Govt must let NGOs and churches have a say too

Letters, Normal

The National, Monday August 5th, 2013

 THE government sometimes seems to lead this country without human conscience or a sense of moral responsibility as it continues to violate our Christian-based Constitution and disrespect human dignity and rights. 

The Opposition seems to be fighting but offers less constructive alternatives with little impact. 

Together with the protectors of human rights and promoters of moral, ethical and spiritual values, we have churches, non-government organisations (NGOs), the Ombudsman, etc. 

These are powerful institutions to speak against some of the unconstitutional moves by the government. 

The question is where are we positioned in the political and legislative power structure? 

Do we have any power at all to make an impact or to balance the political power structure the Government enjoys? 

Can we move the Government to listen to us, let alone stop it from making stupid decisions? 

The habit of firing blanks or barking at the Government without causing an impact can have two effects. 

It  can either consolidate the government’s powers and confidence to continue manipulating at will, or it can wear down its power dominance because of the people’s persistent protests. 

Unified non-governmental institutions together with the Council of Churches and the Catholic Bishops Conference can only protest any violation of the Constitution and human rights. But I feel we are still powerless in that the Government is not acting on or responding to our cry. 

A law must be set in place making the National Executive Council to be inclusive of the consent and voices of the people represented by churches, NGOs and the Opposition.

Can there be a place in the political structure that allows churches and human rights organisations to be recognised and consulted for debate before any major decisions or amendments to the Constitution is carried out? 

It is stupid  to cry after controversial deals or contracts are signed or unChristian-like policies, laws and bills are passed. 

Being mindful not to be involved in politics, these bodies should at least be part of the decision-making. 

At the moment, the Government is enjoying a  monopoly of power which allows it to tamper with the Constitution. 

We are working outside the system, which occasionally brings a result or two. 

To  be more effective, the Government must feel the full impact of the people’s power by allowing non-governmental institutions, especially churches, to debate constitutional and human rights issues. 


Fr George Tami 

Port Moreesby