The dilemma
Martyn sees the darkness of those neon lights

Truth has been momentarily suspended


PEOPLE ASK ME how the politicians can do this or that. “What does the law say about this and that?”

Before I answer I say, “The law doesn’t seem to matter any more...but I’ll just try tell you what it says...” Is the law relevant anymore?

We got people who make their own laws and amend and follow them as we go along. The true law, the Constitution, doesn't matter to them anymore. They're a law unto themselves.

They are collectively now "The King"...they make the rules, interpret the rules, execute the rules...and they break it whenever it suits them. I can explain the law till I'm blue in the face. But if it's lost its authority to a group of whimsical men then what's the use?

And if we are content to say "let it go, it's all good", then why should anyone be subjected to the law in the future? It has no authority except the authority we give it. Now isn’t it true that all we need is majority decision and we can do anything?

No matter how unlawful or immoral it is. Shall we just “let it go” whenever a person commits a crime for a “worthy” cause? How can we ever entertain such a thought?

There is no authority above us except a few rich men who are each elected by a tiny few thousand in some constituency, yet they claim to speak for the nation, as if they are all-knowing and omnipresent. They certainly believe they are all-powerful.  There is no law above them. Their will is law.

Everything is permissible. Everything is prohibited. All at the same time. Everything is subjective: applied only when circumstances and popular demand, emotion and self-interest allow.

Such is the scary reality when we lose ourselves to subjectivity, trading truth for preferences. Chaos and confusion are the order of things when the law is interpreted subjectively or completely ignored by people.

We all require rules or standards to keep order; to maintain coherence in society and in discourse. Whether we’re debating on Sharp Talk, or minding our businesses on the streets, or playing sport, or conducting national affairs. There has to be something greater than ourselves that guides us.

There cannot be coherent discussion on Sharp Talk if we didn’t have some unwritten rules to keep discussions coherent. No sport can be played fairly without rules or with two sets of rules. No national affair can be conducted outside of the law without creating chaos and confusion and attracting the stigma of corruption.

During elections imagine if there weren’t rules on campaigning and electioneering. And for lawyers attending court...imagine no court rules. Chaos.

If we each define our own truth, if we define our own rules, if we define our own morality, we can never hope for a coherent society; let alone a society based on justice, fairness and equality. If anything, the events of the last few months since August last year prove that beyond doubt.

The popular vote is not an accurate measure of right and just. It never was. Truth cannot be voted in or out. It depends not on whether we believe it, like it or hate it. It just is.

You see if you and I start differing on the nature of truth itself we lose any basis on which we can argue any case. You cannot battle on two complete different arenas in completely different worlds. Such a war has no beginning and definitely no end.

If justice is defined by the person who has the power, not having obtained that power justly, then justice itself loses meaning and authority.

And when those who do have the power to interpret and declare justice, that power being bestowed justly, are not allowed the freedom to do so without fear, favour or intimidation, where else can we go to inform ourselves of what is right and what is wrong.

How can we establish justice if we reject the institutions and the documents that were mandated to guide us through those questions?

Our nation, despite daily life going on as normal, was brought to its knees in its politics and its jurisprudence, as justice and truth, righteousness, and the law, were redefined to suit warring parties.

As in any sport the fight is unfair when one team does not play by the rules. No matter how popular that team is, it is not entitled to win if it does not follow the rules.

Regardless of how popular Mike Tyson was with the crowd, biting Evander Holyfield’s ear wasn’t within the rules; and so Tyson was disqualified and de-licensed. Should it have been let go because Tyson was popular?

Should we let it go because it is the popular sentiment? Or shall we return to the rule of law now? Shall we seek to enforce it and establish justice once again?

Shall we restore the authority of the Constitution so that in future we can still aspire to create a law-abiding society?

God knows we need such a society.

God Bless Papua New Guinea.


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Ganjiki D Wayne

Thank you Ludmilla, David and Barbara...

I love justice. And I hope justice is served. I hope we see a proper restoration of the properly instituted authorities and the Constitution.

I will be very sad if everything is swept under the carpet.

Heavenise day.

Mrs Barbara Short

Well said, Ludmilla. Yes, this is an excellent exposition on why the rule of law is important.

But I still blame things on "PNG Time"! Something happened in August which was probably "unlawful".

But before that Somare had gone off to hospital in Singapore and there were probably no laws to cover the situation in which PNG was placed. His family said he was retiring. He was said to be "dying". He probably nearly died a few times.

The lawyers should have stepped in during those times and explained "the rules" for that situation. But PNG time came in to play and nothing appropriate was said by those who could study the rules and work out what needed to be done.

The parliament was obviously not working without "the boss". Something had to be done.

The members of parliament saw that they could regroup and form a strong capable government. Reg Renagi wrote some good things about it. Sadly they didn't do it in the "legal" way.

The parliament seemed to be working better and people were pleased with what O'Neill was saying.

PNG time set in and nothing was explained clearly straight away about what was not done properly by the law.

Time passed, then the law makers were finally saying things.

The parliamentarians, who are not trained in law, then had fun trying to make it legal by moving various acts of parliament. etc.

During this time Somare "rose from the dead" and came back wanting to resume his old seat and position in parliament. Many were sick of the corruption that he had allowed to go on during his rule and they thought they were finished with him and didn't want him back in any shape or form.

Finally the lawyers started speaking. They started saying that the parliamentarians had broken the "laws" in what they had done in August and Somare was still the Prime Minister.

Shock, horror!

But Peter O'Neill stood his ground.

Somehow or another, despite all the chaotic things that have gone on e.g. the army man who tried to have a "coup", the PNG politicians have tried to work things out in a peaceful PNG way.

Now we have an election coming up and hopefully there will be a new lot of parliamentarians.

Hopefully the lawyers will speak up quickly if they see the parliamentarians doing something which breaks the laws of the land. i.e. the constitution. But they must do it quickly - not in PNG time!

David Kitchnoge

Thanks Ganjiki for this excellent voice of reason.

Well reasoned and explained. Anyone who cares for PNG must support this call by Ganjiki. We cannot afford to be indifferent about this issue.

Righting the wrongs and reasserting the authority of our Constitution must be the next government's number one business.

Gail Edoni

Thanks GG for your concise and as usual, thoughtful article on why we need the rule of law in our nation. We all need to be reminded of our own personal integrity in this issue - from obeying the road rules to the bigger picture of abiding by the rule of law at all levels. Keep writing so that we will continue to be challenged.

Ludmilla Isalonda

Thank you for this excellent exposition on why the rule of law is all we’ve got if we as a nation of multiple latent and not so latent fault lines are to hold together.

Reading this I am reminded of what happens in William Golding’s novel “The Lord of the Flies”.

If there is any voice of reason speaking on the importance of the rule of law in a civilized society in the O’Neill-Namah camp, we are not hearing it.

We certainly have amongst the group an egomaniacal character who would rather resort to power, violence and pretty soon if not contained, descend into savagery, just like the character Jack in the novel.

The whole of “camp Jack” doesn’t deserve the privilege national leadership again.

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