Opposition must review its priorities

Letters, Normal

BULOLO Sam Basil claimed that the Opposition was “misled” into agreeing with the Government when they block voted 83-0 to amend section 27(4) of the Constitution to remove the powers of the Ombudsman Commission.
His comment showed how far the integrity of our Members of Parliament has eroded.
The bill is simple, even a layman on the streets can understand the implications.
The only problem was Speaker Jeffery Nape’s arrogance to deny proper debate (on the bill) and many “illiterate” MPs failed to realise the import of the bill as the NA-led camp moved to bulldoze the bill through and cripple the OC.
All MPs are given in advance all bills to read and comment before the first and second reading.
This is a time when an MP review the implications, weigh the pros and cons before voting for it.
As such, for the Opposition to claim that it was ill advised and misled is totally absurd and unbelievable.
It clearly demonstrates the incompetency and ignorance of our MPs.
Papua New Guineans must be aware that should this bill be passed, it is certainly not in the best interest of the people but for the selfish and power-hungry individuals who think they own PNG and can manipulate its systems for their personal gains.
The fact that this amendment has reached the stage where it is now shows the egotism and ignorance of the so-called political elites.
This is a worse-case scenario for both the backbenchers and Opposition who failed to fully understand the implications and import of the bill before voting.
The Opposition should now rethink its priorities on whose side it belongs.
Are they envying the power and pleasures while the grassroots suffer?
The decision to curb the Ombudsman Commission’s powers is a massive step forward for a defective and a rogue nation.
In today’s world of politics, leaders step aside even for a minor allegation or rumour.
However, this is something PNG has yet to learn and embrace.
The Government’s response to this as “perceived injustice with murderous nihilism”.
The ombudsman concept mushroomed throughout the world in the 1960s where independent officers, whose job was to investigate complaints about the exercise of powers by the government and its administration, with a minimum of fuss and formality.
Emphasis was placed on searching for “the truth”.
An ombudsman determines whether a complaint is justified.
And if it is, recommendations are made for prosecution purposely, aimed at correcting injustice.
However, the Ombudsman Commission of Papua New Guinea was envisaged as the institution that would provide a quick, flexible means of redress for aggrieved citizens suffering from administrative and political injustice.
The OC was seen as the institution that would assist ordinary who felt aggrieved by actions or inactions of the bureaucracy of any institution of Government.
It forms an integral part of the system of checks and balances that have been put in place by the Constitution to regulate the governance of Papua New Guinea.
That is exactly what OC was doing until the Government decided to amend its roles, consequently politicised and catalysed the whole sculpture of OC’s responsibilities.    
The commission was also established to guard against the abuse of power by those in the public office and assist those exercising public power to do their jobs efficiently and fairly and impose accountability on those who are exercising public power.
All in all, the OC’s vision was to promote good leadership and good governance.
However, the NA-led regime has totally changed the tide of democracy and has launched an authoritarian system of governance.
The ordinary citizens of PNG must rise up and fight for justice and fair play and in the best interest of this nation, the Opposition must not change lanes.


Mehrra Minne Kipefa