Elections in PNG; Rules of the Game

I recently came across the following article titled “Global Voices: Rules of the Game”
(http://www.popmatters.com/pm/review/global-voices-rules-of-the-game/ on the web and found it very interesting. I do not think I have ever come across an article that so well describes politics in Papua New Guinea (PNG)-especially the way campaigns are done and what really determines who wins an election in PNG.

Unlike other parts of the world where democracy is freedom for the people, the PNG democratic system is one that does not necessarily grant the people freedom of anything.

This report was part of a documentary covering elections in PNG but mainly concentrated in the Eastern Highlands Province, the most peaceful of the 5 highlands provinces in PNG. Had it been done on another highland province in PNG, the report would have been more like a script from an Indiana Jones movie.

What really interests me is that, a certain Mr Terry Isagimo, a Papua New Guinean and the local campaign manager for the current Eastern Highlands Governor, Mr Mal Smith Kela, stated very clearly in the opening paragraph that “The way this country was built many years ago”………”works along who you know, and if you are asked to do a favor, whether its a good one or a bad one, you have an obligation to do it, even if its against your concerns.” This was not the way things were like before, this, is how things were built many years ago……..

Mr Isagimo’s quote alone basically summarizes democracy in PNG, a country trying desperately to bridge its tribal past with a modern future, but divided by a lack of infrastructure and organisations, not to mention the tribal, clan and language barriers. A country whose independence actually means utter dependence on Australian aid that is jeopardized by political corruption all the time.

Read the article posted above and you will see that Papua New Guinea today is a country bound by favors and lost in dreams.

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1 Response to Elections in PNG; Rules of the Game

  1. Muguwa says:

    Democracy in PNG is somewhat a bastardization of democracy in Western societies. PNG society and its institutional systems and strucutures can not adequately and coherently create and cherish one that is egilatarian because of the diverse complexities rooted in different cultures and people. Also sadly, the concept of democracy is not comprehensively understood and unintentionally misconstrued by ordinary people involved in the political process of electing leaders. Democracy will not work well in under-developed societies with high illiteracy rate and mindsets which are culturally oriented. A rather guided democracy is plausible in the local context.
    Dilu Muguwa

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