Leadership issues never end


MANY, if not all, of the nation’s problems are blamed largely on the decisions our leaders make – after all they are the ones who are steering the ship.
But the responsibility is not entirely theirs because the people are the ones who put them there.
No doubt for some this maybe a tough spoonful of medicine to swallow but Papua New Guinea is considered one of the most corrupt nations in the world today and sadly this is a fact we cannot escape from.
We do not need a report or an international classification to tell us all is not well in Papua New Guinea.
We see it every day and most of us, whether we know it or not, participate, enable and encourage corruption, graft and theft and all manner of activities that contribute to the mismanagement, misuse and breakdown of services, goods and ultimately the society we like to call among other things, Christian and peace-loving.
The proof with regards to development and the standard of living is laid out in our papers almost daily.
If there is not a political leader facing questions on his conduct and use of tax payers’ money, there is a furore over the way the government is being run particularly in parliament.
Government departments are no better.
The instances of abuse of power by public servants are rife and continue unabated even though the country has courts and a police force to investigate and punish guilty individuals.
But here is the reason why the country is mired in such a self-defeating cycle of stalled progress and “what ifs” and “what could have beens”.
We as a people have a culture and an attitude that perpetuates corruption.
The conditions are practically optimal for white collar crime.
We have a police force that has proven inadequate, compounded by a correctional service that is in need of refitting – both in personnel and administrative capability, a court system which struggles to cope with a never ending procession of cases, but most importantly we have had government that cannot fund these institutions to the level required to act as a real deterrent to lawbreakers.
And then we have the cultural aspect that enables corruption or morally questionable acts.
Papua New Guineans tend to take care of their own.
This is good, and this bad.
It’s good because we have a sense of identity and belonging and it gives us pride in who we are but it is bad because more often than not this comes at the expense of the greater good – a concept which many around the country have yet to grasp.
Nepotism, wantokism, cronism, all these terms describe the causes of corruption when cultural values are put ahead of morals and proper conduct.
Some might say that we are no different from any other country when it comes to the issue but where does it say we have to accept the situation and not do anything about it?
The checks and balances are there however they are rendered impotent because of a lack of will to follow through on the part of agencies.
Ask yourself this question: of the number of high profile cases of gross abuse of public money and outright theft and the disappearance of funds or the questionable to illegal use of the public purse by those in power how many people haveactually been convicted and jailed?
How many have paid the money back?
White collar criminals have done more to disable this country and strip it of its ability to provide for all its children than any other law and order issue.
Who do we blame and what do we do about it?
Are we satisfied with how our leaders perform or should we hold them more accountable?