MADANG – Papua New Guinea’s deputy prime minister Charles Abel has gone on record in an interview with the Post Courier newspaper claiming he is not at all fazed by the looming vote of no confidence in Peter O’Neill.
“We [the government] are fully intact as far as I am concerned, the prime minister has our support,” Abel has said.
Really? If the government was really intact then why did it adjourn parliament until this month to avoid sitting during the first week of February, which has been the practice in the past.
The government is anything but intact. The real question is what are O'Neill, Abel and their foreign cronies, who have become millionaires on our people's tax money, doing to ensure they have the numbers to defeat a motion of vote of no confidence?
Abel claims the people gave the mandate to govern to the Peoples National Congress Party after the 2017 national general election.
“PNC Party got the mandate of the people and I think any incoming government after an election must continue to have the opportunity to govern," Abel is reported as saying.
“I don’t think changing governments or prime ministers and disturbing the mandate of the people is conducive to good governance.”
Wrong! PNC did not get the mandate of the people. PNC went into the 2017 general elections with 52 sitting members and endorsed a total of 93 candidates.
Of the 52 sitting MPs only 22 were re-elected representing a return of just 42%. And of 93 candidates endorsed, only 29 (32%) were elected.
These results are hardly a mandate of the people. A majority mandate would be returning 56 MPs not 29.
Further, independent international observers described the 2017 general election as marred by widespread violence, vote rigging and bribery, declaring it anything but free and fair.
The question is just how many seats would PNC have won if the election was free and fair - perhaps just 10, if any.
An interesting fact is that Abel lost support even in his own electorate. In 2012 Abel polled 15,000 votes; however in 2017 his vote dropped to 11,000. His primary vote dropped from 12,000 to 8,000.
With Abel’s praise of the purported achievements by PNC and the O’Neill government, one would think his voter base would be going forward not backwards.
The recent unrest and ongoing social issues facing Alotau suggest Abel is at serious risk of not being returned in 2022.
Now while some will say the same of issues facing Madang, the difference is I inherited the issues. I’ve been in office only one year of my first term, while Abel has been the Member for Alotau for 11 years. So there is no real excuse on his part.
Abel talks of good governance, well I believe Abel is confused between opportunity to govern with opportunity to steal.
O'Neill is known for everything but good governance. It is my view O'Neill will go down in the history as PNG's most corrupt prime minister.
Abel goes on to declare his unwavering support for prime minister O’Neill.
"The prime minister certainly has my support and our PNC Party is fully intact, we are not particularly fazed by vote of no confidence, it is part of politics and we just have to deal with them.”
One would understand Abel wouldn't support a change of government for starters, it would mean he would be stripped of his position as deputy prime minister and treasurer and may end up becoming politically irrelevant.
Meanwhile, the people have to deal with a flat-lining economy, record increases in the cost of living, increasing taxes, a hike in tertiary fees, little or no job prospects, hospitals without drugs, escalating law and order issues, and no payment of entitlements and allowances, to name a few.
Another issue of serious concern is Papua New Guineans forced to live in poverty and watch the influx of Chinese nationals, who arrive with nothing but a suitcase and end up as overnight millionaires on our resources and public funds thanks to stupid and corrupt politicians and government officials who are only too willing to award them inflated multi-million kina contracts.
Parliament will resume in eight days on 22 January. If Abel is of the view it would be wrong to disturb the people’s mandate, maybe it time to ask the people where their mandate lies.