Let’s change our election culture

JACKSON KIAKARI

Keith Jackson & Friends: PNG Attitude 05 May 2021

The Port Moresby North-West by-election – for the late Sir Mekere Morauta’s former seat – will be fought out between 39 candidates on Wednesday 2 June. In Papua New Guinea terms, it is an unusual electorate: 75% of the population is literate; people from all 22 provinces live there; and it covers most of the important government institutions in PNG, including parliament. Of course, PNG Attitude has no preferred candidate but I did find that this thoughtful article nailed one of the most critical problems in PNG politics and governance- KJ

PORT MORESBY – I am not against any candidate in this by-election or any future election. I’m not against any particular individual or group.

Jackson Kiakari – “Don’t vote for your wantok and expect our economy to be healthy. Elections concern our national welfare, not your haus lain agenda”

But I am against our election culture. The culture of buying votes and enticing support through materialism.

That in my view affects the decision-making responsibility of people: to get them to think with their stomach.

This culture and practice has profited a few at the expense of the majority. Our national election mindset has caused owners to be beggars for what is already theirs – the right to vote.

It has also curtailed the ambitions of good men to serve because of resource constraints.

And it has promoted the interest of goon squads and their reckless ambitions.

Thieves, thugs and mercenaries have departed from their responsibility as legislators and turned our public offices and systems into private enterprise for self-gain.

Papua New Guinea is for Papua New Guinea, not an elite few and their wantoks.

There are few good men in parliament. Yupla yet save lo ol. You know them. But they can’t do much. Parliament works on the principle of majority rules.

If we change our election and voting culture, if we vote our conviction and conscience, then tomorrow, good men will be the majority in parliament.

That’s when we will truly begin the journey to Take Back PNG. And PNG4PNG will be a reality.

So don’t vote for your wantok and expect our economy to be healthy. Don’t vote for K50 and expect the future to be bright.

Elections concern our national welfare. Not your haus lain agenda.

Port Moresby North West has to usher in the change. And set a new standard for the 2022 national election. Be a part of that crusade.

Don’t support me; support the cause. Let us all work towards that objective. Together.

I may not get your support. I may not be elected. I am not desperate to go sit in parliament.

But I am desperate to help change our election culture. I have kids who call PNG their home. It’s the only home they have.

If I help achieve that, if this campaign helps start that revolution, tomorrow we will own our destiny. That will be the ultimate victory. Whether you vote me in or not.

It’s not about the individual who gets into parliament. It’s about the values and convictions that get the mandate.

If you deserve an appointment or contract – you should get it. This is your country. But not by voting in wantoks. It must be by merit.

If you work hard, you should enjoy a good life. Not carry submissions and claims around and eat from limited resources that should be prioritised for everyone’s interest.

Parliament is not an interest bearing deposit. Elections are not aim global or money rain.

Resources are limited. They are meant for everyone. Not the winning horse and his crew after the elections. Usim kokonas ya. Use your brain.

We want the next 45 years to be a journey of economic independence. We must start by owning our elections. Then owning our leaders. Owning our parliament. Owning our laws. Owning our land and resources. And ultimately, owning our economy and destiny.

Jackson Kiakari is a young Engan man who grew up in Gerehu, a suburb of Port Moresby. He is an engineering graduate from the University of Technology and held a management position at ANZ Bank

Published by Ples Singsing

Ples Singsing is envisioned to be a new platform for Papua Niuginian expressions of creativity, ingenuity and originality in art and culture. We deliberately highlight these two very broad themes as they can encompass the diverse subjects, from technology, medicine and architecture to linguistics, music, fishing, gardening et cetera. Papua Niuginian ways of thinking, living, believing, communicating, dying and so on can cover the gamut of academic, journalistic or opinionated writing and we believe that unless we give ourselves a platform to talk about and discuss these things in an open, free and non-exclusively academic space that they may remain the fodder for academics, journalists and other types of writers alone. New social media platforms have given every individual a personal space to share their feelings and ideas openly, sometimes without immediate censure. The Ples Singsing writer’s blog would like to provide another more structured platform for Papua Niuginian expressions in written, visual and audio formats while also providing some regulation of the type and content of materials to be shared publicly.

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