A norm worth dying for: Life after Somare

By Countryside

Somare is indeed a shrewd politician and that is a fact.  Commanding calm, respect and power, he steered a formidable and determined opposition.  Admirers of this man are attracted to him for his reliance, opponents rebuke him of his craftiness and PNGns are divided in whether he is good for us or not.  The majority of our people know him as the founding father of our nation and that’s that.  They see him as an old wise man that speaks unquestionable wisdom and when he speaks, it has a power source that mesmerizes everyone.  A Sukundoumu indeed.

Having a rare privilege to brief him once, I was told that my 50 page brief needs to be condensed to 5 minutes as that is the concentration span of the old man.  I of course jerked at the thought of condensing an important policy position but that was the fact and off I went.  He picked up one issue where we spent a good 20 minutes on and that was how the people will benefit.  After consulting his advisors on the matter, he presented the policy position to cabinet. 

Clumsy, gibberish and not impressive in articulating the issues, the ministers got the message.  I couldn’t help noticing why this was the case, highly intelligent men and women in cabinet subjecting themselves to an ailing old man that although commands respect is woefully overwhelmed with national interest issues.  It was than I realized what PNG politics is, a rhetorical citation of subjecting men and women to a higher form of humility based purely on respect. 

The cabinet heard crap that day from this old man and why did they entertain it.  It wasn’t fear, it certainly wasn’t intellectual might.  They simply allowed the old man to be what he is because of respect.  Humility beyond reckoning and it almost has a religious pretext.   With this power, Somare wheeled good things and bad things.    Stability is his legacy and tragically, corruption and scandals are also his legacy. 

Like every PNGn, when we saw the photos of both camps last week, we all couldn’t help noticing Puka Temu’s Dream Team.  Intellectual heavies, business tycoons, courier public servants and acclaimed human rights celebrities.  This is the government PNG needs.  When we saw the Somare camp, we all agreed they are so overrated and change needs to come.  Built on ethnic lines, family connections, this is a dirty group.    

But again, the old man prevailed.  He hijacked parliament, killed the vote of no confidence and in a split second, has a four month siesta.  Why, because our elected leaders respect him.  When he does leave us and gracefully swims away to the resting place of the Sepik River, PNG will be scrambling for a new political norm.  Intellectual freaks will concoct flowcharts and dissertations of development, business tycoons will speak of making money, crime magnets will be interested in protecting their turf and social advocates will push for improvement in basic services. 

And in this mêlée of norm setting, billions of kina will be spent on out competing one norm to the other.  Advocates of the norms will become our next Prime Minister but wantoks, is the price of our sacred resources worth a new norm?  I don’t know, but I am comforted by the ever increasing desire for our men and women to bring change to our country and it is my prayer that as we go into a season of norm making, the righteous norm prevails.


Countryside makes an interesting comment that we have at one time or another come to know of what a overated old politician Somare is since Independence. The public has known this for many years but corrupt politicians are keeping the old man for their own wicked greed to steal from the national coffers (people's money).

It has nothing to do with respect but good government and Somare can not provide it yet the corrupt bunch of people around the PM are allowing the old man to keep holding PNG to ransom.

Many PNGeans don't give a rat's ass about him and his crook cohorts running our country down. The sooner he goes the better and it's no skin off anyone's nose.

PNG needs a good competent PM and leadership now not when the old man kicks the bucket.

When he goes I hope there is not much of anything on the streets and papers. No "chief",no "father of nation" grab mention, instead celebration of new era. By the way he is there only because he can buy his position with his hard ?? earned kina.

Please let us find a leader who serves our people rather than busy looking after the interests of foreigners, family and power/status seeking grasshoppers.

That is why he is known as THE GRAND THIEF!!!

Long Dispela as....em kisim displa title olsem The Grand Thief!!!

PNG needs a presidental system of government, we have enough of vote buying tactics, let the people choose and decide, i think we have had enough since independance, our people have suffered for so long, even the feeling of independance celebrations on sept 16 is nothing but all gabbage, rotten and recycles talk of vision, vision by our so called lidas, yes em tru yumi ken gat driman, tasol nogat passion na respect for our mama law na our country's rich kalsa na biodiversity then every developmen will go down the path it started, the vision 2050 will never bear fruit,its based on false idealogies and brings false hope na expectations, this country has already gone to the dogs, our leaders dont deserve our respect, besides, we always want to honour people, give them grand chief status but our people will continue to suffer, where r we heading?