EVENTS that have transpired leading to the formation of a new Papua New Guinean government are raising serious questions about the state of our union.
Already on social media there are calls for autonomy and even independence for some regions or provinces. Such calls are unwarranted but indicate the need for our elected leaders to assess the strength of our union.
The Bougainville crisis is a reminder that if we don't take this issue seriously, conflict between regions or ethnic groups may alter our nationhood forever.
Certainly the results of the 2017 national election demonstrate that, with one or two exceptions, our political parties are becoming more regionalised.
Papua New Guinea is a diverse nation and managing its affairs is a daunting task for any government.
Since independence the election of the prime minister and allocation of ministerial portfolios has normally been done with inclusiveness in mind. A cabinet that fails this test is perceived to be biased and quickly heads towards a vote of no confidence.
This tenth parliament and its new government will no doubt take an appropriately balanced approach.
That said, though, the people must understand that parliamentarians occupy ‘public offices’. No one can claim that a particular position belongs to a province a region or ethnicity.
The conduct of the MPs holding such offices are bound to be scrutinised by the public and no one should silence or penalise a member of the public who may be concerned over the conduct of a public officer.
The institutions of state are set up to enforce laws that are meant to create a just and fair society.
At this time, when we are at the cusp of forming a new government, we need to be patriotic and respectful of our country. Papua New Guinea is bigger than each and every one of us.
Papua New Guinea is also for all of us, regardless who we are or where we come from. Without its citizens there will be no Papua New Guinea and without a nation there will be no Papua New Guineans.
When confronted with challenges that threaten to destroy our country, we must take PNG's side.
When faced with a choice to choose personal desire over the nation's welfare, we must take PNG's side.
When asked to take sides, we must take the side that will protect, defend and make PNG great for all of us.
This is the only way we can preserve our union and our nationhood. Governments come and go, but this nation will be here long into the future.