|Villagers at Kelerakwa in Abau Open Electorate queing at the polling booth . pic by Vespa|
Tuesday, June 26, 2012
Money and Political Capital in PNG
My name is registered in the common roll for Port Moresby North-East even though quite frankly, i never enrolled myself. So some dodgy folks had my name placed in that list amongst the sheep.
The only real vote anyone can have in this land is a vote with their wallet. The value of your vote is directly proportional to the size of your wallet. Basically, it's a case of the miners having a greater say due to the greater proportion of the national budget being mining revenue.
Now wallet size matters to the elite who live in Waigani and make life miserable for all you sheep. In fact, if the size is right, your will get your goods and services delivered. Now what I'm reffering to isn't bribery as most of you sheep like to think, but BUDGETARY CONTRIBUTIONS.
Whoever contributes the most to the National Budget has greater Political Capital. Thus when a miner calls Waigani, the phone gets answered but when a coffee farmer stumbles half-dead into an office, he's told to 'COME BACK TOMORROW' and as we all know, tomorrow never comes.
Now Back to the Elections: see what makes you think that a lazy job at the polling booth will somehow bring goods and services to your little godforsaken part of the world? The Government will only build roads to your part of the world if there is some economic justification. In fact, if you were contributing a lot to the National Budget, you'd get somewhere.
Now provinces with mines, like Western Province would argue that they contribute via the mine. Well, the truth is you as a province don't have ownership rights to those minerals and you as a province are not involved in commercializing the mineral resource. The State can therefore easily neglect you as it does not feel the need to appease you the way it does to a miner who spends money exploiting the resource and generating revenue for the State.
Thus, it is only the miner who gains political capital for the extraction of mineral resources. One can now see another sinister dimension of those who oppose mineral rights ownership for the People of Papua New Guinea. As long as the People are deprived of their rights to resources, they shall never have political capital and shall never have a direct say in the affairs of their country.
For those sheep who do not know what political capital is; it's basically about whether Waigani bai harim krai bilong yu o nogat.
HE WHO PAYS THE GREATEST TAX GETS THE BIGGEST SAY!
Weak Governance mechanisms and Institutions mean that there is a lot of stealing. The thieves therefore need a constant supply of cash from which they can steal. Resource exploiters enjoy dealing with these thieves because the thieves, being the parasites they are, need the exploiters to suck on. Whoever supplies the parasites most gets to manipulate them most.
European social democracies, particularly those in Scandinavia have figured how to deal with this capitalist disease.
But sorry to say this sheeple: it ain't gon work here! Well not at this time.
The problem with PNG is called 'DEMOCRACY'.
Because everyone has a vote, which they have to unfortunately give to a nutcase to represent them, the vote becomes a tool for perpetuating parochial interests over national interest. As long as MPs try to please their table-cats and Prime Ministers try to please their kitchen and bedroom cabinets, Institutions of Governance will be undermined so that the institutions do not keep checks and balances on those in power.
As we have witnessed in recent months; MPs did everything they could to keep themselves in power, even at the expense of those who were Constitutionally mandated to uphold the rule of Law.
All so called strongman and bigmen or vibrant leaders etc.. should remember that they are dust and unto dust they shall return. By undermining the institutions of the state, they become the life support of the state until such time that they kick the bucket and the state crumbles. That has been the experience throughout history in many countries.
Ideally, the financiers of the government i.e. the resource exploiters could call for strengthening of the institutions of the state but that would be bad for profits. In the end, they use the same lame excuse of working with-in the rules set by the government, which they know are meaningless as long as the implementing agencies are weak. This indeed is the perfect environment for the capitalist's neo-liberal economics where there is very little government regulation and oversight.
Papua New Guineans will always be screaming to their government as victims of the lack of development, as long as they continue to be marginalized from the formal economy. As long as they are unable to vote on issues with the tax they contribute to the national budget, their cries will forever be ignored until such times as the National Elections. It is only during the elections that they have political capital; the rest of the time, they will be simply ignored.