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Who would make PNG’s best prime minister?

Dr Allan Marat
Dr Allan Marat -

| Academia Nomad

PORT MORESBY - Who would you like to see become Papua New Guinea’s prime minister? In this article, the top three candidates are ranked and profiled about why they're good prime ministerial material.

1 - Dr Allan Marat (Melanesian Liberal Party)

Since the passing of Sir Mekere Morauta, there’s probably only one true statesman in the PNG parliament.

Allan Marat has occupied several senior ministerial positions including Justice, has served as deputy PM and also as Deputy Opposition Leader.

He’s among the very few whose name has never been associated with corruption.

And he is not known for switching sides when convenient.

In debates, he carefully avoids name calling and focuses on the issues.

Marat commands respect from both the opposition and government sides.

That’s why for us, he occupies first position.

Governor Alan Bird
Governor Alan Bird -

2 - Governor Alan Bird (National Alliance)

As a provincial governor, Alan Bird cannot be prime minister and, to gain the position, would have to relinquish his governorship of East Sepik.

Bird’s speeches in debate are informed and, like Marat, he focuses on issues and not individuals.

His only problem is that he has been content to see Marape entertain garbage.

How on earth did he along with Gary Juffa, Kerenga Kua and Bryan Kramer let Sam Basil return to the deputy prime minister’s position in 2020 after he (Basil) failed in an attempt to change the government?

These so-called corruption fighters have lived and dined in the same camp as those MPs alleged to be corrupt.

We have not seen the expected reports on APEC, the Maseratis, the Yoga funds nor the UBS report from the Ombudsman Commission.

It was not enough, we need a new Commission of Inquiry.

Bird, to his credit, has openly challenged the government that he is part of on some issues.

And if we were judging patriotism, he would take the number one spot.

The sooner National Alliance realises that Patrick Pruaitch is not prime ministerial material, the better it will be. In fact, Bird needs to get take over leadership of the party.

Kerenga Kua
Kerenga Kua -

3 - Kerenga Kua (PNG National Party)

Prior to 2019, Kua was up there with Marat as a strong prime ministerial contender.

But since joining the government, he’s only been heard of in the role of natural resource negotiator. It seems he’s become silent for practical reasons.

That’s expected because he’s in government, but he was content to accommodate alleged corruption among the government MPs.

For Kua, Bird, Kramer and Juffa, keeping the government intact was more important than separating out corrupt MPs and pushing for investigations.

That said, however, Kua and Marat remain real statesmen.

And the rest….

Juffa kramer
Governor Gary Juffa and Bryan Kramer

Kramer and Juffa are more activist politicians than prime ministerial material. They are most useful in opposition keeping the government accountable.

They have served the country well as opposition MPs.

You can make the argument that Niccolò Machiavelli’s ‘The Prince’ was written for Peter O’Neill and James Marape: the power hungry.

Whilst Basil and Pruaitch take pride in being yo-yo politicians.

Marape gave the foreign affairs ministry to Pruaitch in exchange for Pruaitch dropping the Constitutional challenge on the validity of Marape’s election.

James Marape and Sam Basil
James Marape and Sam Basil

Marape also accepted Basil back as deputy prime minister after Basil unsuccessful tried to replace him as PM in 2020.

Marape will do everything under the sun to stay in power as prime minister.

O’Neill is, well he’s O’Neill. Cunning, irresponsible and power hungry.

Don’t rule out the possibility of O’Neill and Marape joining forces. They have one thing in common: they love the PM’s post.

There are others I haven’t listed as potential prime ministers.

Pruaitch & O'Neill
Patrick Pruaitch and Peter O'Neill

What about Belden Namah? He lacks the temperament.

William Duma is an unconsciously sliding MP.

Davis Steven, Charles Abel, Ian Ling-Stuckey and Puka Temu would better serve as ministers or vice-ministers.

So what do you think of this list? Comment and let us know.


Feed You can follow this conversation by subscribing to the comment feed for this post.

Philip Kai Morre

I have not seen one qualified prime minister as yet and even the names you have mentioned are yet to prove themselves.

In the next parliament we want to see 111 God fearing MPs who should be morally qualified and have the right frame of mind to develop PNG.

We need to vote in honest people with the right qualities of of leadership to see change and development.

Lindsay F Bond

Bernard - Mary Miller was first in 1977, then came 'first recording and first release' by Patsy Cline with The Jordanaires (16 November 1960-January 1961). Hey, all that is beyond my usual converse.

'Fall to pieces', like me when I laugh at Pollies Bergere. A word play on the French Folies Bergere "a Parisian music hall founded in 1869 and noted for the lavish spectacle and mildly risqué content of its entertainments".

Bergere is "an upholstered armchair".

Bernard Corden

Didn't Patsy Cline cover the Harlan Howard and Hank Cochran track entitled "I fall to pieces" ?

Lindsay F Bond

They, at the core of financial ruption and of whom "only Parliament can act on its recommendations".
They who in their prime, have had effect and now, is a house full of blokes the only mechanism for adjustment?
What now should the nation sing? Should it be phrased as if a prayer? "Just a closer walk with thee ... Let it be, dear Lord, let it be."
Women elected to the PNG Parliament is bound to be a better option than a swagger of mismanaging men.
Just as a talking point, look at the stridency of singer (stage name) Patsy Cline, who surmounted obstacle[s] and remains in the minds of many today for blazing a path for women in country music. "...her staying power nearly six decades later is a testament to the significant impact she's had on music, history, and gender equality."
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Kindin Ongugo

Belden Namah has been very vocal. I would like to see him in action as prime minister.

Lindsay F Bond

KJ is onto a realism that just might be defined by two aspects of 'ought', they being similar sounding words yet so separate in what is the essential for gaining the office of Prime Minister, and while in itself this suggestion might cause angry response, be assured of my goodwill in encouraging the discussion and in hopes for PNG as a gem of emergence as a nation, the attributes a-fore heralded are: on one hand 'brought' and on the other hand 'bought'.

Lindsay F Bond

There are stayers, sayers, nayers, relayers, delayers, players, payers and prayers.

This is almost an invocation, and much needed words, from Michael.

Philip Fitzpatrick

What about the ladies Michael?

You've only canvassed current MPs but there are lots of potential candidates out there to chose from too.

The problem with your current list is that they are all politicians.

Otherwise an astute summary.

Michael's starting point was a consideration of current MPs. It should also be recognised that the prospects of a newly-elected person, male or female, being chosen to occupy a nation's top political post is effectively zero - KJ

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