WE are in an election year and the voting public will be faced with choices to make when they consider who they want to give their support to.
Some voters choose along tribal lines or from their own ethnic group and others choose based on how successful candidates has been in his or her previous career.
Still, others prefer to give their vote to the person who promises the world to them.
It is the same every five years.
If the public is not more critical of their leaders, it is because they have, in a way, become soothed to the routine.
But people, especially those lower on the rung of society – which is basically the majority of the citizens – owe it to themselves to determine who is the best candidate and not be swayed by a sudden rush of goodwill that extends from their sitting members’ office around this time of year, or any other factor that really has no bearing on how a leader is expected to behave once in office.
So, how are voters supposed to know who is the best candidate for them to choose?
The obvious yard stick by which any man, public servant or worker is given credit for, is what they have accomplished over time.
Having sound policies and ideas that make sense and are practical is another great selling point and a factor worth taking note of.
The cult of personality politics may hold in some electorates in the country but hardly represents how Papua New Guineans choose their leaders.
For candidates that have been in office for a while, perhaps, the most useful benchmark to judge them on is how much they have done for their constituents and
what they have done in terms of tangible development to their electorates.
Both from an infrastructural standpoint and from a legislative one as well, how many have furthered the cause of the people whom they are supposed to represent in Parliament?
One regional member, who is a sitting MP, geared much of his development policies to educating the youth in his province.
Implementing his own free education or subsidised education policy for students from his province meant he had invariably shored up support from parents and communities who would benefit in the long run.
This kind of leadership is visionary. This kind of leader is hard to ignore whether one has an affinity to him or not.
All MPs fulfil their roles to the best of their ability.
We cannot take that away from them.
It is just that some do a much better job than others.
The responsibility is then with the people either to persist, to stay loyal and hope for their man to turn the corner or to make a decision based on performance.
There is no simple answer.
How do you judge a candidate that has been there and done it but perhaps has not fulfilled the promise he showed and made when he first got elected as opposed to an untested candidate that talks a good game?
If a country’s leaders reflect on the people, what can we say about Papua New Guinea in 2022?
Has progress been made at a rate that will determine a brighter future for the people?
The onus is on the people to exercise their democratic right to choose as they see fit.
If they choose to usher in unworthy or unfit individuals, then they will reap what they sow but so will the country.
The converse is true if they choose well.