Numbers decide, not individuals

Letters, Normal

I WOULD like to thank all political pundits, critics, pseudo-supporters and 2012 political aspirants for the raging debate regarding my decision to relocate to the middle bench and performance that dominated the letters to editor and other columns in The National last week.
Obviously no amount of explanation I offer will silent these critics or commentators.
I accept that some of them are sincere and I thank them.
Others are obviously aspirants for the 2012 election masquerading as neutral commentators.
I accept, too, that as we approach next election, such tactics will only intensify and that’s the reality of PNG political scene.
I want to encourage and even challenge those who are sincere about my performance or lack of performance and about political leadership in our country not to use pen names so that I can take their comments and criticisms seriously.
It would show their honesty and sincerity too if they could also send copies of their letters and commentaries to me at [email protected] so I can personally respond to them.
From the level and time spend on these commentaries and letters, I am sure most, if not all, have access to internet and could forward me copies of their commentaries or criticisms.
Those who continue to resort to using pen names are just out to score political points.
Overall, I do not intend to reply to all commentaries and criticisms except to offer the following:
* My decision to relocate to the middle bench is not a new decision. I announced that decision last September and have been conducting my affiliation in Parliament accordingly and I have provided an explanation of this decision in The National; 
* I have not joined the National Alliance or any party. I have, in fact, started a process to launch a new party. I have stated this in my previous letters to editor, yet those critics or commentators for their own political agenda continue to ignore that;
* In 2007, I campaigned and promised the voters of NCD that I would serve my term as governor of our city and I intend to honour that. Many a time, candidates make commitments during election and then renege on them as soon as they enter Parliament. I do not intend to do that. I campaigned on a basic social and economic platform that would not necessarily solve all the problems of the city but that would begin the transformation of our city. I am slowly but surely honouring that campaign platform through the various interventions and programmes I have set in place;
* I did not campaign much on a national platform as I contested as an independent candidate. I knew my chances or ability to influence national agenda or decision was slim given the fact that parliamentary decisions are influenced more by numbers than by merits and that the Organic Law on Integrity of Political Parties and Candidates makes it even harder for new alliances or formation to take place in Parliament that could give independents like me another platform to influence national politics;
* My strategy for the nation is to show good quality leadership at the city level and to implement a programme that can transform and change the city so that the nation can also change. I believe this is a plausible strategy as Port Moresby has a lot of influence and impact on national consciousness and trend. I am, therefore, sticking to that strategy and no amount of criticism will force me to change that;
* If the nation is not performing well, that’s a matter that political parties with numbers at Parliament level have to decide because, at the end of the day, decisions are made based on political parties with numbers. Individual MPs cannot influence such decision. This is one of the negative results of the Organic Law on Integrity of Political Parties and Candidates which I hope critics will understand;
*I have a lot of respect for my colleagues in the Opposition but what is the guarantee that if opportunity allows, they will not form a Government with those very people the public do not like who are now in Government? Will merits and quality determine the basis of a new Government or will numbers decide? From what I know and the reality of parliamentary politics, numbers will decide;
*I am not over-ambitious or power-hungry. I am ready to play whatever role our people decide that I can play at the national level. But right now, I am taking one step at a time and that means completing my term as governor and impacting our nation by the changes we can do in our city and the leadership I am providing. I want to lead by example and not by words;
*The fact that I am involved in the formation of a new party does not necessarily mean that I am bidding for the post of prime minister in 2012 or beyond. That’s something our people have to decide but if I have the numbers, I believe I am ready, willing and able. What I have learned and what is obvious as a result of the Organic Law on Integrity of Political Parties and Candidates is that you need to belong to a party and have numbers to have influence the formation of Government and parliamentary decisions and that is why I need to belong to a party by 2012 to have more influence on national decisions; and
*While I agree that we should aspire for the ideal, what the public and your commentators and critics need to appreciate is that Parliament is not a form by which ideal decisions are made. It is a forum influenced by numbers. What we ideally like or wish does not necessarily happen because at the end of the day, political parties with numbers dictate, not individual MPs.           
I hope the above will provide some reality check on those commentators or critics who might be sincere but perhaps naïve in not recognising the realty in which MPs work in or are allowed to perform under.


Powes Parkop
NCD Governor