Sumatin magazine opens a box of delights
Bigmanship: the deliverer of corrupt leaders

Election gives Marape a stranglehold on PNG

Marape became the first PNG prime minister to be elected unopposed as 97 MPs decided to vote for him unanimously, leaving former prime minister O’Neill, comprehensively outmanoeuvred in the election, to strut out of the chamber muttering something about “a matter of conscience”

Rachael and James Marape



NOOSA – Even in the elation of victory, unanimously chosen prime minister of Papua New Guinea, James Marape, could not bring himself to provide hope for women to occupy a fair share of seats in PNG’s parliament.

“Women do not need special seats, they can run on merit,” was the curt response when he was asked whether two (1.7%) of 118 seats was an adequate return for the nation’s women.

Election women can run on meritIt seemed that getting just two women into PNG’s parliament was a euphoric moment for some commentators. 

It was fine for the parliament to have two women of quality elected. Let's see if their outstanding qualities are put to good use.

But euphoria seemed hardly an appropriate emotion given that 116 male MPs, increased by seven in a whirlwind creation of new electorates just before nominations were called.

That was far from the only unsettling thing to occur in this election.

There was the lightning speed with which Marape’s own seat of Tari-Pori was declared, leaving him in the prime position and with plenty of time to organise the numbers for continuation of his prime ministership.

There were the consistent allegations of common roll manipulation, vote rigging, ballot box theft, voter intimidation and corrupt electoral officers.

There was the expected outbreak of election-related crime and violence – some of which seemed orchestrated to disrupt polling in favour of certain candidates.

Rufina Peter

There was the Governor-General’s assent to the Pangu party, with just 36 seats of 118, forming a government despite as many as 22 seats not being declared.

And to end a perfect election for Marape, he became the first PNG prime minister to be elected  unopposed as the 97 MPs who remained in the chamber decided to vote for him  unanimously, even the opposition now reduced to an eight-man rump.

Former prime minister, Peter O’Neill, comprehensively outmanoeuvred in the election, had strutted out of parliament before the vote muttering something about “a matter of conscience” as Speaker Job Pomat called for nominations for the top job.

In addition to the welcome elections of Kessy Sawang (Rai Coast) and Governor Rufina Peter (Central Province) there was good news in the re-election of honest brokers Governor Allan Bird (East Sepik), Bryan Kramer (Madang), Ian Ling-Stuckey (Kavieng), Governor Gary Juffa (Oro) and Kerenga Kua (Sinasina-Yonggamugl).

They will have a harder job than ever steering the country to a better place.

Meanwhile, Marape is persisting to invoke the vision, first espoused when he seized the leadership in 2019, to ‘take back PNG’ and make it “the richest black Christian nation on earth”.

Well, as I wrote back in 2019 when staying at the Grand Papua I found myself in the middle of the fierce politicking to get Marape elected, good luck with that.

Upon his re-election, Marape then made a speech that veteran PNG journalist, Gorethy Kenneth, labelled as “rambling” and “failing to hit home with ordinary Papua New Guineans, leaving the population pondering what to expect in the country reeling from high unemployment, huge law and order issues and rising prices of basic store goods.”

Election Pangu invited to form govt
Pangu is invited to form a government

Indeed, Marape did plough over much old ground, and his oratory lacked what we expect of Highlanders, but in the interests of fairness I reproduce here some of the speech, exaggerations and embellishments included:

This generation of leaders must deliver economic independence to Papua New Guinea.

That Pangu has secured the mandate from Papua New Guinea can only mean that our people in the length and breadth of this country support this intention.

It is my humble privilege to address this house as the Prime Minister. In 2019, I secured the mandate to be prime minister on the floor of parliament.

I served for three very hard years with the support of a lot of you.

Today, I have secured the mandate from the people of Papua New Guinea.

They have empowered, emboldened, and mandated me and the party to lead to be in government.

I am privileged to lead a coalition of likeminded leaders to be your government.

The 2022 national general election brings our country to the cusp of 50 years of nationhood.

Three years before we turn 50 years old as a nation, Pangu gets a further opportunity to deal with some fundamental issues confronting our country.

The onus and responsibility now rest on each member of Parliament to rise up to the occasion and renew our commitment to pass on a better Papua New Guinea to the next generation.

We are consistent with the Vision 2050 on the development phases of our country to be smart, wise, fair, healthy, and a happy society by 2050.

It aligns nicely in that we are called to deliver economic enablers to fast-track development.

Fast track we must, as we do not have the luxury of time to wait around for things to happen at their pace.

And so Papua New Guinea moves forward into what seems to be a far cry from a brave new world.

But, given the timid outfit Australians we to the south have just elected, who are we to talk?


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

Lindsay F Bond

Stirling stuff, Arthur. Broadest grins, they that wins.
Ples blo grinners that parry-ment.
Chris, incompetence? Actually, many are succeeding at that parry-bent.
In olden times, one bizniz chap was safe, as he pursued birds and gathered feathers.
Day will come when the song becomes "Where have all the feathers gone?"

Arthur Williams

I wish my once adopted homeland the very best for the next five years. The 11th Government certainly will need it!

Only a politician can claim the nation 'mandated him' to run a nation when his party has less than one-third of the MPs. In today's euphoria, the nation is full of Great Expectations - but like in Charles Dickens' novel of that name, the ending may yet meet those expectations.

1) There are the criminal cases that should flow from the UBS Inquiry that included too many big names including:

2018/12/30 Executive Summary #19 .. 'The conducts of Minister for Finance, James Marape, was wrong and improper when he approved the Payment Direction Deed for National Petroleum Company of PNG when it was not properly established by law.' Source Ombudsman Commission Report.

2020/02/13 National news: “Marape says loan inquiry can go as far as possible because I am also implicated by UBS report.”

2022/06/23 UBS trial awaits says Marape at The National By Rebecca Kuku
ALL those implicated in the K3 billion Union Bank of Switzerland (UBS) loan deal will be prosecuted, says Prime Minister James Marape. He called it the “biggest government corruption” deal under the Peter O’Neill-led government. “After the formation of the (new) government, we will prosecute those who misused money or played a part in the loan (deal).”

Great stuff in campaigning days but he omitted himself in that message.

2) Similarly there is the Inquiry into the 2014 Motukea International Wharf in which several well known elites including Gov. Parkop are mentioned. New Ireland's Ben Micah died just prior to standing in the recent election. In his 20200310 Confessions in PNG Blogs reprinted here on PNG Attitude 2022/03/17 he mentioned a few characters still at the top of their 'money-trees'.

20211214 Inquiry into sale, purchase of Motukea Wharf to start soon- National headline

20220705 Motukea Wharf probe extended for another 6 months until Dec23 The National

It took far too long be initiated and then along comes fortuitous delay for all involved.

3). Then of course there are the myriads of cases to be heard by the Court of Disputed Returns. Many will drag on for years as the 'wealthy' applicant losing candidates go to appeal too.

4). We will have most likely winner for Moresby NW being in court to defend himself from the 2022/03/11 Murder charge in a Moresby cafe.

5) Perhaps alleged rapist James Yali may win his court challenge at having being excluded from nominating recently for Madang's Governor seat. He would then want a by-election.

6) EHP Peter Numu Governor is on bail after a small riot at the Goroka counting venue he was almost tied with over 93000 votes the same as 2nd place candidate with over 44000 votes to be distributed from 3rd placed. If convicted of an electoral offence he would be barred from becoming MP even if he won..imagine the local mayhem that would provoke.

(Just read that Governor Numu was re-elected and denies charges of rioting as "I was at home!")

So PM Marape, it ain't over even though the second elected lady has sung her triumphant song.

Chris Overland

Australia's 'timid' government has sniffed the wind and knows that while Australians were intensely unhappy with the previous government they were not necessarily going to buy into demands for thorough going reforms of the current system.

In particular, a large majority of voters still fondly imagine that the serious problems now manifest with the health system, in aged care, the NDIS and public transport and housing can be magically fixed without, if not an increase in taxation, at least the abandonment of the unjustified and inequitable tax cuts which passed into law before the recent election.

Well, I have news for my fellow citizens: the broader public services systems will remain broken unless and until we collectively accept that it has to be paid for through the combined impact of a reformed and much more equitable tax system and the abandonment of the many dodges and boondoggles that, for example, enable large corporations and the rich to avoid paying much if any tax.

Our days of wine and roses, such as they were, are now well over. Laissez faire capitalism has wrought its magic, enriching the few at the expense of the many.

This will be a surprise to no-one with any basic grasp of the history of how capitalism works if the market mechanism is allowed to utterly dominate how goods and services of all kinds are delivered without at least some constraint.

The world has changed, much for the worse in many important respects, and we must now harden up and turn our collective shoulders to the wheel to make our country more economically resilient and self reliant, as well as repair our much neglected and grossly inadequate defence forces.

Normality as it once was will not be returning any time soon.

All this applies just as much to a Marape led PNG. A country as corruptly and incompetently governed as PNG is ripe for the picking by an ambitious and unscrupulous power.

The same may be said of other Pacific countries whose politicians fondly delude themselves that they can somehow 'manage' relationships with great powers to their advantage without consequence. They can't and won't be able to do this.

I appreciate that my views are likely to be perceived as those of a catastrophist and serial pessimist but history tells me that I am merely pointing to the blindingly obvious, at least to those with the will to see.

I'll be mightily glad to be wrong but fear that I am much more likely to be right.

Verify your Comment

Previewing your Comment

This is only a preview. Your comment has not yet been posted.

Your comment could not be posted. Error type:
Your comment has been saved. Comments are moderated and will not appear until approved by the author. Post another comment

The letters and numbers you entered did not match the image. Please try again.

As a final step before posting your comment, enter the letters and numbers you see in the image below. This prevents automated programs from posting comments.

Having trouble reading this image? View an alternate.


Post a comment

Comments are moderated, and will not appear until the author has approved them.

Your Information

(Name and email address are required. Email address will not be displayed with the comment.)