BUSA JEREMIAH WENOGO
PORT MORESBY - Tuesday 28 May 2019 will remain one of the most memorable moments of my life.
It was the day I witnessed a turning point in Papua New Guinea’s political history.
It was a day on which the whole nation stood still.
The supermarkets, markets, alleys, roadsides and streets of Port Moresby were almost deserted.
In their homes, vehicles and tucker shops Papua New Guineans tuned into their TVs and radios to witness and hear the unfolding of events at parliament house.
It was something I had rarely seen and it was clear that Papua New Guineans anticipated a change.
Not just a change of government but a change in the status quo.
The opposition moved to oust the deputy speaker and speaker - in the word of the speaker this was “unprecedented”.
For far too long the election of a prime minister was seen as the job for the "bigmen in Waigani". No more.
Folks in rural areas and urban cellars who consider themselves “liklik manmeri” and “grassroots” could hope, dream and languish in silence. No more.
How could people in a literal and true sense hold the prime minister accountable? This reality frustrated many people who questioned the effectiveness of the Westminster system of government colonialism had landed them with.
But what I saw unfold on Tuesday and the days that led up to that day, there appeared hope that the government of PNG was evolving into a government that was "of, by and for the people".
It seemed that happened yesterday.
I sensed the wind of change. Social media was largely responsible.
Leaders like Bryan Kramer, Gary Juffa and Allan Bird now frequently using this medium to usher in an era where Papua New Guineans are more than ever ready to demand change.
Rallies in Goroka, Chimbu, Madang and elsewhere were a clear testament of these revolution at play.
When O'Neill referred to Kramer as the "Facebook prime minister" he forgot that Papua New Guineans populate Facebook and that they were behind this call for change.
And it was a call that resonated amongst a great number of people in our country.
With millions of Papua New Guineans owning a smart phone it was no wonder that Kramer’s message resonated. In a space of just two years Kramer has become a household name.
And so the pendulum of power shifted thanks to social media.
MPs James Marape, now tipped to become prime minister today, Patrick Pruaitch and others also reached out through social media. They realised that the power dynamics had shifted to the people.
Social media has become a hub for debates on policy and legislation. The conduct and behaviour of MPs are been scrutinised as never before. And where deemed inappropriate it is being called out.
The bigman mentality has been put to the test on social media and it has been found wanting.
Marape summed up this new phenomena aptly when he said "to the younger generation, let no older men tell you you can’t do anything or fight for your rights.
“I just showed that it can be done, you can lose a battle in between but get up, so you don’t lose the war."
Political change has happened but, most important of all, a revolution has just begun.