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Who Is a Great Leader and Who Is a True Leader in Papua New Guinea?

By Lucas Kiap 

We Papua New Guineans love our dear leaders and we always trust them in every word they say and in everything they do. For over the 38 years, we have come to embrace them as our leaders of our beloved country. Though I used to think like that as a small boy but more than a decade ago after being educated and learn from the world around me, I came to realize a dark side of our dear leaders. 

Just recently we have been caught surprisingly in a war of words between the current Prime Minister Peter O’Neil and the former Prime Minister Sir Mekere Morata over the takeover of OK Tedi Mining Limited by the government and subsequently the PNG Sustainable Development Program with the billions of funds parked in that long-term trust fund. 

The former Prime Minister is accusing the current Prime Minister of trying to lay his dirty hands on the funds to steal them while the current Prime Minister is accusing the former Prime Minister of cowardly bowing down to a foreign multi-international corporation and let it (BHP) exited without paying compensation for the massive and unforgivable environmental damages. 

This is not the first time you hear two Prime Ministers accusing and exposing each other’s of their worst secret sins. In 2007 there was a similar outburst by the then Prime Minister and Father of the nation Grand Chief Sir Michael Somare. He accused Sir Mekere Morata and Sir Julius Chan, another former Prime Minister of wrong doings.

The Grand Chief accused Sir Julius Chan of killing or trying to kill innocent Bougainvilleas by bringing into the country the Sandline mercenaries during the height of the civil war in Bougainville. He also accused Sir Mekere Morata of ordering the killing of innocent UPNG students during a protest in Port Moresby. By accusing them he branded them as murders of their own people. 

The Grand Chief accused these two leaders when he was accused by them of breaking PNG’s laws by unlawfully ordering the escape of an international fugitive (Moti) to the Solomon Island’s using one of PNG’s Defense Force Air Crafts. Moti was the man wanted by the Australian Federal Police over child sex charges committed in Vanuatu, which his alleged escape from the country had caused overheated of the relationship between the two great neighbors. 

It may seem after all they are leaders talking for the good of the country but none of them would ever come out and accuse each other when they are serving under the umbrella of the same government. The only time they would come out and accuse each other is when they are in the opposition or placed in contrast with their own interests. 

As a Christian country, we shall not kill, steal or break a law but if our leaders accuse themselves as criminals, murders and lawbreakers, are they not questioning their own credibility and integrity as leaders with their Sir titles? It’s not me questioning their achievements. It’s them questioning each other’s achievements by revealing their own worst secret sins. 

After carefully analyzing what our leaders say against each other, it is quite disappointing to rank their leadership, though some people in PNG rank them as great or true leaders. We Papua New Guineans may have a lot to learn about the real meaning of leadership in the country but the world around us know more than what we know about our own leaders. 

PNG Anti-Corruption Movement for Change (PNGACMC)

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