Government & politics Feed

We've heard the rhetoric – now plan & execute

Dream plan executeSIMON DAVIDSON

SONOMA - From James Marape’s maiden political discourse emerged two critical enablers for achieving the dream to ‘Take Back PNG’: a workable plan and bold action

Every politician and statesman makes grandiose speeches presenting compelling narratives of an attractive and prosperous future for their nation.

They reveal to the people a vision that looks bright and seems achievable. A vision, of course, is not about the present but the future.

Continue reading "We've heard the rhetoric – now plan & execute" »


Unity in diversity: why we’re still together 44 years on

James Marape
James Marape - "Let's show the world that Melanesian consensus can provide answers to PNG's internal problems"

JAMES MARAPE MP
| Edited extract from an address by prime minister Marape to the Bougainville House of Representatives, Wednesday 11 September

BUKA – Forty-four years ago, we claimed independence from colonial rule over our land and resources.

Yet some legacies and shackles we still try to get out of today show that both Papua New Guinea and Bougainville are not truly independent in terms of economic strength.

Continue reading "Unity in diversity: why we’re still together 44 years on" »


Time to crack down on MPs stealing public funds

Dsip
Hand-outs to politicians for development purposes are being abused and need to be abolished say Cathoic bishop - and many other people

ERIC SCHERING

MICHIGAN, USA - The District Services Improvement Program (DSIP) and Provincial Services Improvement Program (PSIP) are both valued highly by members of parliament in Papua New Guinea because they allow MPs considerable discretion in how the money is used.

For the last several years I’ve been paying particular attention to this DSIP and PSIP spending.

While DSIP and PSIP have great potential for development at the same time both programs can suck MPs into corruption.

Continue reading "Time to crack down on MPs stealing public funds" »


O’Neill continues to deceive on district funding

Peter O'Neill
Peter O'Neill has been been exaggerating the value of funding he provided for district development

ERIC SCHERING

MICHIGAN, USA - Former prime minister Peter O’Neill seems slow to understand the implications of the reality that he is no longer the leader of Papua New Guinea.

He thinks that when new prime minister James Marape attempts to pass legislation that he disagrees with, that he can tell the untruths he was able to get away with during his seven years in power.

Continue reading "O’Neill continues to deceive on district funding" »


Mountain of allegations about MRDC scandal

Mekere Morauta (2)
Sir Mekere Morauta - New revelations affirm prime minister Marape’s decision to hold an inquiry into MRDC

SIR MEKERE MORAUTA

PORT MORESBY - New information about the scandal-plagued Mineral Resources Development Corporation has become available, reinforcing the urgent need for an inquiry into its operations and the status of the hundreds of millions of kina it manages on behalf of landowner companies.

There is now a mountain of allegations about MRDC and its landowner subsidiaries. I expect that in the coming weeks more will be revealed about their dubious activities and the real value of the investments they have made, purportedly in the interest of landowners.

Continue reading "Mountain of allegations about MRDC scandal" »


Can PNG become the 'richest black Christian nation on earth'?

Black Christian Countries (Source Devpolicy Blog)
Black Christian Countries (Source: Devpolicy Blog)

ANDREW KORYBKO | Eurasia Future

MOSCOW - The new prime minister of Papua New Guinea only entered office a few months ago after a long-running political scandal led to the resignation of his predecessor, Peter O'Neill.

But he’s already making waves with his ambitious vision of turning this resource-rich but poverty-stricken island country into “the richest black Christian nation on earth”.

James Marape made his Trump-like nationalist proclamation in late July during his visit to Australia, which was his first foreign trip since assuming his position.

Here he also spoke about his plan of one day “participating with Australia looking after smaller island nations”.

Continue reading "Can PNG become the 'richest black Christian nation on earth'?" »


Marape election faces challenge in PNG supreme court this month

Pruaitch
Patrick Pruaitch will go to PNG supreme court - apparently still sore at the failure of his tactics to deny James Marape's election as prime minister

SONALI PAUL | Reuters | Edited

MELBOURNE - Papua New Guinea’s supreme court will hear a challenge to the election of prime minister James Marape, a lawyer for opposition leader Patrick Pruaitch, who has taken the matter to court, said on Friday.

The case, set for Friday 20 September, adds to political turmoil that has delayed progress on two important resources projects in PNG this year: a K30 billion plan to double its gas exports, led by Exxon Mobil Corp and Total SA, and plans to build a major new gold mine, Wafi-Golpu, led by Newcrest Mining.

The PNG parliament elected Marape as prime minister in May, when his predecessor Peter O’Neill quit after losing support from his own party over a range of grievances, including a gas deal with France’s Total.

Continue reading "Marape election faces challenge in PNG supreme court this month" »


Kramer explains reasons for Tokura-Manning RPNGC switch

David Manning
David Manning, whose replacement of Francis Tokura as acting police commissioner has created a few waves

BRYAN KRAMER MP | Minister for Police | Edited extracts

PORT MORESBY – This week the National Executive Council (NEC) revoked the appointment of Acting Police Commissioner Francis Tokura and appointed Acting Deputy Commissioner (Operations) David Manning in his place.

The reason behind this decision was twofold.

Firstly, to reinstate Mr Tokura to his substantive position as Deputy Police Commissioner for Bougainville to oversee the preparation and conduct of the Bougainville referendum in November.

Last week, member for South Bougainville Timothy Masiu raised an issue on the floor of Parliament over the decision to remove Mr Tokura as the head of Police on Bougainville, placing him as the Acting Commissioner for Police.

Continue reading "Kramer explains reasons for Tokura-Manning RPNGC switch" »


Plans for a coup against Marape led me to join the government

Bird Juffa
Governor Allan Bird and Governor Gary Juffa - two eminent independent politicians join the Marape government

GOVERNOR ALLAN BIRD | My Land, My Country

WEWAK - To my beloved Sepik people, I make this explanation because I am accountable to you all.

When the [political] events of 2011 came about, I was outspoken against it. Since 2011, the economic climate in Papua New Guinea has continued to deteriorate at an alarming rate.

The East Sepik Provincial Government was particularly punished from 2011–17 because of the position taken by Sir Michael Somare.

Our grants were cut consistently by more than 80% during that period. This was unjust, uncalled for and vicious way to treat the Sepik people.

I stood against People’s National Congress [the part of Peter O’Neill] and it’s vindictive and punitive practice and policies in 2017 and won elections on that basis.

Over the past two years we fought the PNC government. During the vote of no confidence, we tried to depose PNC with the help of the Marape splinter group.

We worked hard to remove PNC. Things didn’t work out well but we kept pushing.

Continue reading "Plans for a coup against Marape led me to join the government" »


Marape sacks ‘negative influence’ O’Neill & PNC

O'Neill Marape
Happier Days! Peter O'Neill and James Marape were the closest political colleagues. No more.

STATEMENT BY JAMES MARAPE MP
| Prime Minister of Papua New Guinea

PORT MORESBY - It is after careful consideration that I announce the decommissioning of Hon Richard Maru as a Minister of State.

Regrettably, this comes as a result of ongoing collaboration with parliamentary leader of PNC Party Hon Peter O’Neill - as well as key leaders in opposition including Hon Patrick Pruaitch and Hon Belden Namah - to actively undermine the Marape-Steven government.

After 89 days in office, it has become clear to the Pangu Party I co-lead that we need to break free of the PNC Party and its negative influence.

The Take Back PNG agenda requires a unified team of like-minded leaders, and it is now clear that this requires freedom for Pangu to lead with its new and bold identity.

Continue reading "Marape sacks ‘negative influence’ O’Neill & PNC" »


PNG needs principled leaders to guide us to a better state

SIMON DAVIDSON

SONOMA - Cultivating leaders with moral principles is a societal responsibility to fill the leadership void in every age.

The story of Daniel in the Bible provides a template for how leaders with moral principles can be cultivated, to become a beacon and a moral force in a world washed in moral decay.

Another historic example who fits this mold is Abraham Lincoln who was raised in humble circumstances, developed a passion to learn and taught himself law, philosophy, rhetoric and mathematics.

One of the many books Lincoln devoured was the Bible, and the precepts found in that ancient book transformed and elevated him to become the president of America. His most memorable speech - the Gettysburg address – opens with a quote from Psalm 90.

The lives of these two moral giants show that leaders with principles can be cultivated.

Continue reading "PNG needs principled leaders to guide us to a better state" »


Law & order must be nambawan priority of government: Ipatas

DANIEL KUMBON

WABAG - If there is one thing Enga governor Sir Peter Ipatas wants to see happen in Enga Province, it is to see his people prosper in a peaceful environment.

He would like many tourists to come annually to events like this Friday’s Enga Cultural Show or to major sporting events like the recent rugby match between Easts Tigers and PNG Hunters in the Queensland Intrust Super Cup completion.

The promotion of tourism is now one of the major policies of the Enga Provincial Government and it aims to promote peace in the province and enable the people to tap into the lucrative tourism industry.

Governor Ipatas has personally involved himself in bringing in visitors like birdwatchers and people who wanted to see how traditional salt was made at Mulisos Yokonda Salt ponds near Sirunki.

Continue reading "Law & order must be nambawan priority of government: Ipatas" »


Let's try to work out who the authentic politicians are

Marape Morrison
James Marape and Scott Morrison - what image do they want us to see? And how closely does it relate to the real leader?

PHIL FITZPATRICK

TUMBY BAY – Keith’s now in London and getting a first hand experience of Britain’s transition to the rule of Boris Johnson and it will be interesting to watch how Boris the new prime minister progresses.

I'm not quite sure what image of himself he is trying to project and what he hopes will capture the minds of the credulous voters of the United Kingdom.

It is also still a mystery what sort of image Papua New Guinea’s James Marape is trying to project.

On the one hand he is trying to establish himself as someone who will not tolerate being leaned on by Australia while he has also projected an image of a transparent communicator with a strong bias against corruption.

I don't think anyone since Michael Somare has managed to manufacture a persona with such wide appeal in PNG and I'm not sure Marape (unlike Bryan Kramer for instance) has the charisma to do it.

One of the most appealing aspects of Michael Somare, at least when he was younger, was that he would actually answer questions put to him. This was very refreshing and quite unusual. He was a bit like Bob Hawke in this respect.

Continue reading "Let's try to work out who the authentic politicians are" »


James Marape’s quest to finally decolonise Papua New Guinea

Marape
James Marape - ridding Papua New Guinea of corruption is one of his major goals

PHIL FITZPATRICK

TUMBY BAY - In 2005, the late Ulli Beier published ‘Decolonising the Mind’, an account of his time as a lecturer at the University of Papua New Guinea between 1967 and 1971.

The book was published by Pandanus Books, established in 2001 by the Research School of Pacific and Asian Studies at the Australian National University and eventually discontinued in 2006 following budget cuts.

While it existed Pandanus was a prolific publisher of, among other things, Papua New Guinean matters for both an academic and general readership.

Its demise cut off a valuable tool for furthering an understanding of the Papua New Guinean and Australian relationship.

Continue reading "James Marape’s quest to finally decolonise Papua New Guinea" »


Governments we deserve, but not governments we need

Scott Morrison and James Marape
Scott Morrison and James Marape - beanie clad and doing the populist footie thing

CHRIS OVERLAND

ADELAIDE – Strangely, while politicians as a class are seriously on the nose across the democratic world, individual politicians appear to remain popular within their own electorates, even if they clearly are not people of the highest moral or ethical character.

The former Australian deputy prime minister Barnaby Joyce immediately springs to mind as an example of this.

Papua New Guinea has all too many examples of ethically-compromised politicians who remain very popular in their electorates. It must be the beer and lamb flaps effect at work.

More pragmatically, I put this phenomenon down to the fact that politicians, in their day to day work, spend a lot of time helping ordinary people navigate the labyrinthine byways of the government bureaucracy, thus building a reservoir of goodwill that they can draw upon when elections come around.

Continue reading "Governments we deserve, but not governments we need" »


Kramer investigated for cyber-bullying. But is Mr Kalaut serious?

Kalaut
Sylvester Kalaut - looks like overzealous assistant police commissioner is on wrong side of the law

BRYAN KRAMER

PORT MORESBY – About a week ago, The National newspaper published an article under the headline, ‘Kramer Investigated on Allegations of Cyber-Bullying’.

The article, authored by Clifford Faiparik, reported that assistant police commissioner Sylvester Kalaut had confirmed that I, as police minister, was being investigated on allegations of cyber-bullying.

The allegations related to a Madang-based National news reporter who filed a complaint against me in June 2018 in relation to an article I had published on social media.

The article was critical of her biased reporting and having been paid K3,000 from district development grants by the former Member for Madang.

It appears Mr Kalaut has found himself on the wrong side of this issue. Perhaps he should have first taken the time to investigate what the law defines as cyber-bullying.

Continue reading "Kramer investigated for cyber-bullying. But is Mr Kalaut serious?" »


Housing Corporation: Ending decades of shameless corruption

NHC HQSCOTT WAIDE | My Land, My Country

LAE - Finally, there is government acknowledgment of the corruption and disarray in the National Housing Corporation.

Since taking office, housing minister Justin Tkatchenko has exposed what the organisation looks like from the inside. Its physical state is an absolute mess and a national embarrassment of the highest order.

The suggestion box should have been named ‘buai spet box’ and the NHC office should have been renamed ‘ofis blo kekemanmeri.’

The NHC has absolutely nothing to be proud of.

Continue reading "Housing Corporation: Ending decades of shameless corruption" »


Kramer writes of threats, false arrests & intimations of mortality

Bryan Kramer & police
Police minister Bryan Kramer on cleaning up the force - "No question of doubt that I will eventually get killed for what I do"

BRYAN KRAMER | Kramer Report

PORT MORESBY – Over the last few days I have been receiving intelligence reports from within political circles, police and security forces that there are plans to have me arrested and charged.

Certain high ranking officers within the police force are planning my arrest acting on complaint by former prime minister Peter O'Neill, including a complaint filed by a journalist in Madang who, in June 2018, I exposed for being paid public funds by the former member of parliament.

So there can be no question of doubt, if certain members of the police force wish to bring charges against me, it is their constitutional right to do so, provided of course they have sufficient grounds based on credible evidence.

For the record, I won't be going into hiding or running to court to seek restraining orders, which has been the practice of some members of parliament in the past.

Continue reading "Kramer writes of threats, false arrests & intimations of mortality" »


Women’s road to parliament can start with 50% of the bureaucracy

Tanya Zeriga-Alone
Tanya Zeriga Alone - "Hard to change men stuck in a culture that dictates women have no space in decision-making"

TANYA ZERIGA ALONE | Em Nau PNG Blog

PORT MORESBY - It was just 80 years ago that the hausman [men’s house] ruled.

Some of those men have just transitioned from the village hausman to the national hausman, also known as our parliament.

In Papua New Guinea’s paternalistic society, no woman sits in the hausman with the men.

This current generation of women is just one generation removed from PNG’s cultural past, and women in this age and time are still bound to the cultural roles of women, no matter how educated they are.

It is hard to fix culturally indoctrinated women and men. The present push to get women into parliament has never worked in the past – it is hard to liberate women who still live beneath the shadows of a culture of deferral to men.

It is hard to change men who are still stuck in a culture that dictates that women have no space in decision-making.

Our hope for change is in the next generation. Our hope rests on our girls and boys.

Continue reading "Women’s road to parliament can start with 50% of the bureaucracy" »


UBS loan was a crap deal – except perhaps for the facilitators

B&w Overland
Chris Overland - "Politicians are generally crap at making business decisions; PNG has lost money it should never have lost"

CHRIS OVERLAND

ADELAIDE – The UBS bank of Switzerland has pointed out that the multi-billion kina loan to the Papua New Guinea government to buy Oil Search shares was made according to relevant laws and in conformance with normal business and banking practice.

To the best of my knowledge, no-one is accusing UBS of acting unlawfully (at least, not yet).

The real point at issue here is that UBS essentially facilitated a K4 billion bet by the O'Neill government that the price of oil and gas and hence the value of its investment, would go up not down.

At that time, I - and many other critics of the decision to buy shares in Oil Search using public funds - pointed out that the price of oil and gas was at historic highs and thus inflating the price of the shares being purchased to a level that did not reflect their underlying long term value.

We also pointed out that the downside risks of such a manifestly speculative investment in the volatile energy market were very high, so the likelihood of PNG losing a lot of money was also very high.

Now, six years later, the critics have been proved correct and PNG has lost money that it should never have lost.

Continue reading "UBS loan was a crap deal – except perhaps for the facilitators" »


Providing police housing is a Marape government priority

Police Minister Bryan Kramer and chairman of Nambawan Super chairman Anthony Smare
Police Minister Bryan Kramer and chairman of Nambawan Super Anthony Smare - hundreds of new homes for the police

BRYAN KRAMER | Kramer Report.

PORT MORESBY - While members of the police force have received much lip service over the years to address on-going housing issues, this will be a priority issue under the new Marape-Steven government.

My office has already commenced discussions with Anthony Smare, chairman of Papua New Guinea’s largest superannuation fund, Namabwan Super, on developing a strategy in partnership

Mr Smare explained that Namabawan Super has plans to build 3,000 plus houses at 9 Mile in Port Moresby, a project I hope the government will buy into, providing over 1,000 houses to members of the police force and their families.

In addition to the government housing component, we also discussed establishing a police home ownership scheme where officers who have served 10-15 years will qualify for home ownership at cost.

There is no point in the government providing police housing only to kick retired officers on to the street without any recognition of their service to the country.

Continue reading "Providing police housing is a Marape government priority" »


Interesting moves by a fresh prime minister. We wish him well

James Marape
James Marape’s new course for Papua New Guinea is laudable but its grandiosity has a touch of the unbelievable

PHIL FITZPATRICK

TUMBY BAY - Papua New Guinean politics has always been interesting to watch.

For anyone brought up under the Westminster system of government with its adversarial politics and strict rules of process what goes on in Papua New Guinea can appear both bizarre and quixotic.

On the one hand its politics conforms to the Westminster ideal but on the other it seems to owe much more to traditional clan politics.

Mixed in there too is an element of patronage and corruption imported directly from Asia.

This potpourri has now been stretched even further from the realms of possibility by the recent musical chairs surrounding the sidelining of Peter O’Neill.

Continue reading "Interesting moves by a fresh prime minister. We wish him well" »


O’Neill's end brought forth the good; now call puppets to account

Kua
Kerenga Kua has never been politically disloyal or a yoyo in the many indecisive moments of PNG politics. He’s a steady, no-nonsense man

JIMMY AWAGL

KUNDIAWA – It was a lively session on the floor of parliament before the election of Papua New Guinea’s eighth prime minister a few weeks ago.

One little remarked aspect of the controversy was Madang governor Peter Yama’s words to Kerenga Kua, member for Sinesine Yongomugl in Simbu and now petroleum minister.

The remarks have drawn widespread conjecture and condemnation, especially in Simbu. from many people, where people are questioning the integrity of Yama in calling Kua a ‘liklik mangi’ [little boy] in Pidgin.

Personal interest too often ruins the public interest. Even in the heated situation of a stressful parliamentary sitting, Yama should have shown the patience of a mature leader and representative of the people of Madang.

However, he egotistically levelled this derisive remark at his political rival, Kua, who without hesitation branded him as a political puppet.

Kua took the phrase ‘liklik mangi’ as no more than political rubbish from an ant speaking on behalf of floundering prime minister Peter O’Neill as the curtains were being drawn on the previous regime.

Continue reading "O’Neill's end brought forth the good; now call puppets to account" »


How decentralised funding became decentralised corruption

Jeffrey Febi
Jeff Febi - "If corruption was bad in Port Moresby, at district level it was worse. If corruption was secretive in Port Moresby, in the district it was in plain sight"

JEFFREY FEBI

LUFA - Over the years, successive Papua New Guinea governments did well in decentralising power from Waigani.

The establishment of District Development Authorities signified the completion of the decentralisation process, and also showed that the distribution mechanism for funds was ready to roll.

Disbursements of K10 million each year to the districts was the highlight of decentralisation.

These funds not only enabled districts to implement their development goals without having to face the Waigani bureaucracy, it also gave them financial power and, ultimately, the freedom to choose and fund projects and deliver services according to home-grown plans.

With this freedom and power, rather unfortunately, followed endless impairments of virtue and moral principles.

The K10 million became everyman's object of envy: district government officials, local businessmen, village leaders, church pastors, recent graduates, and village illiterates. In fact every Tom, Dick and Harry.

Continue reading "How decentralised funding became decentralised corruption" »


PNG’s fluid politics: winners & losers from O’Neill to Marape

Figure 1
How members of parliament voted in the first five months of 2019

MICHAEL KABUNI | Devpolicy Blog | Edited extracts

PORT MORESBY – Papua New Guinea politics is fluid. In January 2019 the government voted to adjourn parliament with 88 votes to the opposition’s 23).

On 10 April 2019, James Marape resigned as minister for finance as well as a member of the People’s National Congress (PNC) party led by O’Neill.

Joining the opposition, he was nominated to replace prime minister Peter O’Neill in a vote of no confidence when parliament met on 7 May 2019.

Marape was later followed by 26 other MPs who either resigned as PNC members or left the coalition and joined the opposition, increasing numbers to 50.

Continue reading "PNG’s fluid politics: winners & losers from O’Neill to Marape" »


Kramer says he won't fire Baki. That's cabinet's job, he says

Kramer Baki
On his first day as police minister this week, Bryan Kramer receives a briefing from police commissioner Gary Baki - their relationship has often been frosty

NEWS DESK | Radio New Zealand

AUCKLAND - Papua New Guinea's new police minister Bryan Kramer says he wants to address the attitude problem which he links to the force's disciplinary problems.

Kramer is aiming to improve the constabulary's working relationship with a public which he said often fears police more than criminals.

He said it hadn't helped that the force has been politicised over the years.

"When you put on a police uniform, there's a degree of power and respect that comes with that uniform. And it becomes very easy to abuse it. And that has been the problem with the police force," Kramer said.

"There's been ill-discipline and very little accountability in members of the force. So, I'm hoping to change that attitude."

Kramer is also aiming to review the way the country's troubled constabulary is funded.

Continue reading "Kramer says he won't fire Baki. That's cabinet's job, he says" »


O’Neill’s 8 years: achievements insufficient to counter mistakes

Oneill
Peter O'Neill - tipped out of office with the economy "bleeding and struggling"

STEPHEN HOWES | Devpolicy Blog

CANBERRA - Peter O’Neill was Papua New Guinea’s second longest serving prime minister, and by a long way.

He was prime minister from 2011 to 2019, about one-fifth of the country’s history as an independent country.

He may well remain a political force, and even be a future prime minister. But for now at least his term of office is over.

How should we assess it? Certainly, no other individual has so dominated the pages of the Devpolicy Blog, which I have co-edited since its inception in 2010.

Indeed, the pages of our blog provide a rich source of materials on which to base an assessment of O’Neill’s long tenure. In what follows, I focus on domestic policy, the importance of the 2013 O’Neill-Rudd Manus agreement notwithstanding.

Continue reading "O’Neill’s 8 years: achievements insufficient to counter mistakes" »


Uphold laws, live in harmony & achieve prosperity, says Marape

JAMES MARAPE MP | Prime Ministerial Statement

James Marape
James Marape - "We want peaceful and law-abiding citizens who can contribute to nation-building"

PORT MORESBY – I am motivated by leaders who refuse to accept money to see change and good governance.

They are offered money, they are offered jobs but they stick to their commitment for the good of the people and country.

I appeal to Papua New Guineans, the least you can do is to respect your children, the girls and women amongst us.

You respect society by living peacefully, respecting each other despite our ethnic differences, our political differences, our religious differences.

You will realise where we are. We need greater incursion into how we harvest our natural resources.

Many of our corporate citizens will feel a little bit doubtful, will feel a little bit intimidated, a little bit insecure. But you must not feel that way.

Continue reading "Uphold laws, live in harmony & achieve prosperity, says Marape" »


Test of a constitution & a civilisation: Take-outs from a palace coup

James Marape
Marape’s rise to power was made possible due to the need for change and the opportunity for like–minded leaders to get behind him. This peaceful  political change is a plus for the country’s democracy.

BONIFACE KAIYO

PORT MORESBY -Clearly, many factors are involved to bring about a palace coup, which is defined as a non-violent coup d'état carried out by people in positions of authority who themselves are part of the ruling regime.

James Marape’s rise to power was made possible due to the conditions amenable to political change that prevailed at the time he won office, an act he justified in highbrow terms designed to appeal to the emotions and patriotism of the public.

A threatened no confidence vote in Peter O’Neill was set to dethrone both him and his People’s National Congress. But O’Neill opted to resign as prime minister as the numbers against him grew.

For 50 days effective government was impossible. The legitimacy of the state was at stake.

Continue reading "Test of a constitution & a civilisation: Take-outs from a palace coup" »


Marape appoints 3 opposition MPs to new PNG ministry

Bryan Kramer
Bryan Kramer (centre) waits for the announcement of his new portfolio this morning

KEITH JACKSON

BRISBANE - Prime Minister James Marape has ‘reached across the aisle’ to appoint three leading figures in Papua New Guinea's opposition to key posts in his new ministry.

And former deputy prime minister and treasurer Charles Abel has been demoted and lost his senior position to Steven Davis, the member for Esa'ala of Milne Bay Province.

The outspoken Madang MP, Bryan Kramer, has been appointed to the tricky portfolio of Police, central to addressing PNG's chronic law and order problems and a post which will demand all his skills.

A huge cheer went up when his appointment, which had been widely anticipated, was announced.  

Kerenga Kua, the Simbu MP who did not vote for Marape in the leadership ballot, has been appointed to the key economic ministry of Petroleum, and Wabag MP Dr Lino Tom receives the Fisheries and Marine Resources portfolio.

The appointments show that Marape was prepared to both to reach out to political opponents and use merit as a key selection criterion in his ministry.

Meanwhile long-serving foreign affairs minister Rimbink Pato, a strong O'Neill supporter, has been dropped from the ministry altogether and Sam Basil has been appointed in the lower reaches of the ministry as responsible for the treasury.

Continue reading "Marape appoints 3 opposition MPs to new PNG ministry" »


On campaigning, strategy & social media in PNG politics

Kramer ReportKEITH JACKSON

PORT MORESBY – During the recent Australian election campaign, the Labor Party twirled haplessly around the issue of north Queensland coal mining, convincing nobody about where it actually stood on the issue.

And it went on to lose an election it was meant to win, a win which the tropical constituency might have provided had only Labor adopted a more strategic and coherent position.

It might have had a winning election strategy if it had understood the precept that, if you take something away from people without giving them something back, you’re going to end up in deep doo-doo. As Labor did.

In Australia’s deep north, in people’s minds what being taken away was jobs and the strategic reciprocal really should have been a big, job-creating renewables project. But, like Labor, this ended up nowhere to be seen.

Continue reading "On campaigning, strategy & social media in PNG politics" »


Marape’s pledge of hope & reassurance to the people of PNG

James Marape bilas
James Marape in the traditional bilas (finery) of the Huli people

DANIEL KUMBON

PORT MORESBY – Papua New Guinea’s new prime minister James Marape is ready to fight crime and deep-rooted corruption in a country overburdened with billions of kina in foreign debt and poor delivery of basic services like health and education.

PNG’s eighth prime minister, Marape has been a member of parliament since 2011 and has held several important ministerial portfolios.

He did not mince his words in his maiden speech as he warned investors not to approach him, his ministers or public servants with bribes but to earn their money through honest hard work.

“Don’t offer inducements to me or any ministers or public servants,” he said.

Marape also warned public servants and politicians to earn their salary and not to ask for special favours from investors.

Continue reading "Marape’s pledge of hope & reassurance to the people of PNG" »


O’Neill says no one forced him out: ‘Decision was mine alone’

Peter O'Neill
Peter O'Neill - "Leaders are making false and self-serving statements trying to claim credit, when the reality is that they were themselves hungry for power"

KEITH JACKSON

PORT MORESBY – Ousted prime minister Peter O’Neill has said that his decision to resign was his own and in the interest of political stability.

Speaking for the first time since James Marape was selected by parliament to replace him, O’Neill said he had not resigned because of decisions made by certain other leaders.

“I chose the interests of political stability over political self-interest,” he said. “I made the decision to resign before I left for parliament on Wednesday morning and signed my letter of resignation.”

O’Neill spoke out after two former prime ministers yesterday claimed to have played a major part in his ouster.

Sir Julius Chan, earlier touted as his replacement, said his People’s Progress Part had played a pivotal role in getting O’Neill to resign.

Continue reading "O’Neill says no one forced him out: ‘Decision was mine alone’" »


Will Peter O’Neill’s defeat result in his political demise?

Peter o'neill downcastBUSA JEREMIAH WENOGO

PORT MORESBY – Over recent days much discussion in Papua New Guinea has centered around the dethronement of Peter O'Neill by James Marape as the country's prime minister.

This outcome was celebrated with much fanfare by many Papua New Guineans, including the opposition, with the latter stating this was one of their top priorities when they came together after the re-election of O'Neill in 2017.

Nevertheless the mood of excitement and relief quickly changed when it was reported Marape supposedly ‘teamed up’ with O'Neill.

Most people are now of the view that it will be ‘business as usual’ with O’Neill predicted to still maintain a significant influence in the new government.

Continue reading "Will Peter O’Neill’s defeat result in his political demise?" »


Marape’s explicit & wide-ranging commitment to PNG

Marape
On his way to work yesterday, Marape stopped his car at Hohola, walked to a disabled man, gently raising him to his feet and hugging him. The man, Thomas Pori Helo, was said to be a ‘diehard’ supporter. Even more now. This was not an unusual act of compassion by Marape

KEITH JACKSON

PORT MORESBY - Following James Marape’s election as prime minister, on Sunday he issued a declaration on Facebook that soon had the foreign media (and social media) agitating over just one phrase.

“Work with me,” he wrote, “to make PNG the Richest Black Christian Nation on earth.”

True, they were rather provocative words, and they were repeated in his statement, but there was more – much more – that Marape had to say.

And in that more was plenty for the rest of us, and indeed for the world beyond Papua New Guinea, to chew on.

But before I move to that, let me pause for a moment and be a bit grateful that PNG now has a prime minister willing to commit his thoughts, values and aspirations to social media.

Marape promises to continue to “communicate with the nation using this medium.”

I guess it’s inevitable he will attract the usual low life trolling, mocking, attacking and denigrating, but let’s hope he does manage to find the time and patience to communicate in this way.

It will make a big difference to both the governors and the governed to know what the prime minister has on his mind.

So what were the most significant ideas and issues Marape decided to open with?

First of all, he said he is up for change. There is no indication in the statement that he sees his role as anything other than a disconnect from the O’Neill era.

And in handing down a number of explicit commitments, he offered the PNG people a checklist by which he and his administration – now being formed - can be judged in the coming weeks and months.

Continue reading "Marape’s explicit & wide-ranging commitment to PNG" »


What do we mean by owning our economy?

Martyn
Martyn Namorong - "As I reflect on our leaders' messages, I look through the frame of Melanesian egalitarianism not western nationalism"

MARTYN NAMORONG

PORT MORESBY – Late last week Papua New Guinea heard great fiery statements from prime minister James Marape and Oro governor Gary Juffa about Taking Back PNG and owning our economy.

Both gentlemen seemed to signal the nation’s shift towards ‘resource nationalism’ — or at least that’s how western media has interpreted their Tok Pisin which was spoken in plain English.

Both parliamentarians reflected a public sentiment regarding economic independence that has lingered for decades amongst many Papua New Guineans.

As a left leaning writer and communicator, I found myself awkwardly worrying about how their words might affect foreign direct investment.

I mean, why should I worry about those foreign capitalists that have a history of exploiting my country?

But I also felt challenged as a Papua New Guinean writer to help my two compatriots communicate their message.

My perception of what was said is a call to Take Back PNG through our Papua New Guinean ways ( the fifth of our national goals) in order to achieve the third national goal and directive principle which calls for both political and economic independence.

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My message to prime minister James Marape

Scott Waide
Scott Waide - "Do what is right by the people.  Listen to their voices through social media. Be brave enough to listen to the criticisms and find the threads of truth in them"

SCOTT WAIDE | My Land, My Country

LAE - As the new prime minister, you have your work cut out for you.

You have to try to get a lot of it done within two years before the 2022 elections.

That’s a big job.

Do what is right by the people.  Listen to their voices through social media. Not all of it is fake news. 

Take counsel from those who disagree with you, publicly and privately, in the interest of your eight million people.  Be brave enough to listen to the criticisms and find the threads of truth in them.

Be truthful about the state of Papua New Guinea’s health system.  The people of Papua New Guinea deserve a Government that tells the truth. There is a severe shortage of medicine.

Puka Temu did a bad job and he did not admit to it as health minister.  Many of our aid posts are closed and our hospitals don’t have medicine.  Yet the media is accused of ‘being political’ when we highlight these ‘open secrets.’

Be truthful about tuition fee free education.  It’s not working for us. Our schools don’t get the money on time.  If we have to pay for school fees, tell that to the people straight as it is.  Papua New Guineans are resilient and hard working.  They do not deserve to be lied to.

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Achieved: The significant objective of removing O’Neill

James MarapeFRANCIS NII

KUNDIAWA - The political tussle in Papua New Guinea has at last reached its climax with the son of Tari Pori James Mara prevailing as the country’s new prime minister.

From yesterday, the new prime minister has been busy deciding his new ministry and his action priorities for getting government business going.

Although the game has been long and tough, and full of many twists and turns with some tactics deemed unethical, the ultimate goal has been achieved - the removal of prime minister Peter O’Neill.

The 24 members of the opposition team under the leadership of Patrick Pruaitch had embarked on a mission to fight the corruption eating into the fabric of the society.

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Marape questions PNG’s resource exploitation deals

James-Marape
James Marape being sworn in as new prime minister on Thursday (AFP/Vanessa Kerton)

NEWS DESK | AFP | Extract

PORT MORESBY - Former Papua New Guinea finance minister James Marape, elected as prime minister on Thursday, has immediately issued a nationalistic address that puts foreign resource companies on notice.

Marape threatened foreign logging companies and vowed to tweak resource laws that underpin a recently inked $13 billion gas deal with Total and ExxonMobil.

Hours after being elected, Marape told parliamentarians he does "not intend to chase away our investors" but insisted "our resource laws are outdated," a clear reference to the huge LNG project.

"Who says one conglomerate from outside will come and tell me I can change the law for my country?" he asked.

"I have every right to tweak and turn resource laws for my country," he said. "We will look into maximising gain from what God has given this country from all natural resources."

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James Marape is Papua New Guinea’s new prime minister

James Marape
James Marape is hugged by a supporter after his election yesterday

KATE LYONS | The Guardian

PORT MORESBY - Papua New Guinean politicians have chosen James Marape as the country’s new prime minister after a tumultuous few months in the country’s political life.

Marape, a former finance minister and sometime ally of the outgoing prime minister Peter O’Neill, was elected by MPs who voted overwhelmingly, 101 to eight, to make him the next leader.

Marape, the member for Tari-Pori in New Hela province was a key minister in O’Neill’s government and his defection from the government to the opposition camp in April accelerated O’Neill’s resignation from office.

For a time he was the opposition bloc’s candidate to replace O’Neill as prime minister, before he was beaten in a secret ballot to become opposition leader by Patrick Pruaitch earlier this week.

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New prime minister Marape installed in Papua New Guinea

PATRICK O'CONNOR | World Socialist Website

James-Marape-EMTVNews
James Marape (EMTV News)

 SYDNEY - After weeks of acute political turmoil, the parliament in Papua New Guinea yesterday voted by an overwhelming 101-8 to replace prime minister Peter O’Neill with former finance minister James Marape.

The country’s ruling coalition remains in place. Marape, who resigned last month over a natural gas deal and defected along with others to the opposition, returned to the government side along with his supporters.

As finance minister, Marape had a major hand in formulating the austerity measures imposed on working people.

O’Neill, in office since 2011, had announced last Saturday that he intended to step down, appointing as stand-in leader Julius Chan, parliamentarian and former prime minister between 1980-1982 and 1994-1997.

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Marape must look beyond his hausman to take back PNG

BUSA JEREMIAH WENOGO | PNG Informal Economist

PORT MORESBY - When Peter O'Neill accepted Patrick Pruaitch’s surprise nomination for the prime minister's post yesterday it dismayed everyone including James Marape.

Guided by recent political history and the latest developments in the political spectrum, Marape would have no doubt been reasonably confident of his nomination and eventual election as prime minister.

So the decision of O'Neill to accept the nomination would have shocked him and may even have changed his view of the former prime minister.

This is where I believe the opposition may have succeeded despite the fact that they did not achieve the desired outcome of electing their prime minister.

Continue reading "Marape must look beyond his hausman to take back PNG" »


A genuine alternative - or could it be just more of the same?

IncognitoERNST MUNDUA

PORT MORESBY - If and when Papua New Guinea’s ‘Alternate Government’ finally puts an end to the O’Neill regime, and it should be this morning, the celebrations could be short-lived.

Very serious questions need put to the opposition, which comprises two distinct political archetypes and presently holds a majority on the floor of parliament.

One is the original opposition – the Juffas, Birds, Kramers and others – which has steadfastly battled PNG’s institutionalised political and public sector corruption from a seemingly impossible minority starting point.

The second group comprises the opportunists – the Pruaitchs and Marapes – whose modus operandi is power (and money) and who are willing to float wherever the political wind takes them with acolytes in tow.

Continue reading "A genuine alternative - or could it be just more of the same?" »


Yesterday’s political change shows revolution has just begun

PON
Peter O'Neill "referred to Kramer as the Facebook prime minister. He forgot that Papua New Guineans populate Facebook and that they were behind his call for change"

BUSA JEREMIAH WENOGO

PORT MORESBY - Tuesday 28 May 2019 will remain one of the most memorable moments of my life.

It was the day I witnessed a turning point in Papua New Guinea’s political history.

It was a day on which the whole nation stood still.

The supermarkets, markets, alleys, roadsides and streets of Port Moresby were almost deserted.

In their homes, vehicles and tucker shops Papua New Guineans tuned into their TVs and radios to witness and hear the unfolding of events at parliament house.

It was something I had rarely seen and it was clear that Papua New Guineans anticipated a change.

Continue reading "Yesterday’s political change shows revolution has just begun" »


O'Neill forced to resign. Marape to be next prime minister

James Marape (2)
This morning James Marape is likely to become the next prime minister of Papua New Guinea

BRYAN KRAMER MP

PORT MORESBY - Today Prime Minister Peter O'Neill was forced to resign, announcing his resignation on the floor of Parliament.

Was it expected?

Short answer is yes.

I had expected the resignation to be next Thursday 6 June, the date the notice of motion was to be tabled and voted on.

Why?

Having no other option, and to avoid the humiliation of being voted out of office, I expected O'Neill would instead resign in an effort to dislodge the opposition's notice of motion.

Continue reading "O'Neill forced to resign. Marape to be next prime minister" »


O’Neill goes – not a trick this time, he saw the writing on the wall

Last supper
Peter O'Neill has a final meal with his closest supporters after he resigned his position of prime minister in Port Moresby today

KEITH JACKSON & SOURCES

BRISBANE - Papua New Guinea prime minister Peter O'Neill resigned this morning with a parliamentary vote for a new leader to be held tomorrow.

O’Neill told parliament today he had tendered his resignation to the governor-general but he will remain prime minister until a new prime minister is elected and sworn in.

O’Neill told parliament he delivered his letter of resignation to governor-general Sir Robert Dadae at 9.45am.

Left with no room to move, he said “we can deal with this matter once and for all. Once and for all.”

The resignation came after some futile attempts to save his leadership had failed and it became clear a confidence vote brought by a newly buoyant opposition would succeed.

On Monday O’Neill had backtracked on an earlier commitment to step down in order to buy time.

Relieved opposition MPs praised O’Neill for listening to the people and stepping down to allow new leadership.

“By your resignation today, you beat me and beat many of us and outclassing many of us to the view some of us have of you that you are power hungry,” said opposition MP James Marape, engaging in some celebratory hyperbole.

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PNG in constitutional chaos as O'Neill clings to minority rule

Peter O'Neill
Peter O'Neill this afternoon showed he is willing to trash democratic parliamentary process to cling on to power

KEITH JACKSON | Also with information from Scott Waide & sources

PORT MORESBY – The Papua New Guinea parliament ended in chaos yesterday afternoon after Speaker Job Pomat refused a motion from opposition leader Patrick Pruaitch to suspend standing orders and allow the house to vote to remove him.

It was clear when parliament resumed at 2pm that the opposition now has a majority on the floor of the house but prime minister Peter O'Neill is refusing to concede that this means the end of his control of parliament and of the country.

As soon as question time opened Pruaitch - who appears to likely to be the new prime minister if the opposition prevails - proposed a motion to remove Pomat as Speaker.

“There are a number of motions I intend to move. One of them is to challenge your position as Speaker of parliament,” Pruaitch said, seeking leave to move the motion.

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Expert team is working on alternate government policies

Michael Somare at policy meeting
Grand Chief Sir Michael Somare sits in at a policy meeting. At far left is former PNG chief justice and attorney-general, Sir Arnold Amet

MARTYN NAMORONG

PORT MORESBY - I know that a lot of people in Papua New Guinea and beyond are asking what the Alternate Government's policies will be.

It’s important to understand that we need to get into government, and that’s whereof our energy is going.

Any policy discussion at this stage is just hypothetical until the Alternate Government takes control of government.

So let’s put the horse before the cart: (1) form government; (2) announce policy.

Having said that, the Alternate Government does have a hard-working policy group led by Professor Misty Baloiloi.

Professor Baloiloi, who holds a PhD in strategic management, is chief of staff for the opposition and has over 30 years’ experience in university, public and private sectors, providing leadership in framing a number of PNG’s most important policies and plans.

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A new government must restore confidence in the law

Francis Nii (2)
Francis Nii - "Laws must be strong, respected, upheld and they must work fairly in the interests of every citizen"

FRANCIS NII

KUNDIAWA - Public confidence in the police force and judiciary as independent and impartial state agencies of the state has drastically declined under the leadership of Peter O’Neill.

Meddling in appointments and in the operations of the police and hard-to-understand decisions of the courts has raised serious doubts and mistrust in the minds of the people.

Increasingly the independence and integrity of the two institutions are being questioned.

As the political numbers game in the lead-up to a possible vote of no confidence intensifies and as a mass exodus occurs of government MPs to the opposition, prime minister Peter O’Neill had no choice but to relinquish his position.

Whether he actually does this in favour of Sir Julius Chan or thinks of some other escape tactic, it will be a last minute do-or-die manoeuvre for his own survival.

That O’Neill has not resigned but stepped down “for a few days” means he could resume his position anytime.

As of yesterday, the opposition had 63 members and the government 47. There were more defections expected from those who still remained in the government but the opposition said it had shut its doors to them.

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PNG in turmoil as opposition could overturn government today

Julius Chan and Peter O'Neill
The wily Peter O'Neill (right) has anointed Sir Julius Chan as his successor. The ageing New Ireland governor says, "There's been a huge misunderstanding"

KATE LYONS | The Guardian

SYDNEY - Papua New Guinea is braced for a political reckoning after a tumultuous week that has seen prime minister Peter O’Neill announce his resignation following high-level defections from his party.

On Sunday, O’Neill, who has been prime minister since 2011, told a news conference in Port Moresby that he would be resigning and handing over the leadership to Sir Julius Chan, himself a former prime minister, whom O’Neill described as one of the nation’s “founding fathers”.

However on Monday, in a twist typical of the opaque nature of PNG politics, Sir Julius said there had been “a huge misunderstanding” and that he was not acting prime minister, had not been appointed to a ministerial role and that “the existing prime minister has no power to nominate a new prime minister”.

“It is kind of funny,” said Sir Julius, who added that the position of prime minister was not one he was seeking.

“However, I love Papua New Guinea”, he said. “There is a desperate need right now to unite the country.”

Continue reading "PNG in turmoil as opposition could overturn government today" »