Mismanagement is killing people, not Covid


IT is the mismanagement of the Coronavirus (Covid-19) that is killing Papua New Guineans and not the virus or its variant.
Mismanagement of the deadly pandemic is endangering lives as cases keep rising around the country.
While the rest of the world came under attack in 2019, Papua New Guinea was among the few countries that were untouched by this biblical plague-like catastrophe.
This was the perfect time – ground zero – to start building our defence against the oncoming onslaught of the Covid-19.
Many hoped the Government would take things a bit seriously and treat the pandemic as a matter of national security and take a parliamentary bi-partisan approach.
The two sides of the House should have put their politics aside and worked together to put experienced and smart medical practitioners such as Sir Puka Temu, Elias Kapavore or
Dr Tom Lino to lead as health minister.
But, instead of the one-off Pandemic Act, Parliament could have taken a holistic approach in enacting a National Security Act encompassing not only a pandemic, but biosecurity, cyber security, terrorism, civil war and acts of progression against the State.
The National Security Act would have provided the impetus and the necessary legal framework to demarcate responsibilities, line
of communication, chain of
command, oversight roles and overall management of national security.
Parliament would then declare a state of emergency and allow the army to take charge in the war against the Covid-19, with of course support from the other disciplinary arms of the State.
It is always proper that the army lead because of their effective command and control, intelligence gathering, efficiency, spontaneous response and logistics and mobility.
A man historians regard as one of the greatest military strategists once said: “Strategy without tactics is the slowest route to victory.
“Tactics without strategy is the noise before the defeat.”
The Government lacks both strategy and tactics.
The Government got it all wrong right from the beginning.
We are now talking about hospitals that can no longer accept patients, a shortage of ventilators and personal protection equipment yet we have billions of kina that could have been used to add more capacity.
That is the effect of poor governance right there.
While the world is busy fighting the Covid-19 pandemic, PNG is facing an “epidemic” called corruption.
Concerns about the misuse of public funds, including those from the numerous loans and international donors, have been reported, particularly in the emergency procurement of medical products for the Covid-19 response.
Since the Covid-19 found
PNG ill-prepared, we resorted to emergency procurement of medical supplies to combat the pandemic.
Some people, especially those entrusted with the responsibility of public procurement, the situation is offering significant opportunities for corrupt deals.
Whenever people rise up to voice their concern the Government quickly crushes their freedom of expression on pretext of stamping out political uprising.
It has become clearer that the Covid-19 situation in Papua New Guinea is now a political tool for the Marape regime to rule without scrutiny.
How long this will last remains depends on the ballots in the elections coming up in 5 months’ time.

David Lepi