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Monday, 19 February


Message from Tavolo villagers to Government: We did not sign SABL agreements "IndyWatch Feed"

Pepetua Marangona, Tavolo village, Pomio

Source: Scott Waide, My Land, My Country

Tavolo village in Pomio, East New Britain, is a place not many in Waigani know about.

Its tucked away along a patch of sandy beaches in between rocky shorelines that mark the border of East and West New Britain.

The people go on with their lives knowing very well not to expect any help from the National or provincial government. On the maps held by the Department of Agriculture and Livestock, Tavolo is part of a Special Agriculture Business Lease (SABL) in the Melkoi Local Level Government area.

Those who are pushing for the SABL to be implemented on Tavolo land, have probably had no contact at all with the people who own 18,000 hectares of land. They dont understand the peoples aspirations and they will probably defend the SABLs as a sound development option needed for the Tavolo people.

The Tavolo community is small. They have a population of 600 men women and children.

The ward councillor, Peter Kikeleng and another senior community member, Pepetua Marangona, asked me to take their message to those who authorised the Melkoi SABL.

The people dont want a 99-year Special Agriculture Business Lease over their land. They dont want the logging and the oil palm that is expected to come with it. They say that if any development is to come, they must remain in control of their land and that they have to receive direct benefits from the project NOT the crumbs.

When the police come, they beat the landowners because we speak out a lot about  land issues, she says in Tok Pisin. What answers does the government have for the shortage of land that we will face?

They have seen the situation in Pomio where large tracts of land have been logged and land taken away from customary landowners through SABLs.   They know about the communities that are being broken by the greed and court battles against each other.

They dont want that....


Schram wants to continue to make a positive impact in PNG "IndyWatch Feed"


On 15 February, the Council of the Papua New Guinea University of Technology (PNGUoT) decided to terminate my services, and gave me and my wife 7 days to ship out, and leave our residence on campus, where we have lived more than 6 years.

On 19 January I was given a mere 7 days to answer the allegations, and I managed to hand in my answers though incomplete before the deadline. I returned on campus from an engagement elsewhere with my wife on 23 January, and that same day the Acting Vice Chancellor Dr. Ora Renagi wrote
that I should stay away from the office. I was also denied an extension to prepare myself, and neither was I given access to important files in the Registry and Bursary regarding this case.

Council itself, however, acknowledged that the main ground for dismissal was that allegedly I did not present a certified copy of my original doctoral degree from the European University Institute. Here is a link to my thesis on the Institutes website This had been a
condition for my contract renewal in 2015. In an email dated 13 January 2015, I requested the renowned European University Institute, established by an international treaty, to send me two hard copies, one to my office in Lae and one to Cairns. Upon receiving the document in Lae, I handed it over to the Registrar. The other original I kept. Why would I do otherwise and self-sabotage
myself? And, why was this matter not brought up by the Registrar when later on 26 August 2016 I submitted myself to the Annual Performance Assessment, which lasted one whole day and was supported by an independent consultant?

I was interrogated by Council on 15 February, but without being told previously whether I was just to receive the decision of the council, had to answer questions or was allowed to give a presentation. I did not know what was going to happen. At no stage in this process, which started in October 2017, did the Acting Chancellor Jean Kekedo ensure I was involved in or consulted over Council proceedings? An investigation was launched, without a Council resolution and without my involvement. As a result, only convenient information was included in the report. Sam Koim reputedly is specialised in
fighting corruption, but he has no experience with the operation of a large organization or the running of a University. This is a clear breach of due process.

When crucial physical evidenc...


Where to now for Timor-Leste and its growing youth bulge? "IndyWatch Feed"

Francisco Guterres, the current President of Timor-Leste, recently dissolved the national parliament and has called for a fresh parliamentary election in 2018. This was declared on January 26th, only six months after our northern neighbour had what was arguably their most successful parliamentary election cycle in history. How did these turn of events happen, and how is this going to impact the growing youth bulge of this already struggling nation?

2017 was a big year for Timor-Leste, with both presidential and parliamentary elections held. The presidential election in March resulted in a win to Francisco Guterres, the first partisan presidential candidate to successfully win the popular vote. The parliamentary election of July saw an increase in voter turnout from the previous parliamentary election, and was largely successful, with little public unrest. In what later turned out to be a shock, the two largest parties, FRETILIN and CNRT, had a swing of votes against them. The increase of votes to the smaller parties of PLP, PD and KHUNTO ended up being the surprise success story of the election.

On top of these elections, other feats included the first LGBTQI+ pride march through the nations capital, Dili. The vocal support for Timor-Leste to become a member of ASEAN also became a heightened priority for the nation. August saw the launch of Kim McGraths explosive book Crossing the Line: Australias Secret History in the Timor Sea, an excellent expos detailing Australias duplicitous behaviour around negotiations regarding its interests in the Timor Sea. Coincidentally, several weeks after the publication and launch of the book, Australia and Timor-Leste reached an agreement over the Timor Sea boundary (although details are yet to be publicly disclosed).

Despite the promising start to the year, the concluding tale of 2017 was all but comfortable for the nation. After several years of a national unity government alliance between the FRETILIN and CNRT parties, the alliance, which was expected to continue, collapsed. CNRT powerbroker, former prime minister and former president, Xanana Gusmao, publicly moved to end the alliance as a result of the fall in public support to CNRT. Under the CNRT-FRETILIN government alliance, both parties had a stranglehold of seats in parliament (55 out of 65), effectively ruling out a legitimate opposition force at the time. The alliance discontinuation suggested the possibility of a ...


How SABLs are disrupting communities and creating conflict "IndyWatch Feed"

Source: Scott Waide, My Land, My Country

Chief William Ape Hawa is a straight shooter and a wise old fella who presents me with a shell necklace used as the local currency during important ceremonies. He apologizes for not giving me the gift the day before when I arrived at his Tavolo village on the border of East and West New Britain.

When new visitors come, he says in Tok Pisin, We give them a tanget headdress. That tells you that you shouldnt be afraid or shy. It means you are welcome.

Then before you go, we give you the necklace which means, go in peace.

Chief William speaks with a lot of wisdom and understanding spiced with wicked, truthful humor. He talks a bit about life and marriage of the young and then our conversation leads on to the Special Agriculture Business Leases (SABL) issued by the Government.

Tavolo is in the Melkoi LLG area of Pomio District, East New Britain. For the people here, the term Special Agriculture Business Lease triggers a lot of anger.

What kind of laws do we have? says Chief William. They tell us that our land is part of a SABL and we had no part in that decision!

Like many other SABL areas, other people signed on their behalf.

The Tavolo people who number about 600 own 18 thousand hectares of land. They have no intention of giving up the pristine rainforest over to the Malaysian company that intends to log their land and plant oil palm.

But Chief William and his people are under immense pressure to surrender their land.

There is oil palm development in neighbouring West New Britain. In the next local level government area which includes the district headquarters of Palmalmal, large areas of customary land have been logged out. Landownership is now being disputed in court. Much of trouble has come about because of agreements that were hastily signed.

Over the past 20 years, the people of Tavolo developed a conservation area over the 18 thousand hectares of land. The government recognised this. The decision has come with its benefits. Fish numbers have been rep...


How the elite profit while a nation suffers their incompetence "IndyWatch Feed"

Port Moresby, a city where the elite profit while the rest suffer the consequences of their incompetence

Imagine a company that is in debt, heavily in debt and still racking up more losses.

Imagine a company that in 2016 alone lost over K354 million.

Imagine a company where the total liabilities exceed the total assets by more than K218 million.

Imagine that this is a company set up by the government to manage a nations interests in its abundant mineral resources.

Now imagine no more and say hello to Kumul Minerals Holdings Limited, formerly Petromin PNG Holdings Limited.

The two numbers above are from Kumul Minerals Holdings latest Annual Return, which is for the 2016 financial year.

How could a company that,...

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Sunday, 18 February


Abuses in Foreign Missions "IndyWatch Feed"

The PM recently instituted an Audit into the operations of one of the Foreign Missions allegedly for disposing of state property without complying with due processes as stipulated under the Financial Management Act (FMA), Public Service Management Act (PSMA) and the Foreign Service Manual of Operations and other related guidelines.

This disposition and the subsequent audit carried out, as they say is Only the tip of the iceberg. Whilst waiting for the outcome of the audit, let us scrutinize some of the conduct of our Foreign Missions and its Officers at Post. The PNG Embassy in Manila Philippines will be in the uppermost list in official corrupt practices, abuse and mismanagement, especially of funds, allocated and funds generated through its Consular Services i.e. visa and Immigration services fees etc.

From the Ambassador down to all staff, each has a fair share of misuse and abuse. The Ambassador and his staff have no regard for the existence of the FMA & PSMA and the need to report to FA on its operations. Because the Ambassador is abusing his official position of trust, all officers want to have a fair share in this malpractice. It is alleged that a former officer of the Embassy has abused more than K500, 000.00 while serving there.

The Officer is alleged to have used the money for his/her over-aged children school fees and another extravagant lifestyle. The officer has since resigned or absconded from duties after returning from Manila. This officer is yet to be arrested and prosecuted, so far nothing has been done about this. Another female officer from the same Embassy has also used more than K100, 000.00 from the Embassy to purchase a Sports Utility Vehicle (SUV). A case of outright abuse.

When FA knew about this she was given a Letter of Return, however, this officer blackmailed the Foreign Affairs Secretary with her response by giving the notice to expose his alleged abuses of public funds whilst in Manila for personal business. In her letter, she has explicitly detailed all phone records of calls/SMS and directions given by the Secretary.

If she was to come back, the letter would have made headlines in all dailies and electronic media outlets. The letter was ccd (Copies circulated) to Chief Secretary, Ombudsmen Commission, National Fraud & Anti-Corruption Directorate. However, it is doubtful that this letter ever made it past Secretary Foreign Affairs.


Feminist Participatory Action Research and the localisation agenda "IndyWatch Feed"

Those of us in the development sector often talk about doing ourselves out of a job; it was even the vision of USAID Administrator Mark Green in terms of the objective of foreign assistance. However, the sticking point is that we may not really know how to achieve that ultimate end goal, and it also seems that very little that we do are steps towards achieving that goal.

In the humanitarian sector, there has been a lot of talk recently about the localisation agenda that emerged through the 2016 World Humanitarian Summit (WHS) process. There, at least, there are some agreed-upon processes, a movement even, that if implemented will lead closer to the local ownership and control of the process of development. You may be mistaken to think that the localisation agenda is all about the funds, and that has been the focus and sticking point in many discussions, justified by the report that in 2016 less than 2% of the annual global spend on humanitarian action went directly to national actors (by 2020 this should be 25%). However, localisation also has a political agenda it is also about shifting power relations and bringing decision-making down to a local level.

As the humanitarian sector starts to embrace (or at least discuss) localisation, questions should also be raised about the localisation agenda for development work. If the humanitarian localisation agenda is implemented after the crisis or disaster is addressed by local and national organisations, do we then expect to take that power away in the implementation of post-disaster development projects?

Feminist Participatory Action Research (FPAR) is an approach that presents strong potential for pointing us in the right direction. FPAR builds on research methods developed as Participatory Action Research (PAR) but integrates feminist perspectives and processes. With a deliberate focus on gender as an analytic category in order to strengthen participatory approaches to research, it ensures that the participation of women is not subsumed under that of the community. Therefore, FPAR ensures gender issues are included and localises research, and the programs it informs, in a way that a lot of current development practice does not.

FPAR is not like other research methodologies that see communities and women as subjects to be studied and researched they are not passive, but an integral part of the research process. The purpose of doing FPAR is to change systems and structures towards  the improvement of the lives of marginalised women, and the process emphasises local knowledge and understanding of...

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Friday, 15 November




Undoubtedly one of the earlier reform packages that Papua New Guinea Government adopted and has faithfully carried on with its reform plans and activities of the public sector is through training and workshops under auspices of the Service Improvement Programme. SIP is synonymous with the Public Sector Reform Management Unit, a reform arm of the Department of the Prime Minister and NEC. The Unit has been raised to the status of an Office of the PNG Vision 2050 by Prime Minister, Peter O Neill. Since the days of the then Prime Minister, Sir Mekere Morauta, the Prime Minister of the day has always taken on the responsibilities of reforms in the public sector.  From 2009 onwards reforms in PNG has reached its high, when the mega PNG vision 2050 was adopted.

Service Improvement Programme is organic, in that it address the changing events and mode of thinking, as well as packaging of how best, and why basic goods and services should be provide by the public sector bodies and not by others in a rapidly developing country like ours.





Going down the memory lane, history reveals that the establishment of the local government councils in PNG as we know it today may have its beginnings in Kainantu, Eastern Highlands Province. The late Sir Barry Holloway was said to have been instrumental in instigating this grassroots, community based empowerment programme. Today that legacy is being revisited by none other than Governor Julie Soso. The Soso EH Haus Man Model in planning is a practical realization of her own thinking whilst being member of Public Sector Reform Advisory Group some years back. The background to reviving local government councils in PNG was presented to Government in 2006, when Governor was a member of the PSRAG representing women in PNG.

By end of June 2013 all agencies of government including the provincial governments are expected to complete all their plans with the budget estimates for multiyear funding and have these submitted to the Minister for National Planning and Monitoring. That was an agreement that was reached at the fourth national leadership summit held in Port Moresby on the 4th of February 2013.This is the year of implementation.

The Governor for Eastern Highlands, Julie Soso Akeke was among the prominent participants at the summit and  she undertook to have her provinces integrated development plan  completed by June and will be submitted on time as expected by the Planning and Monitorin...



As the evening fog was hovering over, a short drive along the Surunki sub district road rehabilitation project came onto the full view of a visiting team of Government Officials from Waigani.  The twenty or so minutes of driving has just passed the Surukni Secondary School grounds on the way to a very fertile land capable of growing a dozen varieties of food crops and vegetables. Surunki Highlands is known for cultivating high grade potatoes.

On this Sunday evening the rains have begun, with the locals whispering about their fears that the lands below, wherein lies Lake Surinki, its shores are experiencing quick rise in water levels which might burst in time; affecting communities below on the banks of the Lai River System. The rise in water level at the lake has been caused by a land slide that has blocked the stream form the natural flow into the Lai River.

This short drive for sightseeing and mere discovery of the land off the main highway from Wabag to Porgera via Laiagam was intriguing as the local MP was investing in rehabilitating old, disused roads. Some signs of use of the DSIP funds. There were off and on conversations about economic and social development potentials of this area, like most parts of Papua New Guinea that have been left to own devices for decades.
In the course of this chilling evening tour, an interesting topical issue was brought; this was about all these monies going to the Members of Parliament, to Open Members and in 2013 the Governors now have their hands too in the till of the national government. Papua a New Guineans are again treated to the regular feed of news and views about politicians doing their rounds again pertaining to ceremonial ground breaking of projects, or reopening of half-finished classrooms and health centers of yester years. These activities of pulling crowds are fine, but there are still fundamental issues of accountability of public funds being disbursed, and of course the future sustainability of these projects.



TiikiiembShiiemb "IndyWatch Feed"

we are composed of all the teachers weve had since the day care or preschool, students spend more time at school than they do at home, every one of us here have attributes of educators in our lives, sure weve inherited genes form our parents but a lot of our characteristics and worldviews are shaped by people we interact with daily. With that being said, I believe right now , our young people really need us to be the best we can be, we need to be the disciplined and have a good work ethics  and display good leadership, we need to be the change that we want to see in our youth and the future generation of our people. Quote from Theresa Meki, Speaking at the National Education Conference, University of Goroka, July 2013.
A hugely serene scene, tone changing moment, when a young lady, a future leader of Papua New Guinea took the podium at the recently held national conference at the University of Goroka. She charged every Papua New Guinean to take heart and listen to her and millions of young people in this country. The topic of her statement was on the youths of Papua New Guinea, her experience as a peer educator in a University of Papua New Guinea run HIV/Aids Peer Education programme. According to Theresa Meki, this programme was truly remarkable and one of a life changing one too.

From a mix Gumine and Henganonfi parentage, the twenty five year old graduated with a political science degree from the University of Papua New Guinea at the end of 2010. Since her graduation, she has been employed by a project called the Pawarmeri, funded by gender division of Australian Government funded AusAid. The Pawameri is a collaborative project between the University of Goroka and Victoria University. In her portfolio Theresa underwent another life changing experience when she was one of a very few Papua New Guinean who was selected to take part in Oxfam International Youth Partnership Programme, commencing in 2010 and will end in 2013.


UKE KOMBRA....and TVET "IndyWatch Feed"

Our Government is emphasizing and actually allocating resources to
 ensuring access and quality education. Education Department cannot
 do it along in meeting demands; therefore we will have to work in
 partnership with everyone- provinces, Members of Parliament,
 community and even development partners. Minister James Marape
 is leading in making sure that there is dialogue and communication at
 all levels. Im pushing for greater recognition of TVET
Conversation with Dr. Uke Kombra, Mt. Hagen, 12th September

A prominent scholar and senior educationalist, and he is the number one promoter, Uke Kombra was at his best, when he spoke so eloquently and truthfully about his favourite subject, the Technical and Vocational Education; often referred to as TVET. Uke is now the First Assistant Secretary, the man in charge of TVET, and he who spoke at the occasion in Mt Hagen Technical College on Wednesday during the official ceremonial opening of the three projects funded by the people and Government of Australia to the tune of ten million kina. It is the beginning of the colleges modernization programme.

Hundreds of people, including children, local leaders and even singing and dancing groups from Morobe, Tari, Enga, Asaro and senor Waigani bureaucrats and development partner representatives took part in what was described as the most colourful event. It was also the time for celebration for a state institution that has suffered for years of neglect in terms of recognition and funding. The grant money from Australia, via the Incentive Funding Scheme came to the college, thanks to the sheer hard work put in by the administration and lecturers of the Mt. Hagen Technical College. That support for MH...


Temu Pkwaveto is Bulolo Lord Mayor "IndyWatch Feed"

An unassuming middle age man was leaning against a wooden pole of a housewin in the compounds of Pine Lodge in Bulolo. This is the venue of a three day workshop for Local Level Government Leaders which is being arranged by the Member for Bulolo and Deputy Leader of the Opposition, Sam Basil.

The Member for Parliament for Bulolo has decided that he would need to run a workshop for the newly elected LLG Leaders in his district; which is meant to take them through a number of important interventions; among which involve the need for leaders to be made aware about public financial regulations, not least of course is the recently approved and distributed financial instructions and the administrative directions issued by Government following the passing of the national budget that provided direct funding to Provincial Service Improvement Programme, the District Service Improvement Programme and of course the Local Level Government Service Improvement Programme. The workshop will run for three days, beginning Monday 26thand ending Thursday 29th August 2013.Other subject matter being addressed at the workshop concerned with the roles, responsibilities and mandate of the Joint District Planning and Budgets Priority Committee.

Anyway, the forty-five old man at the corner of a table, at a location arranged for the workshop is Temu Pkwaveto; the Mayor elect of the Bulolo-Wau Urban Local Level Government.Temu is from the Okanaiwa 
village in the Menyameya Sub-District of the Wau Bulolo Electorate. Many years ago, in 1981 Temu left school at grade six and went on to secure an employment as an assistant shopkeeper in at local trade store. In 1989, he decided to go on his own, so he started his own trading business in mini supermarket at Wau that has a population of about fourt...

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Monday, 29 July

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Monday, 22 July



At the age of forty three year Charles Akunai has tried many things in his life and career. He has played two times big time rugby, he has been an educator and school administrator for over twenty years, he also acknowledges as having been one of a consistent political activist in Eastern Highlands. Now he wants to be real, to contest and secure the headship of Goroka Urban Local Government Council. Charles wants to become the Lord Mayor of Goroka.

A week ago Charles resigned from his comfortable position of an executive officer for the School of Science and Technology at the University of Goroka, a job he has held for five years since 2009.In his past life Charles was a pioneer high grade player for Rabaul Guria for two years running (1988-89) when he was a student at Kokopo High School. Later he switched allegiance to play for his beloved home team, the Lahanis for three years from 1990-92. Die heart Lahani supporter of all Gorokans and Eastern Highlanders should remember their favourite son; Charles who played prop forward in the years he has played for the provinces much loved national rugby games competitor team.

Charles graduated with a Bachelor of Education degree in 1999 and went to teach in secondary and high schools in Eastern Highlands. Overall, he has accumulated a twenty five years teaching and administration of schools experience; some of the schools are located in remote parts of the province. Charles accumulated six years experience as a deputy Principal of number schools, which included Tairora High School in Obura Wanenara District, Rintebe Lutheran High School in the Unggai Bena District, and Onerunka High School in the Kainantu District. In various times in some of these schools he also served as the Principal. His last teaching post was at Goroka Secondary in 2008, before he joined the staff of the University of Goroka.

Speaking over the telephone, he gave reasons why this professional educator, cum big time rugby player decided to contest the politically glamorous seat of the Lord Mayor of Goroka. Here is the summary of the reasons that have prompted Charles to have a go at the seat of Lord Mayor. As a political activist, he has spoken out against politicians who have gotten votes from people, but have been living outside the province. These so called leaders would return to their voters after five years to beg for vote...



Prime Ministers: Peter O'Neill and Kevin Rudd
I feel insulted that my Prime Minister could easily, without ritual and pomp get on a plane, land in Australia and sign a deal that no one knew, even citizens like me woke up on a Monday morning only to read stories of what transpired between them- PNGPM Peter O' Neill and Aussie PM, Kevin Rudd. What do they think? Am I a piece of shit, that they hold me in contempt for being a citizen of an ancient sovereign nation of Papua New Guinea, not to know what the hell was going on in my front yard? I am angry. Observer at a popular night club, Port Moresby, 22 July 2013.

It is all nice and sweet talking about how important it is for Papua New Guinea to support Australia in this instant, the provision of a safe haven for those aliens seeking to enter Australia and live there as refugees. It is also amusing for those few Papua New Guineans, who feel that the country stands to benefit from the unlimited flow of cash and expertise to alleviate the majority of the poor to a level of an internationally recognized level of poverty line. Well these are all ploy and politically charged trickery. This is media hype meant for the meek and uneducated section of our national community. The truths have yet to come, if not now, certainly these will emerge in the not too distant future. Other consequences will take years...

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Wednesday, 26 June



Kombiam LLG Adviser, Tim Taesa
Not very many committed government officials would have clocked up

44 years of public service and Tim is not about giving up. He is about

Seventy years plus. He does not seem to be showing any signs of diminishing

as he is still kicking and doing his public service duties; serving the people of

Kombiam Local Government Council, which has 38 elected councilors and

two nominated members Statement by a colleague from Enga Provincial

Administration, Surunki, Enga Province 2nd June 203.




David Putulan for Rapatona LLG Presidency

For selective highlights Tiikiiemb Shiiemb columnist was able to obtain a brief about a number of candidates who have nominated to run for a ward as councilor, or a president of an LLG in Manus Province. To date the names that have been obtained are David Putulan, Parai Tamei, Michael Cholai and Sam Tasion for the Rapotona Local Government Council. Elsewhere on this island province there is Dr Pongi Kichewan from Timoenai Ward who has nominated to contest the post of the President for the Pobuma LLG on the West Coast of the main island of Manus. Other than David Putulan the rest of those named above have attempted the Manus Regional for the Governors seat in the 2012 national election.

This election for the third tier system of government has created such excitement and conditions, such as the allocation of five hundred thousand kina per LLG, that have presented attraction as well as the challenges to the learned and experienced men and women to return to their roots to rural communities to lead their people.

Rapotona LLG is made up of the islands of Rambutso and its fifteen islets, the other islands are Pak, Tong and Nauna. Rambutso has four Wards, while Pak has two wards, Tong and Nauna have one ward each, bringing the total wards to eight. Manus Province has 12 Local Government Councils. Located at Panusela on the island of Rambutso is the administrative headquarters of Rapotona LLG, which is the village where the favourite and more popular candidate comes from. Panusela is where the story about one vi...





In the 2013 LLG Elections, there are highly motivated, well-educated and knowledgeable professionals who are contesting the seats of the presidency and the ward councilors. As Papua New Guinea desperately needs to grow its quality, honest and transparent leaders, may be the LLGs can provide the environment and the home for identifying and growing such leadership


On a foggy Friday morning last week in Mt Hagen an unexpected encounter took place. Yours truly was out and about, looking for a photo scene to be placed along with a story about introducing head tax in the local government councils in Papua New Guinea for the Sunday Paper. From the blue, a presidential candidate for South Wiru Local Government Council, a 35 year old Mekop Poya from Mamuane village popped up. An impromptu conversation ensued.


The results of his grade six in 1978 has written him off, when he failed to raise high the level of his grades. Any hope of ever making anything in life for him and his immediate family was seriously impaired by one stroke of a pen that gave fail to his school marks. He was one of many that have passed through Tunda Primary School, somewhere in Pangia. And, there are still more passing out each year, and being graded as failures who join the army of push outs in this country....

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Friday, 14 June



Two types of people involvement can be beneficial for a long haul in political participation and rural development. Voting by people to elect their Ward Councilors and Presidents is a significant improvement in a democratic governance. Three is also the need to involve the same people to help generate sustainable income for the LLGs through taxation of a moderate amount Conversation with a colleague in Mt Hagen, June 2013.

Mt Hagen Urban LLG has assets and revenue base to sustain itself
Not long ago, Sir Peter Barter, then Minister proposed that a system of head tax be reintroduced in the local level government councils in Papua New Guinea. When the subject matter was introduced, there was a lukewarm reaction, and not much happened since. But in recent  times so many changes have been introduced, including a government decision to allocate, for the first time five hundred thousand kina to each and every local government council in the country. It is time that this subject is brought on for serious consideration by Government for a number of significantly beneficial reasons.

There is a talk, and may be that a definite decision would be made to introduce district authorities in PNG, possibly next year through a revised law that was introduced under the same name in 2006. Speculation is that the bill to amend the 2006 District Authorities law will be done in the coming September session of Parliament. When that happens, there will be an authority in place, with revised powers, composition, duties and responsibilities of the current Joint District Planning and Budgets Priorities Committee. One notable inclusion in the new arrangements under the District Aut...

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Tuesday, 28 May




Going down the memory lane, history reveals that the establishment of the local government councils in PNG as we know it today may have its beginnings in Kainantu, Eastern Highlands Province. The late Sir Barry Holloway was said to have been instrumental in instigating this grassroots, community based empowerment programme. Today that legacy is being revisited by none other than Governor Julie Soso. The Soso EH Haus Man Model in planning is a practical realization of her own thinking whilst being member of Public Sector Reform Advisory Group some years back. The background to reviving local government councils in PNG was presented to Government in 2006, when Governor was a member of the PSRAG representing women in PNG.

By end of June 2013 all agencies of government including the provincial governments are expected to complete all their plans with the budget estimates for multiyear funding and have these submitted to the Minister for National Planning and Monitoring. That was an agreement that was reached at the fourth national leadership summit held in Port Moresby on the 4th of February 2013.This is the year of implementation.

The Governor for Eastern Highlands, Julie Soso Akeke was among the prominent participants at the summit and  she undertook to have her provinces integrated development plan  completed by June and will be submitted on time as expected by the Planning and Monitoring Minister. Three months of serious work, the planning team from the EHP have been at work, collecting and authenticating st...

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Tuesday, 02 October


Day 3: Bill Ningur Upholstery Maker; and a dab of Truth "IndyWatch Feed"

There does not seem to be much change in the movement of the dial on the scale. It quivers undecided between 88kg and 89kg. Perhaps it does not want to disappoint me. But who am I trying to fool here? It has only been two days. I did not say I was on some miracle fad diet.

In any case, a digital scale would have given a more definitive reading. But I realized that this yearning for an absolute figure is not just some random desire that was borne the minute I stepped onto the scale. It is something inbuilt. Whether we realise it or not, it is that longing that ignites the urge for the absolute truth to give us that peace of mind. It is that age old desire to know.

The only truth right now is that THIS very moment is the truth, as you get bored silly reading this far, and are perhaps pondering upon the possibility that the person writing this may have gone slightly cuckoos after all. (Speaking of which, I still reckon Jack Nicholson in One Flew over the Cuckoos Nest was absolutely brilliant).

The only absolute truth is in the time between what has been and what will be; it is this moment the NOW. Our memories have been either tarnished or glossed over by prejudice while our visions of grandeur play surrogate to the truth of tomorrow. Absolute truth resides in this moment. That is why the Psalmist said Today if you will hear His voice, harden not your hearts (Psalms 95:7-8).


This reaffirms THE truth behind this truth. That the only ABSOLUTE TRUTH is Jesus (John 14:6).


Lets return to the matter on hand.

So before my daily weigh in, I had to pick up a half dozen apple from the nearby supermarket during my lunch break (I feel a post coming up soon on the state of affairs of the apples from Stop N Shop). On my way back I happened to be sharing the footpath with this fellow who was peddling some burgundy and red synthetic leather bags, so naturally I fell into conversation with him. It was then that I found out more about his wares that he actually sews these bags.

They looked quite a classy lot, them bags. Of course not Louis Vuitton classy, but str...

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Tuesday, 25 September


Day 2: Elijah Memedu Apprentice Electrician "IndyWatch Feed"

I am into my second day and the scale reads 88kg. I dont know if that is the truth or if it is only me with a bit of wishful thinking.

No matter, after leaving office at around 1726 hours, I happened by an old friend of mine. Hes a caricature artist by the name of Charles. (I think folks over at Sunday Chronicles hire him to do cartoons and stuff). So Charles tags along with me on this one.

Not long after I meet this sharp little kid of 4 by the name of Jaybes. He and his mom Maria were on their way into (that rather detestable) Vision City. I had a quick chat with them and took their photos but, sad to say, I forgot to get them to sign my release form so I will not be putting up their faces here.

Elijah Memedu is from Goroko and Alotau

Elijah Memedu is from Goroko and Alotau

Further down the road, just before reaching Waigani* I bump into Elijah Memedu.

Well in fact Memedu was about to overtake me when I introduced myself and told him about what I was up to and if he was interested and he seemed fairly keen. By then even Charles lit up to the game and fell into beat with some support remarks on the side.

At 16 years of age, Elijah is a trainee electrician doing his apprenticeship with...

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Monday, 24 September


Day 1: Kure Yosi Social Worker "IndyWatch Feed"

Weighing in at 89 kg, the first day of my 30 Day Challenge kicked off to a rocky start but I never expected it to be a walk in the park either. It was a walk nevertheless; and it will be so for the next 30 days.

The first person I bumped into was this office worker type in Westpac bank colours. Opening with a courteous Abinun, bro, I observed on the traffic congestion in the manner of small talk.  But I may have introduced myself too soon because I could see that he was all suss about me from the way he eyed me.

You could tell he was thinking, Who is this mausgrass psycho and what manner of scam is he peddling? He had a polite wall up, which he successfully marshalled with a brisk pace for much of the way so I let him be.

Day 1 - Kure Yosi

Day 1: Kure Yosi of Lufa in the Eastern Highlands

But then I caught up with Kure Yosi.

Kure seemed a friendly chap from the word go, all the way to the North Waigani traffic lights where we parted company.

He was walking with a very slight limp that I later found out to be a sprained ankle.

At 33 years of age he works as a Youth Officer at the National Capital District Commission. Hailing from Lufa in the Eastern Highla...

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Friday, 21 September


Painting my 30-day Challenge with Faces "IndyWatch Feed"

Thats it, Im done talking politics.

Well most of the time Im either quoting someone or blogging a gripe. And I hate to see myself as a person who sees the glass half empty all the time. Although the system and the gremlins that work the system are largely responsible for fueling my words.

But that is not the point of this post. Folks over at Stella Mag recently brought to my attention this super cool idea of doing something out of the ordinary for 30 consecutive days. (By the way, that is one cool magazine you should get your hands on or better yet, subscribe to).

So here I was on Independence Day, trying on for size ideas for endeavours that anyone who knows me would not normally find me doing. And no, I am not going to go to work dressed as Zorro for the next 30 days (although I know of some who would in a heartbeat if they could).

However, I was toying with the idea of bungee jumping every afternoon. Unfortunately I had to forgo that idea for the simple fact that my afternoon schedule could not fit in a trip to the white cliffs of Vararaita National Park and back; and I have not even factored in the time it would take to strap on the gear. Yeah, sound check and all.

On a similar note, I sadly had to cross off a daily round of BASE jumping and croc-wrestling as well. During this brainstorming session, my patriotic zeal got lost somewhere in the mix, and I noticed my shoe lace was undone so I reached down to tie it. It was then, as I bumped into my gut, that I knew I had to do something about my expanding midsection.

Here was something practical I could embark on without unnecessarily creating a hole in my pocket, not to mention drastically reducing my lifespan. So I have resolved to do something about my weight with the help of the trusty old bathroom scale.

My modus operandi is quite elementary really. It is good old fashioned walking coupled with a simple garden diet.  So instead of hopping on a vehicle, I plan to walk home every day after work. Plus I am going vegan for a month to boot!

Weighing the pros and cons, the only negative aspect of walking is that I might suffer a little discomfort from the sweat and the strain of my backpack. But I can stand my own sweat than to have my olfactory receptors assaulted by the collective body odour and goodness knows what else 35 people and an bus offsider who has not touched a bar of soap in more than a month can cook up in a crammed bus on an equally crammed road.

Or shall I factor in the PMV experience of having ones ears mercilessly assailed by a badly strung c...

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Tuesday, 31 July


Juffa clears the air on the Third Corner "IndyWatch Feed"

Gary Juffa has come out with a statement to clear the air on the supposed 3rd Camp as posted earlier.

In any case, I wouldnt mind seeing Juffa as my Papua New Guineas next Prime Minister. He has what it takes to save this country from certain doom.

On a side note, those two lead figure who orchestrated the whole political crisis not too long ago, making Papua New Guinea the laughing stock of the world by blessing us with the #WhatElseCanPngHaveTwoOf  tag, have now kissed and made up in Alotau, Milne Bay Province. But that is all old news, right?

Anyway, forget them. Heres what Mr Juffa had to say.

Hi people.

There is so much rumor and rhetoric in the media and here that I believe I would like to substantiate and spell out some facts about my part and role in what is happening in Eastern Highlands.

Firstly, I am NOT part of the Eastern Block. I am here to support my Regional Candidate Sam Sii. I am here with Governor elect for Morobe, Hon. Kelly Naru who is a friend by the way and we embrace certain values and principals much of which the members here do as well.

We are also collectively concerned about certain national issues such as the granting of citizenship to

  • Djoko Tjandra
  • and in my specific case the Naima Rice Monopoly Project
  • and the Seabed Mining Project and
  • such other issues which we here have spoken about and are concerned about.

I am NOT forming a group as an alternative government and I am not lobbying for the PMs job I am just speaking to like minded elected leaders and discussing how best to approach our common concerns and how best we can represent our people in our electorates, our province and our country.

I am NOT with John Kerenga GUL and with due respect to him and his group, have my own stance that I will take into parliament and again, I do not intend to deviate form what I believe in and have spoken against here or anywhere.Gary Juffa ~ Oro Province Governor-elect*


Filed under: Papua New Guinea, POLITICS Tag...

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Monday, 30 July


Camp Juffa: The Third Corner "IndyWatch Feed"

With August 1 announced as the official date of the Return of Writs by the Chief Electoral Commissioner, Andrew Trawen (who I think should be given the sack anyway), power play heats up for government formation as we see all of them old dogs, Somare included, team up with ONeil as a formidable force and the most likely camp to be invited by the Governor General to form the next government.

On the other hand, Belden Namah, brash as ever, stands undeterred he will be the next PM. Comments on the ground and on social media as well as from the news reflect the general concession that in PNG politics, anything goes. It goes without saying that a tactician such as Namah still has a few tricks up his sleeves.

But that is not the reason for this post. Papua New Guinea has had it with the two lots of groupings or blocs as theyd rather be known; and with all the shades they come in (shady indeed!).

The gist of this post, however, is the confirmation of a rumoured third camp as mentioned in todays Post Courier (30/7/2012) on page 6. The third camp is reported to be in Goroka in the Eastern Highlands Province. It is being led by two fresh faces in PNG politics. Oro Governor elect, Gary Juffa, and lawyer/philanthropist, now Morobe Regional MP Kelly Naru.

Here now is a chance for all newly elected members to put their money where their mouth is and start over on a clean slate. To stand up for better change and to lead this country forward with a fresh faced government devoid of the miasma of corruption and all the trappings of PNG politics.

In my personal opinion, it would be the sensible thing to do and the best decision for this nation, if we could have all the Independent MPs and other smaller political parties to consider siding with this camp. I chance upon this opportunity to call out to the likes of Loujaiya Toni, member elect for Lae, to consider this as well.

Without further ado, here is a statement by the newly elected Governor for Oro Province, commenting on the establishment of the third camp Camp Juffa.

Let me say that we in Goroka are discussing how best we can serve the people of PNG, to represent them and not abandon them and their dreams and hopes, to fight for them and to ask the pertinent and controversial questions that the people of PNG are anxious for answers tosuch issues that I personally am concerned about are need answers such as the granting of citizenship to a international criminal fugitive (PALA), the plans to monopolize rice commercialization for a Chinese Indonesian Company only (TEMU), to demand that actual and thorough investigations be conducted into the controversial issues that have cost the nation and indeed the people substantial amounts of money, the r...

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Thursday, 21 June


Gonols cringe-inducing policy statement "IndyWatch Feed"

This letter serves as a readers feedback on a full page advertorial which appeared on page 56 of The National on Monday, 18 June 2012, by Mr Lawyer David Gonol.

With all due respect to Mr Gonol, I must say that write up alone has left me questioning his viability as a potential Governor of Western Highlands Province; or as he so arrogantly puts it, the Governor in waiting.

Given his profession and the office that he is running for, I expected an article that was intellectually scrupulous as well as grammatically refined. For a policy statement if it can be titled as such at all it failed on both these fronts and instead, left me cringing right from the opening line all the way to the part where The plant and animal kingdoms [sic] of Tambul/Nebilyer, Mul/Baiyer, Dei Council and Hagen Central decided to join the party.

If Mr Gonol is reading this, then I suggest he fire his publicist for doing him the disservice of dressing him in a court jesters garb with this sad case of a media release. After that he can go ahead and fire himself for even sanctioning such a write up to see the light of day in the first place.

This has certainly raised the bar of corny drivel to the next level and has debased our collective intelligence, allowing them to further condescend to us.

Grow up already, PNG.

Monday, 21 May


Seriously EMTV: Can we get any lamer-er? "IndyWatch Feed"

The following comment was picked up from Facebook, and sad to say but Im not surprised at all.

EMTV once again takes the honours for being a DUD for a TV station.


EMTV(John Eggins) interview of PO (Peter ONeil) last-night was a big let down. I expected tough questions from Eggins but instead got such a soft kiss-a$& interview. The background video conveniently skipped the NPF chapter of POs life, and Eggins never asked about the controversial laws made by the ONape Parliament, nor his method of gaining power.

Looks like we can expect same treatment of all other Interviews in the Election Focus series.


Oh how I long for gutsy journalism.

by Tokaut Tokstret


yeah and give me QUALITY!


  • * EMTV ELECTION FOCUS is one of this TV stations lame concoction to cash in on the election fever.
  • Give me #QandA any day and I promise you  Ill shut up. I swear.


Filed under: Papua New Guinea, POLITICS Tagged: Election Focus, EMTV, John Eggins

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