THE proposal by Prime Minister Peter O’Neill for four special regional seats for women in our national Parliament is an interesting subject and should be debated by all Papua New Guineans before the 2022 national elections.
To me this proposal is bad and we must not entertain it at any cost.
Can anyone tell me which parliament in the world allows non-elected leaders to sit as members of the House?
And what about the people living with disabilities, churches, youths, NGOs and trade unions? Are we going to give them the same treatment as we plan to give our womenfolks?
Members of Parliament are elected by the people to represent them and our womenfolks should go through the same election process as our menfolks and let the voters decide at the ballot box who should sit in Parliament.
The problem we have with women’s lack of representation in Parliament lies with the people who are not casting their vote in favour of women, so we need to educate our people to understand that women can be good leaders, as other countries have found.
Papua New Guinea’s political system and structures must not be seen as promoting regionalism, instead it should promote unity under the principle of one people, one country.
It is also not fair that other men and women should contest the election under their own steam and then see these four seats gifted to women who have not won the popular vote.
These four women’s place in Parliament will not be decided by the people but will be given to them by the Electoral Commissioner on a golden plate and based on his or her judgement, and the majority of people in the region they represent may not even support them.
Our women are already being represented by provincial governors and open electorate MPs who are voted into power during national elections every five years.
My suggestion to the government is to abolish the provincial seats and create more open electorate seats before the 2022 national polls to create a fairer representation in Parliament.
The current governors can also contest the open seats and continue to serve our people and country.
Once we abolish the provincial seats, the governor can be elected through the provincial assembly in the same way members of parliament elect the prime minister and local level governments elect their president.
All members of parliament should come before the people who should decide through a national election process who they wish to represent them, be it male or female.
Let all right thinking Papua New Guineans stand up without fear or favour and talk about important issues instead of coming up with stupid ideas that will destroy this country and our future generations.
Samson C Napo
Former Bulolo MP