The National, Tuesday July 9th, 2013
By MOUA OMOA
THE move to defer polling for the 2013 local level government elections in the Highlands region has been welcomed by some candidates.
The only female candidate for Lake Kutubu LLG, Meneme Anne Hewago, said this would give some candidates, including her, time to round up their campaigning.
With little financial support and going against 24 men is a real battle but she has emerged from the house as a mother and home-maker to try to bring real services to the people, she said.
“With the type of culture we have, there are only two females contesting in the Lake Kutubu LLG election, me contesting for the president’s seat against 24 men and only one woman out of the 107 intending candidates for the ward councils,” Hewago said.
“I have come out of the kitchen to try to be a leader because I believe women, as good managers of the home, have that quality to make changes and enhance the service delivery mechanism so that everyone benefits.”
Hewago said Lake Kutubu was a pivotal resource area supplying oil for the past 20 years and would now venture into gas but basic services and infrastructure were poor.
As a chairperson for the Soma Women’s Business Group and a former community liaison officer with Chevron Niugini and now with ExxonMobil and Oil Search, Hewago believes the Government and the developers had done their bit to help the people but district level services had not been implemented.
“People must stop this wantok system mentality and referring to bribery and corrupts acts as cultural acts. They should choose good quality leadership to bring the real services that will improve our health services, educate our children and properly seal our roads and so forth,” Hewago said.
“Even if I don’t make it to the top at the end of these election, I contested because I want to let the men know that women, are equal partners and equal participants socially and economically.”
Hewago said she entered the race because she wanted better services and development for the people and encouraged women to take the challenge and tell the men that they could make good leaders as well.”