The Political Circus that is the O’Namah Government

Last week PNG experienced a political week from hell, and today’s protest march against the deferment of General Elections 2012 and the implementation of the Judicial Conduct Act 2012 was a visibly emphatic and clear message to Peter O’Neill as to how the people of PNG feel about his government’s actions.

The actions and decisions of the O’Namah coalition has shown up Peter O’Neill as a man whose promises can no longer be believed in totality, but instead – rather, any commitment he now makes must be taken with a grain of salt, and be received tentatively, with one eye on the future and the other on the past.

This class of government within the PNG political-context cannot last long.

There are already signs emerging that there is significant internal conflict within the O’Namah coalition – the crux of the concerns swept under the rug being centered around controversial Deputy Prime Minister and leader of key coalition partner, the PNG Party, Belden Namah.

This reaffirms my view, as I’ve written before, that Peter O’Neill’s days as Prime Minister are numbered.

Belden Namah, along with Parliamentary Speaker Jeffery Nape, were the first members of parliament to publicly voice their support to differ the elections, hence Namah is viewed by many as being the key principal behind Parliament’s initial decision last Thursday to defer elections by six months.

Reviewing O’Namah’s term in government since August 2, 2011, it is quite clear and despite feigned support, Peter O’Neill will be more aware of this than anyody else, that Belden Namah has remained a constant menace to his government’s stability and the biggest threat to its success.

So why has Peter O’Neill put up with his ignoramus deputy?

It is my view that the pressing requirement to be in government leading up to elections has comprised the substance of O’Neill’s government.

In other words, O’Neill is reluctant to rein-in, discipline, or ultimately remove Belden Namah as Deputy Prime Minister, despite his significant transgressions which do warrant some form of political discipline, because the risk of losing control of the government is one which he would rather not entertain.

It is politically expedient for Peter O’Neill to put up with Namah’s antics and to hope that the worst has already happened.

Sadly, this has brought O’Neill’s integrity and reputation into question, and it has also highlighted the leadership woes plaguing the current government, or the apparent lack of leadership within, as a result of O’Neill’s willingness to accept mediocrity for the advantageous position of being in government for the elections.

Nothing illustrates Peter O’Neill’s lack of control within his coalition government better than the tabling of the motion last week Thursday in parliament which deferred elections by six months.

Peter O’Neill took part in that vote which passed the House 63 to 11 following a 90-minute debate. He stood and voted for the suspension, but did not address parliament. Parliament also voted to order electoral commissioner Andrew Trawen to ask Governor-General Sir Michael Ogio for the suspension.

Two days later and O’Neill had done a complete back-flip stating that instead of a six month deferral, he wanted an early election because he believed that:

“Parliament was not fully briefed on the status of the preparations of the elections by the chief electoral commissioner”.

He also stated that the initial motion was not approved by the NEC prior to its tabling.

Then today, when addressing the multitude of protesters at Sir John Guise stadium, O’Neill stated that:

“Parliament does not have the power to direct the electoral commissioner [and that] Parliament will not interfere with the electoral commissioner”.

This contradictory habit which has proven to be endemic within the O’Namah experiment thus far has severely brought into disrepute the credibility of this government to handle the affairs of the nation.

Furthermore, the symptoms of this political circus has manifested itself at the top echelons of PNG politics for the world to see – with Peter O’Neill’s repeated indecisiveness also bringing into question his leadership as Prime Minister.

It is becoming more and more clear that O’Neill has a weak grasp on his coalition and that he is being driven and directed, beyond his control or sphere of influence, to take part in actions which he may not agree with or even be aware of.

In addition, those once credible leaders who decided to switch sides have now been made to look like fools and at least complicit in the political circus that has engulfed PNG.

Ironically, the only thing for certain now is that the political circus that is the O’Namah Government will do as many back-flips, juggling and disappearing acts as required, despite their displeasure of each other, to allow themselves to remain in power for the elections – not for the people of PNG, but for own personal interests.

~ by Tavurvur on April 10, 2012.

7 Responses to “The Political Circus that is the O’Namah Government”

  1. Tavurvur, I will be on the next boat to Australia as an Asylum Seeker. My democratic rights are being taken away from me. And No, I do not want to go to the Manus or a Pacific Processing Center.

    Australia send your Foreign Minister over for a visit, before the boats start arriving. He was right the first time around, Our Government has really lost the plot…please.

    • No doubt there will be a number of our people who will feel that the last weeks in PNG politics have just been too much.

      A lot of my readers and Twitter followers have expressed severe frustration at what has happened, and despite the success of the consequent protest marches, most feel as if things have not at all changed.

      I’m a believe in sticking through with things and that process trumps outcomes.

      There already are a handful of court challenges in place regarding some of O’Namah’s decisions – hopefully these can be acted upon quickly.

  2. Excellent piece the Tavurvur.. Oneil has definitely proven to be a rather blatant liar that should not be holding the highest office in the land…the PMs office has been brought into Disrepute. These O’Nama regime ‘stole’ the throne so to speak, they were never given the mandate to govern at the polls, hence the obvious lack of respect they have for the offices they hold, the constitution and the peole… The are thieves and we are been lied to, blackmailed, fooled etc etc.. We are becoming a laughing stock in the eyes of the international community..

    • I agree that what has happened thus far has indeed brought the Office of the Prime Minister into disrepute.

      You also make the point of our international relations. Some of our international partners must be wondering what the hell is going on here in PNG.

      Australia has continuously urged PNG to hold democratic elections on time – as we have always done since Independence.

      We need to honor this commitment.

  3. How serious are the signs that there is cracking going on within the O’Neill/Namah government?

    Do you think something will crack prior to the elections?

  4. […] wrap up of the behind the scenes shenanigans contributing to the events of late, which you can see here and Alexander Rheeney has a good write up about today here. But in a nutshell, Effery Dademo of […]

  5. Today highlights the interesting growth of people power which began to take shape during the height of the Constitutional crisis last year. One has to ask though whether all this people power in PNG politics spill over into election choices if and when we vote?

    I certainly hope so.

    Thanks to everyone yesterday who participated in mind and body, we are beginning to see the PNG public very slowly beginning to voice what they don’t want.

    Now we need to articulate the future that we do want!

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