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The Politics of destruction and denial

Commentary By Hon. Governor Powes Parkop

Demonising and denying the achievement of a political leader is the hallmark of PNG political culture. It is what I call "The Politics of Destruction", instead of constructive criticism with the goal of assisting the incumbent leader to become a better leader so he or she can deliver better results for our people and our nation, the political culture is predominately one of destruction. Destructive politics instead of constructive politics.

The character of this poltical culture is to deny all the positive achievement of the incumbent politician. Always noticing the bad, and seeing the worse in him. Only mentioning the bad and the evil. On the other hand, those who criticise and demonise our leaders are seen as heroes, as if they are the real leaders. Those who choose to cooperate or engage in dialogue or constructive engagement are considered puppets or brief case carriers. They are not good leaders. They have sold out their soul and should be voted out. They are the devil's incarnate.

So in this political culture, it is assumed that the critics are always right especially so in the ever growing social media. Those who disagree or show support and say good things about Government are singled out as puppets, as unaware of the truth and they are criticised or as if they have been bribed to do so.

These critics have not been screened to see what they themselves have delivered or if they have the ability to perform better. As long as they make a loud noise and denigrate others, they are seen as if they are the real heros.
The problem that we dont realise is that, 40 years on, this has become a vicious circle and a self-serving political culture that is contributing to failure of our country and our people. Today we demonise and destroy the incumbent leader by focusing on his or her negativity, his failures and his short comings and then we defeat him or her in the election, new critics arise to repeat the same cycle. Who wins at the end?

This destructive political culture must end, because nobody wins in the end. The Law of Attraction suggests that what you believe is what you get. What you put out is what you receive. So in this culture, we will only notice, attract and receive more of the negative destructive criticism that we put out. We will only reap what we have harvested.
We must realise that these elected leaders are put in there by the people. No matter how bad a political leader can be, he is still being put there by the favour and the mandate of the people. By criticising and demonising a leader, we inevitably are doing the same to the very same people who elected them in the first place. This makes us so impoverished mentally that in the end, no matter how wealthy we are, or how prosperous our country can be, we will remain in the heaven of poverty.
How I wish we are a bit more balanced, a bit more awakened, a bit more literate, a bit more educated and have a bit more ability to see the good, demand better from our political leaders, have a mentality of gain through positive pursuits by following our democratic laws and our Malenesian culture of respect and honour for our land, chiefs, family, community and also to our democratically elected leaders in office.

Politics is not an easy path. Many are called, but few succeed. Yet it's everyone's dream to be in a position of power to create change or to be a part of the solution to the management of a nation. The democratic process requires leadership to be by the votes of the people and so this is how the current political leadership is formed.
Now, a more constructive politics will be to support the leader, to support him or her in fulfilling some of the policies and development plans that had been agreed by a government caucus including the funds to manage these development goals for the highest good of the country.
Sometimes decisions may seem abrupt or unfair or inflated, but if we as a people can understand and see what we can gain from it (constructive) instead of what we are loosing from it (destructive) then everyone will win. Right now, we are loosing. And this can change to be more win-win.
Take the Paga Hill development for example, the Paga Hill settlers were offered houses, land titles to move amicably to Gerehu and 6 mile and to some other areas by the developers who had legitimate land titles over Paga Hill, who has gone through the right channels of obtaining government approval to develop Paga Hill; now for the illegal settlers, instead of wondering what more can I gain from this development in my city, how can I work with the government for the benefit of my children and for my future generation, they chose to fight, question the land title, they tried to stop the development, they were more concerned about what they are loosing. And truly, they lost. They refused to move, they refused housing, they spent a lot of money on court battles, and the legal owners persevered, went through the inconvenience of the petty fights of the settlers and they won in court and in the end, the development will carry on.
Now if the settlers were smart and cooperative and negotiated well, today the Paga Hill settlers could have been a model for government resettlement program on the public private partnership, they could have had title deeds, home close to markets and amenities and will not have a squatter status. In the end, our people are suffering exactly via this destructive way of demonising all good plans and goal by the Government.
And then when our people travel abroad and dine and wine in Cairns, Brisbane and ravel on the effective road systems, eateries, water fronts, facilities and infrastructure and modern amenities that marks a modern developed city, yet in their own country when government want to do the same, they create problems and set backs, question without basis or knowledge or simply support those who does nothing but judge and criticize. 
How are we then to progress? How can these elected leaders do their jobs without the constructive support of the people?

Politicians are not here to silent the majority of the people by giving them handouts or what they need, the money they request for their projects, or the contracts they seek, school fees for their children or the establishment of groups without any long term sustainable plans. We are not here to do that just because we are voted in. We are here to raise the overall standards of the nation by improving on systems, policies, governance, improve education, health, infrastructure, tourism, culture and many others.

Of course, there are times, we need to scrutinise our leaders if they fail to deliver especially if they are in Government. However, let us do so constructively so we can be effective in our scrutiny and criticism backed up with evidence. Let us do so by abiding the process that is in place to make them accountable, transparent and if need be, replaced.
In only 10 months, we are going back to the polls. Let us choose the right leaders, and put an end once and for all to this negative destructive style of politics. Let us change our mentality from 'lost to gain'. Let us be more focussed on what we can directly influence to make a change and support our political leaders positively to carry out his or her tasks and responsibilities, after all, you are the one that put him or her there in the first place

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