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Voters begin to realise politics is more than Nere Tere

MathiasMATHIAS KIN

I understand that Mathias is contemplating standing for parliament in next year’s national election. Along with Governor Gary Juffa (and his ‘Take Back PNG’ campaign), Planning Minister Charles Abel, Jeffrey Febi, Justin Parker, Sam Basil, Kerenga Kua, Dr Allan Marat, Timothy Masiu, Ken Fairweather and other likely candidates yet to be revealed to me, Mathias represents a new breed of Papua New Guinean politician determined to change the country for the better – KJ

I HAVE never heard of a born again politician in Papua New Guinea’s parliament. All the seemingly good guys join the crowd of no goods, except for a very few like Governor Garry Juffa.

In the highlands we have a phenomenon that comes around every election time. In the south Simbu tokples Its called Nere Tere which means "I eat, then I vote for you".

It's a misapplication of the traditional highlands bigman ways of handling power.

These days, businessmen wanting to enter politics pay huge amounts of money to be elected and the hundreds of promotional parties they offer voters see them purchase thousands of kina worth of pigs and frozen goods.

The people roam from one campaign house to the next taking advantage of this largesse. And the candidates allow it.

They know that, under the limited preferential system of voting, second and third choices can be vital to winning. So such behaviour is accepted.

Years back, when the first past the post system was used, tribal feuds could arise when supporters changed allegiance.

All that said, I strongly believe that our people have come to perceive the bad side of politics - especially after the excesses of the last two regimes; first that of Somare and even worse I n O'Neill's term.

I believe there have been enough lessons and that we will see some changes in voting patterns in 2017.

This will not be a quick answer to our continuing problem of choosing good leaders at the polls, but we will make progress.

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Michael Dom

"Change requires more than righteous anger. Change is the effort of committed citizens who hitch their wagons to something bigger than themselves and fight for it every single day".

President Barack Obama - speech to Howard University 2016 graduates [at 40:42 minutes]

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