The National, Tuesday December 17th, 2013
I HAVE been disappointed and quite frankly appalled of late by Peter O’Neill’s lack of respect and empathy in his responses to fellow parliamentarians and private citizens.
The recent PNGSDP saga and the back-and-forth bantering between the government and the opposition during parliament sessions are just a few examples of the prime minister’s arrogance.
Any human being, sane or otherwise, will attest that respect is a two-way process; you give in order to get.
Regardless of views, gender or station, everyone deserves respect and the prime minister’s position as the highest echelon of authority in this country is held in the highest regard by its citizens.
Therefore, a reciprocated effort is not only expected, but required of O’Neill towards his supporters and critics alike.
Emboldened by this recent amendments to the Constitution to solidify himself as the prime minister, his rebuts during debates and media releases are nothing more than derogatory retorts and slander.
His attacks and ridicules of Sir Mekere Morauta is a clear example, when the former prime minister expressed his entitled views as a private citizen and PNGSDP chairman, arguing the merits of the Ok Tedi issue, which O’Neill countered by having Sir Mekere’s claims refuted, credibility questioned and reputation tarnished.
Furthermore, O’Neill’s ill-attempted humorous suggestion that Belden Namah needed psychological evaluation during a recent parliament sitting implied that the opposition leader was intellectually handicapped and therefore unfit for office.
Such statements are uncalled for and demonstrate immaturity on O’Neill’s part and are unbecoming of a leader.
The one-sided government that is full of the prime minister’s sycophantic cronies and the non-existent Ombudsman Commission and other useless institutions empowered to maintain the system of checks and balances are really a worrying sign.
Therefore, it is a relief that concerned leaders are airing their views on these issues.
Granted, Namah may have his shortcomings, as apparent in his absent decorum and improper etiquette for parliamentary conduct, but his straight-shooting antics on the other hand, is in my opinion the last line of defence against a democratic government sliding into autocracy.
It is incredible just how quickly the tide turns and the dog bites the hands that feed it, for just two years ago in Aug 2011, Namah and Sir Mekere were instrumental in O’Neill’s ascension to the throne.
However, today, they are at loggerheads on opposite ends of the spectrum.
But hey, that is politics as the famous saying goes, “Every dog has its day”.
Ferah Kaina, Via email