THE city of Mt Hagen, dubbed as the capital of Highlands region, is on the brink of losing its credibility if local authorities fail to curb rising law and order problems, not forgetting the province’s political and administration misdemeanour.
Some 20 years ago, the capital of Western Highlands was a buoyant town, attracting investors and skilled people.
The locals showed solidarity and aspiration in the development and enhancement of government services such as education, health, policing and other infrastructural services in the 1980s and leading up to early 1990s.
Today, thugs and spillover from tribal feuds have collectively ripped the city apart.
From dawn to dusk, groups of thugs from settlements and neighbouring villages, are competing to assault, harass and rob innocent people.
The probability that you could and can put up a fair fight or seek police assistance when urgently required does not even count an inch.
On the other hand, a good array of citizens and expatriate-owned businesses have increased security measures at the expense of unprecedented high operational costs.
Besides, the inflexibility of those businesses to either absorb or transfer these additional costs into their budget stream or to consumers, have found themselves on the wrong side of the equilibrium.
They are often forced into bankruptcy or voluntarily cease operations, thus detrimental to the competitive nature of local business environment.
In a direct opposite to a vibrant democracy, both the provincial and local governments fail to deliver service.
The position of governorship remains at loggerheads mostly due to the legal battle.
The town authorities are ineffective both in maintaining the general cleanliness of the city and containing the number of street sellers and even if it is done so, it would have been on an ad hoc basis.
Therefore, both the residents and authorities know that they are all contributing towards accelerating the phase of law and order problems and further erode the city’s reputation.
What they do not know is where they are going.