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Anti-corruption activists call for national stopwork on Monday

KEITH JACKSON

ATTITUDE UPDATE: Port Moresby Police commander Andy Bawa said this afternoon that, "in the interests of public safety, peace and good order", protest marches and strikes will not be allowed on Monday. Commander Bawa said that members of the public found congregating in public places will be arrested and charged with unlawful assembly. 

One man's silent protest (Martyn Namorong)A GROUP CALLING ITSELF the ‘Social Media Activism Committee Executive’ that operates through the PNG News Group on Facebook is calling for people to stop work throughout Papua New Guinea on Monday to protest against corruption.

The group had originally planned to hold a mass public rally in Port Moresby on Wednesday but called it off when Police objected.

A notice is now circulating in social media askingall workers in Port Moresby and around the nation to stop work on Monday and challenge the O’Neill government to send the Police to come and arrest each and every one of us for protesting”.

Included in the 12 people associated with the Social Media Activism Committee Executive are Sonja Barry Ramoi, David Ephraim, Lucas Kiap, Noel Anjo Kolao, Charlie Gilichibi and Reginald Renagi.

“You can help to stop corruption by protesting it so that as a collective voice we can be heard,” the group says. “We ask all PMV and taxi operators in Port Moresby to pull your vehicles off the road on Monday 18 November. We also ask all parents not to send your children to school.

“We ask all workers unions, NGOs, civil society groups and churches to support us in this protest.

“If you decide to keep quiet, that's fine because you are supporting corruption and mismanagement of public resources to flourish.

"All powers belong to the people. We have the right to be heard.”

Among the corruption-related issues the group has identified arePaul Paraka’s alleged fraud of K71.8 million, expropriation of OTML assets without compensation, harbouring international fugitives, the outstanding Sevua Report for the Unitech saga, and awarding contracts to cronies outside the Financial Management Act”.

“Help us to demand attention and action to fight this beast called corruption,” the group says. “No politician can sit on hot issues if you help us to make these issues hot enough.”

An information hotline has been set up at 7327 0779.

Comments

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Mrs Barbara Short

Surely, once the ICAC is set up they will have the ability to call up the political leaders who are implicated in corruption scandals, and question them over it.

At the moment these politicians can just say they are not guilty. They have to be investigated by the officers of the ICAC and appear before it and answer questions on oath. The ICAC has to be able to prove that they have acted corruptly.

Frank K Daosak

Rather than arguing about personalities in the group, let's focus on the issue or agenda which is corruption and the need for political leaders implicated to step aside and allow fair investigations etc.

Francis S Nii

Laurence, if I take 'failed politician' out of the context, I will be pinpointing individuals and that to me is not proper. Thank you.

Laurence Quinlivan

Francis ~ Please be a little more specific when you say "failed" politician". Do you mean they simply failed to gain re-election or more seriously they themselves could have been guilty of corruption?

I would not discount their support for the issue just on the account that they are ex politicians and you question their motive. Is the cause worth supporting?

More than just ask general questions perhaps people who might know of corruption should publically ask (on social media) for clear answers to specific questions.

Timoci Saukuru

Congratulations. A stop work nationwide will speak louder than words. May God bless PNG.

Francis S Nii

Although the issue is worth fighting for, most of the leaders of the group are failed politicians or have their own political interest and affiliation.

And this bring into question their political neutrality and integrity and even casts doubts over their motives.

These are the setbacks of the group's effort.

I suppose the police saw the campaign as I see it - another political movement - and did not grant permission.

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