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Tuesday, 19 June




On Thursday (14/6/18) Waigani National Court dismissed an election petition challenging the 2017 General Election result of Southern Highlands Regional Seat.
The petition was filed by the runner up Joseph Kobol challenging Electoral Commissioner's (EC) decision on 28th September 2017 to declare the sitting Member William Powi as the winning candidate.
EC issued press statement on its website explaining that upon legal advice, the Electoral Commissioner Patilias Gamato applied section 175 of the Organic Law on National Elections under special circumstances to use the primary count (1 vote) results to confirm the declaration made by the former Provincial Returning Officer Jacob Kurap on Friday, 20 July 2017 at 4:04pm at the Momei Oval in Mendi.
"Tally calculations from counts 1 462 showed and justified that William Powi exceeded the required absolute majority with 91,745 primary votes to reclaim the SHP Provincial seat. Absolute majority was set at 86,761 plus one" statement said.
Joseph Kobol was declared the runner up polling 60,131 votes while Jerry Kiwai was third with 40,411 votes.
So was the decision even lawful?
The short answer is No.
The decision exercised by the Electoral Commissioner (EC) Patilias Gamato in declaring Powi the winner is perhaps the worst abuse of power by EC I have ever come across.
I say this based on the following facts:
1) Total ballot-boxes for SHP seat was 650 containing a total of some 420,000+ marked ballot-papers.
2) However, in declaring the Powi the winner the EC only considered ballot-papers contained in 462 ballot-boxes. This means the remaining 188 ballot-boxes were excluded.
3) According to the EC press statement it claimed Powi having secured 91,745 votes had exceeded the absolute majority of 86,761 votes and therefore declared the winner.
An absolute majority of votes is equal to 50% or half of the total number of ballot-papers counted. So when a person secures more than 50% of the votes counted he is declared the winner.
In this case EC is saying the absolute majority was 86,761 votes this means the total ballot papers counted would be equal 86,761 x 2 = 173,522.
4) If this was correct then of 420,000 votes cast 173,522 would only represent 41% with 59% or 247,500 of the votes were ignore...



Peter O'Neill has successfully silenced and neutralised three of his biggest and most vocal critics who were in the opposition benches in the previous term of Parliament.

With a highly corrupt and heavily manipulated election process, Don Polye stood no chance as O'Neill targeted his Kandep Electorate with very heavy police and military presence during election 2017. The result is that Don Polye was ousted under a questionable election process, the outcome of which is yet to be decided by the courts to this very day.

The court process to hand down a decision on the Kandep seat is being unnecessarily delayed and this indicates that the judiciary may not be operating freely from political control and interference. Kandep was one of the seats that experienced violence during the election and how they managed to conclude the election process and declare a winner remains a mystery.

Belden Namah and Sam Basil managed to get through the first hurdle by winning their respective seats. Both Namah and Basil were offered some kind of deal in the lead up to and formation of government by Peter O'Neill. I know because I was with both men in the lead up to formation of government.

Basil took the deal and made his move to join O'Neill in government but Namah being the warrior he is, refused the deal outright. He refused to submit to O'Neill's fear and intimidation tactics. What O'Neill offered was a chance to join him in government and if that offer is accepted, there was no doubt some form of reward for the MP.

When the offer was refused, as in the case of Namah, O'Neill then used every trick in the book and pulled every string available to him to go after the MP concerned. Belden Namah is still fighting his tribunal recommended dismissal from office in court.

In an interesting twist, we now see in the news that a vital piece of evidence in the Namah court case, the tribunal transcript has gone missing from his court files. There is little doubt in my opinion that forces are at play to ensure Namah is removed from Parliament and eliminated as a threat against O'Neill.

Patrick Pruaitch has been unusually quiet as an opposition leader and the reason is quite simple. Pruaitch has his own long outstanding leadership tribunal that is being c...

Monday, 18 June


We are a nation of weak, indecisive onlookers and observers who cannot stand united to achieve anything! "IndyWatch Feed"

When our university students protested against the corrupt government, and got shot by rogue policemen, the nation sat back and watched saying "em samting blong ol sumatin".

When policemen were shot and killed in the line of duty during the worst most corrupt elections ever, the nation looked on with disinterest and merely expressed passing sorrow and sympathy. Even comrades of the fallen men within RPNGC have not made any noise and to date, no one knows the status of these cases.

When Hela speaks up against the government and threathens to shut down LNG operations, they do it alone while the nation looks on with a shrug of the shoulders and again says with disinterest "samting blong Hela".

Now that Southern Highlands have said enough is enough and are protesting because they were denied their democratic rights to elect their leaders in a free and fair election, the rest of the nation simply look on from a distance and again say "problem na hevi blong Southern Highlands".

We all pretend as if we were never affected by the most corrupt election ever and that our lives are not being affected by corruption even right at this moment. We continue to remain silent instead of rising up in support of our brothers.

Maybe other provinces in PNG are benefiting from the PNC government and only Southern Highlands is missing out that's why we all remain silent and our silence is so deafening at this time

Change will never come to this country because we are too timid to stand up and fight for anything. We are happy to sit back and allow one man and his corrupt government to walk all over us again and again.

When will PNG rise up in unity and say enough is enough?? O'Neill feels so relaxed that he is happily taking some of the key Ministers and MPs he will need in the looming VONC on a taxpayer funded sight seeing luxury trip to China.

He knows that the weak and timid Papua New Guineans and their equally weak and spineless leaders will not have the guts to say or do anything while he is away.


My mother was lucky to survive giving birth to me in Papua New Guinea "IndyWatch Feed"

I was born in the small coastal village of Kivori, in Papua New Guineas Central Province. With no healthcare centre nearby, my mother gave birth to me at home, with the help of several traditional birth attendants as well as a traditional healer.

Instead of a delivery bed, an empty rice bag was spread on the ground for my mother to use during childbirth, and my umbilical cord would have been cut with a sharpened stick of a sago palm.

With no access to an ambulance and the nearest hospital and doctor a four-hour drive to Port Moresby, my mother would have been praying that there were no complications.

More than 30 years later, little has changed for the mothers of Kivori. Globally, and within the Asia-Pacific region, PNG has some of the worst maternal and child health indicators. At least one woman loses her life in childbirth every day. Most of these deaths are preventable.

It was on a visit to Australia last year that I was reminded how shocking the conditions are for mothers and their newborns in PNG. We may be Australias closest neighbour, with just 160km separating us, but the differences in our healthcare systems are like night and day.

The Royal Brisbane Womens Hospital has 410 doctors. This is only one of many hospitals servicing the city of Brisbane. The whole of PNG has fewer than 400 doctors, and my home province of Central Province has one doctor servicing almost a quarter of a million people.

In fact, the entire healthcare system in PNG is beset by shortages in doctors, nurses, midwives as well as facilities, medicine and equipment to make childbirth safer.

My village used to have a small aid post, but government funding cuts and a lack of trained staff saw it close in 2013. So mothers wanting to give birth in a healthcare facility must now walk 10kms to a health sub-centre. Here, they will find a building without electricity or running water, without mattresses for the consulting beds, and a severe shortage of proper medical equipment.

It is not uncommon for clinic to run out of medicines even paracetamol. There are only two staff working here with the same skills as a nursing assistant in Australia so clinic times are office hours only.

If anything should go wrong, the closest ambulance is a 45-minute drive away if transport can even be found. If they reach the ambulance, the cost of the journey to Port Moresby Hospital is around 200 Kina; the equivalent of over a months salary and completely unaffordable for the majority of families.

This dire lack of professional, accessible healthcare is why so many women from my village will choose to inste...


Resources curse PNG communities future "IndyWatch Feed"

Author: Michael Main. Source: East Asia Forum

Two recent reports on the massive ExxonMobil-led PNG LNG project have brought renewed attention to the undesirable economic and social impacts of Papua New Guineas largest-ever resource extraction enterprise. This research shows that PNG LNG has hurt, rather than grown, PNGs economy and that it has inflamed violence and tensions in the PNG highlands region. Papua New Guineas so-called resource curse has hit local communities the hardest.

Violent conflict in the PNG highlands, certainly among the Huli landowners of Hela Province where PNG LNG is based, has been an almost constant feature since before first contact with colonial forces in the 1930s. Levels of violence have fluctuated markedly in response to historical conditions. The 1970s and 1980s were relatively peaceful, as PNG transitioned from Australian administration into the early independence years. But local political frustrations combined with the introduction of guns led to high rates of violence in the highlands around the 1992 elections.

Since that decade, Papua New Guineas government services have been in constant decline. A new generation of Huli has emerged that is less educated than the generation of its parents Huli who were educated between the 1960s and 1980s are more literate and fluent in English than those who were of school age from the 1990s onwards. Health has deteriorated with a decline in health services and the introduction of store-bought processed food. By the late 2000s, when the PNG government was promoting the PNG LNG project as a looming economic miracle for the country, the Huli population was desperate for a project that they believed would raise them from the state of poverty and neglect that had gradually descended upon them since independence.

During the first few years of the PNG LNG projects construction, it looked as if all its grand promises were being fulfilled. ExxonMobil and its partners invested US$19 billion a staggering amount for a country whose GDP was a little over US$8 billion in 2009 (just before construction began). Cash was everywhere in the projects area, and this cash was accompanied by plentiful....




Attached below is the itenarary of perhaps one of the biggest delegations ever to depart the shores of Papua New Guinea.

Prime Minister Peter O'Neill and his wife Lynda May Babao O'Neill are set to lead the delegation of 91 Ministers, Members of Parliament and government and business leaders as well as Chinese business men and women on this week long trip from Wednesday 20 June to Tuesday 26 June 2018.
The traveling party consists of 41 PNG delegates and 50 Chinese delegates totaling 91, apart from support staff and media personnel.

The trip is estimated to cost around K6.8 million all to be paid for by PNG taxpayers. This is well above the K6 million approved to send in police and army to his Southern Highlands province to implement a state of emergency to quell the civil uprising which is reported to be getting worse by the day.

Citizens are free to form their own opinions about such an expensive trip where an entire Air Niugini 747 Jet has been chartered to travel with the Falcon to China and back to PNG via Singapore.
A total of 8 State Ministers, 1 Governor and 4 ordinary members of Parliament are accompanying the Prime Minister on this high level trip, which appears to be more of a site seeing trip for many of these MPs and Ministers as the countdown to VONC approaches.

The mind just boggles to understand where the priority of this Prime Minister lies. Is it in attending to issues in his own backyard or is it to go on yet another fancy and expensive globe trotting trip paid for by the suffering taxpayers?

Citizens and taxpayers can make up their own mind about what this trip is all about but personally, I see it as another act of sheer arrogance and defiance where police and army are sent in to a war zone to quell an increasingly volatile situation while the Prime Minister goes on yet another sight seeing junket trip halfway around the world courtesy of struggling PNG taxpayers.

IndyWatch PNG Politics Feed Archiver

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