By Lemach Lavari
Most Papua New Guineans, especially those in rural villages, do not know what political parties are and their significance, a government official says.
Registrar of Political Parties Dr Alphonse Gelu said at the inaugural political party expo on Saturday that based on a survey they did last year, people in rural areas did not know much about the roles of political parties and why they existed.
“That is why we are doing this expo. It is in response to this lack of knowledge about political parties and their importance in our government,” he said.
“For so long in Papua New Guinea politics the link between people and the government has been missing. We want to promote political parties to be that link.
“The expo was about promoting political parties and bringing them to the people. Becoming involved in the political parties will strengthen the link between people and government. We will have more expos in other centres too.”
The expo’s theme was “Know a Party, Join a Party”.
Gelu urged women and youths to register with a political party.
“We don’t want political parties to be a men’s only organisation. It must be inclusive. More importantly, political parties form the government and by registering with a party, people can hold their parties accountable when in government,” he said.
“Political parties must not exist in Waigani only but go into communities and mobilise the people.
“This will make our people active participants and keep governments on their toes.
“That is what we need in Papua New Guinea.”
Gelu said too many – 45 – political parties existed currently.
“We are working with them to try to limit the numbers. We want the smaller political parties to amalgamate.
“We would prefer the number to be 10 to 15 to avoid political parties having the same policies. With fewer parties, differences in polices will be more clear and people will have a fair opportunity to make a choice.”
The expo was a one day event hosted at the Sir John Guise Indoor Complex in Port Moresby.
By Lemach Lavari