PNG’s political system ‘being hijacked’ by leaders, analyst warns of election

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By Marjorie Finkeo in Port Moresby

Only two of Papua New Guinea’s general elections – in 1992 and 1997 – have had any semblance of credibility since the country’s independence in 1975, according to a political analyst.

Speaking at a seminar in Port Moresby, Dr. Joe Ketan, Managing Director of Business and Research Branch of Divine University Diwai Pacific Ltd, gave an overview of the country’s electoral governance, saying that it was the worst when it came to forming a new government.

“The country’s electoral processes are intact. However, the system is hijacked,” he said.

“State-owned enterprises are in trouble, many essential services have collapsed and the security agencies of the Royal PNG Constabulary, PNG Defense Force, PNG Correctional Service and National Intelligence Organization have all lost their integrity due to their lack of credibility during of the next elections in June.

Dr. Ketan, formerly h“We have a terrible process of entering the country [over] how we bring our leaders to Parliament and the result is really bad.

“Security agencies lack discipline, have low morals and have funding problems. As we look to the future, the government will repeat history.

Additional steps needed
“We need to take additional steps to ensure the credibility of the 2022 elections because with the last six terms, only two since independence have had some resemblance of credibility – in 1992 and 1997,” he said.

“In 2007 and 2012 it was just as bad with the political instability between the two former Prime Ministers Peter O’Neill and Sir Michael Somare.”

The executive director of the National Affairs Institute, Paul Barker, expressed concern that the common role had not been updated several years ago.

Barker said there was no proper data on eligible voters and the current population and the government had done nothing about it.

Short financing by K362m
Meanwhile, Reporting by Miriam Zarriga that with just nine days to issue the 118 election writs on April 28, the government has yet to release K362 million (NZ$151 million) of the K462 million (NZ$193 million) -Zealand) funding from the Electoral Commission for electoral costs.

The documents obtained by the Post mail show that the Treasury Department released a total of about K287.6 million ($120 million) to just seven agencies.

These payments are as follows;

– Electoral Commission: 100 million K paid; Outstanding amount of K K 362 million;
– Police: 111 million K paid; Outstanding amount of K43 million;
– PNG Defense Force: 50 million K paid; Outstanding K22.8 million;
– Correctional Service: K11.6 million paid; Outstanding amount of K42.4 million;
Other departments;
– National Broadcasting Corporation: 10 million kina;
– Ministry of Justice and Attorney General: K2.5 million; and,
– Commission of the Mediator: 2.5 million K.

The National Intelligence Organization (NIO), the Registry of Political Parties, the Office of Security Coordination and Assessment (OSCA) have yet to receive their funding.

Marjorie Finkeo is a PNG Post-Courier journalist. Republished with permission.


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