Election time, feasts are here

Main Stories

THE time is here when there will be a feast in every village.
Prize pigs, goats and many thousands of chickens will be brought reluctantly to the slaughter and be offered in the name of politics.
Absolute strangers will be made welcome and friendships will be bonded at first sight.
Grand speeches will be made. Impossible stories and visions of an utopian world will be painted in word pictures right before your very ears.
Money, goods and power produce fevers of this sort everywhere but it takes special religious fervor in Papua New Guinea (PNG).
Elections do that to the people and PNG.
Even the rules of economics will be suspended. Where once there was no cash on account of Coronavirus (Covid-19) and the slowing world economy, today people will see millions of Kina handed out in cash in the remotest settings.
Banks that restricted cash beyond a certain amount to owners of the money will have lifted those restrictions somehow now.
Where they wanted documentary evidence for every K10,000 coming into an account, they will quickly turn the other way to allow hundreds of thousands and even millions of Kina to flow into individual and party accounts and for them to leave in similar amounts very quickly thereafter.
Guest houses will open their doors on credit on the word of some body whose word they would not normally trust and hire car companies roll out station wagons by the dozens on not even a promissory note.
Each will wait for years after a general election for their services to be paid, and sometimes never settled.
Every man and his woman will have something for a keepsake. Young people will marry in droves in acts their parents describe as kakaruk marit (chicken marriage, in obvious reference to the longevity of chickens mating) and many more children born out of wedlock.
Election time merry making ends in love making often.
In a constant crowd of people day and night, one wonders how some of these delicate manoeuvres are performed but they are and the evidence for them produced promptly in mewling infants nine months later.
There are no holds barred, all are bared and all restraints are off.
It is a cult, a religion, and it has devout following.
There is a favourite line that began in perhaps Chimbu and has spread into many places.
My take is that this is a general realisation made by the people.
The line in Tok Pisin goes: Ol kaikai faivpela yias. Nau em i taim bilong mi kaikai (They have eaten five years. It is my turn to eat.) A bit crass but there it is. It is the truth and it reflects an attitude.
None of what goes on is really genuine. There is more fake and falsehood here than not.
Everybody is in it for something.
Every member of the candidate’s large retinue must have smoke and betel nut and food, and that costs money. It comes out of the candidate’s pocket or some sorry sponsor, who will be sorrier afterwards.
Every house that produces welcome rest for weary travellers and nourishment for the hungry and thirsty must be paid in cash and kind.
Every domestic animal slaughtered is paid for immediately and then some more later. Nothing is ever free in this game.
I will say this.
If food or cash is brought to your door, do not be a fool not to accept it.
Do enjoy what is given freely but of your one vote part not with it for any tomfoolery. Be very careful how you use it.
You have three choices.
Vote for the three people you know will make the most difference in your life in future.
You will be doing your children, your household and yourself a big favour if you use your vote wisely.
So eat, drink, accept food and money but of your vote, be wise.
One vote can decide election outcomes.
Your ballot can make a great difference to help shape the country.

Wong kicks off campaign in Gazelle

East New Britain recorded the largest motorcade float on Monday in East New Britain, recording 315 motor vehicles accompanying Gazelle MP Jelta Wong along parts of Gazelle during his campaign rally.

GAZELLE MP Jelta Wong kicked off his general election campaign with a 315-vehicle convoy on Monday.
His election campaign convoy rolled out at 10am, passing through streets and villages, ending at Kerevat where the Health and HIV/AIDS Minister addressed a crowd.
Those present were former Gazelle MP Sinai Brown, President for Kombiu Local Level Government (LLG) president and Lord Mayor Changol Manaui, East New Britain deputy governor and Bitapaka LLG president Cosmos Bauk and East New Britain Development Corporation chief executive officer Michael Batia.
Wong said all five LLGs worked together to achieve great things for Gazelle.
“We have planted the seeds and we will have to look after it in the next five years so that our children and youths have a future here,” he added.
Two weeks after the announcement of the Special Economic Zone for Gazelle, including other projects, Wong is confident of development for the district over the next decade.
“I am telling you men now that anyone of you that participate in wife beating, please do not vote for me,” he said.

Tribal support … Nominations for 2022 general election has brought out cultural groups from different provinces showcasing their culture and support for candidates. Traditional attires, chants and colourful face paintings were part of the nominations. Pictured are supporters of a candidate for Moresby North-East. – National pic by KENNEDY BANI