It was Michael Somare’s Pangu that knew the way to independence. Now under James Marape, ‘Pangu ino save lo rot’. Pangu doesn't know the way
| Academia Nomad
WAIGANI – ‘Pangu save lo ro’ (Pangu knows the way) is a motto made popular by the late Sam Basil.
It refers to the Pangu Pati that attained independence for Papua New Guinea in 1975 led by the late Michael Somare.
In 2014, Sam Basil moved to Pangu, which at the time had no MPs in parliament, and became its leader.
He led Pangu into the 2017 elections, winning 11 seats, that later increased to 16 when other MPs joined.
Basil invoked Pangu’s historical place as the party that led Papua New Guinea to independence.
As a strong critic of Peter O’Neill at the time, Basil argued that PNG had lost its way and needed to be guided back to the destiny intended by its founders, the fathers of the PNG nation.
In 2019, there was a period of political turmoil (which I wrote about here) during which many MPs resigned from O’Neill’s People’s National Congress to join Pangu.
When the dust settled, James Marape was prime minister, O’Neill sat in the opposition and, in May, Basil left Pangu taking seven defectors with him and later established the United Labour Party.
Despite the political turbulence, Pangu under Marape continued to govern under the motto, ‘Pangu save lo rot’.
It’s important to know that, so far, Pangu has done nothing to show that Pangu knows the way.
It’s merely riding on the legacy of men like Somare and Pita Lus, and many others who have now passed on.
Pangu under Marape knew how to get PNG’s borrowing up to K30 billion in just three years.
It was Pangu that failed to capture the tribal warlords who slaughtered 17 women and children in the Eastern Highlands in 2019.
It is Pangu that watches on as women get burnt alive after being accused of sorcery.
Before parliament dissolved for next month’s elections, Pangu led a coalition that comprised of MPs accused of corruption. Pangu did nothing about it.
In the coalition were MPs accused of the corrupt multi-million kina Manumanu land deal where government ministers sold parcels of land they themselves owned at inflated prices using state money.
In the coalition were MPs who have never explained why expensive Maseratis were bought for the 2018 APEC summit in Port Moresby but never used. The Maseratis are now wasting away in a garage in downtown Port Moresby.
MPs who spent millions on a ‘yoga program’ remain part of the coalition.
The Pangu of this day is not the same Pangu that led PNG to independence.
In the 1970s if Pangu had been led by Marape and the current MPs, PNG would not have attained independence.
The compromises involved in keeping MPs accused of corruption in the coalition is not something then Pangu strongman, Pita Lus, would have allowed.
This Pangu knows how to entertain MPs alleged of corruption in the name of remaining in power.
It is a power hungry Pangu.
‘Pangu save lot rot’ is a phrase only true for historical purposes.
It was Michael Somare’s Pangu that knew the way to independence.
Now under James Marape, ‘Pangu ino save lo rot’.
Pangu does not know the way under James Marape.
So don’t confuse Michael Somare’s Pangu with James Marape’s Pangu.