TODAY is the planned date for a peaceful public protest led by UPNG students to demand the resignation of prime minister Peter O’Neill (pictured) and police commissioner Gary Baki from their respective offices.
However, the police, who have the power to authorise approval for such gatherings, have refused to grant permission.
The obvious reason for this reluctance is that Commissioner Baki is directly affected by the planned protest. Also, as O’Neill’s man, he seems to have no taste to entertain any protest against the prime minister.
If the protest does go ahead as planned, therefore, there is a high risk of confrontation and this could turn nasty. So our folks in the National Capital District who are going to demonstrate must be calm and cautious.
It is certain that O’Neill and Baki will not back down and humbly vacate their offices. But this outcome should not be seen as a win for the two men. It seems O’Neill has something to hide so will not give up of his own accord and he will continue to use Baki as a shield.
The important thing is that the people need to show their concern and frustration over the issues at hand and let the world know that the people of PNG are fed up with these two men and want them out of office to face the court with answers to those allegations of corruption and related matters .
Whether the protest eventuates or not and whatever the outcome, the brighter picture is that Peter O’Neill has exhausted nearly all his armour, both legitimate and illegitimate, and is now a lame duck prime minister.
Indeed, he might have been arrested already were it not for the notorious police mobile squad which is guarding him 24 hours a day, seven days a week. The police commissioner himself is personally overseeing this group.
Even the courts are wearying of O’Neill’s persistent evasion of justice and are eager to fast track corruption related cases that are before the courts and those still under investigation by the fraud squad as evidenced by a number of milestone decisions the courts have made in the last few weeks.
If the court finds commissioner Baki (left) guilty of contempt, he is likely to end up behind bars. If that happens, O’Neill’s last line of defence will be shattered. And the signal will go out that Baki’s predecessor must be neutral and allow justice to prevail or he will follow his two predecessors to Bomana.
One could surmise that, when this point is reached, there will be a change of attitude in the police hierarchy and O’Neill will have a difficult time trying to find a new puppet to dance to his music.
Can O’Neill escape justice or will he be arrested or seek safe haven in a foreign land?
The Dual Citizenship Act passed by parliament recently may have been a calculated move to pave the way for corrupt politicians to depart permanently from Papua New Guinea.