THE democratic system of government that we have today, had its origins during the French revolution.
The people revolted against the monarchy and sought to establish a new government that respected human freedoms, including freedom of thought and speech.
Democracy was seen as an alternative form of government against the monarchical power that ruled much of Europe.
Democracy was established to do away with the divine right of kings and diminish absolute power which corrupted those who wielded it.
Abraham Lincoln in his Gettysburg address articulated the spirit of democracy as a “government of the people, by the people and for the people.”
It is a government elected to power by the people, not gained as inheritance, nor rigging the system.
One of the strengths of the democratic system is the rule of the law. There are checks in place to hold those who rule and the general populous accountable for their actions.
When the rule of the law is respected by both rulers and people, a country thrives.
So how does a country become a failed state?
According to Noam Chomsky, a democracy becomes a failed state when it does not maintain functioning (not merely formal) democratic institutions.
Is Papua New Guinea heading towards that status? The drama of this year’s elections - rigging of the election process, bribes and threats to returning officers and winning under questionable circumstances - saw indications of a failed election in a nation heading towards becoming a failed state.
What needs to happen to allow this great nation to remain a vibrant and thriving democracy is to play by the rules.
If the rule of the law is not respected, and power hungry leaders circumvent the system to grab power and play by the rules of the jungle, we will bring this nation to its knees.
We have already seen violence and anarchy reign in some parts of the highlands during this year’s election.
This not the kind of country we want for our people.