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04 January 2016


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Elections in Papua New Guinea are a most expensive activity. The budget is increasing every year. Is this healthy for PNGs future.

The short answer - no.

The long answer - not yet.

Francis posed a question as “Is it possible that PNG can have a free & fair election in 2017?” yet already he had ventured a credible step toward an affirmative response, in proposing “Let us explain to the people that their vote is precious”.

Undoubtedly other supportive answers and processes will help if to achieve free & fair election in 2017.

Francis reports on status of electoral probability in PNG as quite a way short of his desire for electoral process and outcome. His recounting of an alleged monetary inducement, is sharp in its focus, but only one among many that he begins also to list.

Reading these reminded me of a list (or as some would say, litany) set forth by poet T S Elliot in the well-acclaimed “Journey of the Magi”. The theme is topical for the twelfth day of Christmas, January 6th, for followers of the Western Christian tradition.

Elliot poses possibility of reflection by (at least one of) those Magi, having returned from experience of Bethlehem and journeying. Elliot’s wrote “…no longer at ease here, in the old dispensation…”

For each PNG voter, what will be the eureka day? When epiphany? Or transforming ‘game-change’? What surprise of delight, expediency, fulfilment will enable individual trust to embrace not only the allegiance of clan collective and customary civility? Will it be in models of leadership and credibility? Elsewhere in PNG Attitude contributions, there is allegation of persons in robes robbing (as it were) the faithful of their credence. And anecdotes abound of elected office-holders lacking but not in lust.

Presentation by Dr Andrew Moutu points to disparity at least of knowledge in a societal sense. Rather than ask him to recast his descriptors, question is of ‘who shall arise to teach, who shall arouse and reach, who shall argue the breach, and engage every voter’? Moutu arrays arise, arouse and attest.

Can the quest of Francis be resolved as soon as 2017, or will it just take longer?

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