for the elections. So you can see his choice would include people like his daughter who is highly academically trained but not in business. Also an ambassador who also probably has no skills in business.

But it is the accounting side of this government that is in trouble, and I wonder if these types of people can understand the accounting side.

Maybe a candidate who has a business head on them would do a better job to sort out the problems now facing the country.

I too enjoyed the fuller post by Kessy at www.

Sadly I agree with Chris that the majority of PNG people will never read such news even if they had inclination to do so.

They are caught in just existing, as they have always done, despite the five-yearly antics of the aspiring elites coming home to persuade the plebs to vote for them.

Then, win or lose, the mouthy, smiling visitor will depart the muddy rocky trails for the balus back to life in their old urban scene with a lucky one destined for the perverting Badlands of Waigani.

Seems almost a fatal acceptance by the land-rich peasant class but politically-savvy poor who since the apparently glorious September day in 1975 know that for 99% of their clan or tribe the election won’t make a damn bit of difference to their sago or kaukau with greens on the family table in the next five years.

As someone once asked, “How do you know when a politician is lying?” Got the reply, “When their lips move!”

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