The plight of the current political crises must not be a surprise to any educated Papua New Guinean citizen because PNG has struggled for the last few decades with corruption. Since 1975, we have witnessed governments after governments come and go. Policies after polices were passed over the years and yet corruption continues to rip this nation from the government down to the grassroots level. Unless we fix the root cause of the problem, we will not solve corruption.
Many people at this time are crying foul over what is seen as corruption by the state and the judiciary. But there has not been much or if not any wailing going on about the plight of the deteriorating morals of our individual communities. On one hand, I do understand that the government is the most powerful entity in any country. And whatever it does affects its citizens. On the other hand, we tend to forget the implication of our own words, “the government was mandated by the people for the people.” The government is comprised of the best leaders of the every electorate and provinces in the country. Many will disagree with this statement. But this is what the majority of Papua New Guinean citizens around the country said when they put these people into power. Out of the many candidates who raised their hands in the 2012 national election, the majority of the people in each electorate and province chose these bunch of leaders. So, by a majority vote you chose what you thought were the best out of the best leaders you have in your districts. You chose your best sons and daughters to represent you. Now you don’t like them? Who should be blamed; them or us? Maybe we are suffering because of the consequences of our own choices.
The first problem I see is that our people do not like to make good choices based on sound moral principles. It’s not that they do not know right from wrong. They know it but they just don’t like to do it. Our societies are also full of corrupt community leaders. During the election period, a lot of people support candidates based on certain cultural norms such as tribalism, bribery and free handouts. Most of us don’t even care about the moral standards and values of the person we elect into office. We only care about other areas such as the person’s educational qualification, tribal affiliation, work experiences, his money and his party policies. In doing that we miss the very foundation of quality leadership. And that is the moral values and principles of the candidate. No matter how many degrees your leader has, how much money he has, or the best idealistic party policies he presents, if he does not have strong moral principles to guide his life, he is deemed to be a corrupt leader.
I am not an expert in politics. But as far as I know in good leadership, no leader will pass any policy without moral judgements. Moral politics influences the political language used in every decision-making in public policy management.
Most problems we now have are not the result of bad policies or the carvings and totemic poles in the parliament house. It is with the leaders who don’t have strong moral principles to guide them. Therefore, they will pass laws and become the first ones to break their own laws. You can replace the cultural symbols in the parliament with a Bible, but you can’t change the attitude of the government leaders. They have sick moral values that affects their leadership. Compare them with the senators of the White House in America or the parliamentarians in Australia and England and you will realize that the bulk of our MP’s don’t have proper moral behaviors. They can go out partying and drinking, misuse tax payers’ money, make porn movies or marry as many women as they like and continue to lead our nation.
Even in our universities and colleges, morality is at stake. As Theodore Roosevelt said, “To educate a man in the mind and not in morals is to educate menace to society.” You go into some of these institutions and you will find students who live without any sense of moral obligation studying to become leaders of the country. It is sad that our top institutions are equipping a good number of morally irresponsible students along with the good ones. We graduate them and send them into the workforce. But instead of improving it, they add more salt to the wound. It could be like educating terrorists with an intention to contribute meaningfully to their societies. Instead they end up killing and destroying lives with the intellectual abilities they have.
This should ring a bell in our minds about the kind of society we live in. We cannot sugarcoat our society’s image with excuses to deny the reality of our degenerating generation. We must admit that and find ways to partner together in restoring the broken fabrics of our society.
So how do we fix that problem? There is no quick solution to this issue. We can’t put a band-aid to cover an ulcer. You can put your KJV Bible in the Parliament and preach Christianity to them, you can expose them on media, you can take them to court, but neither can you can you teach an old dog new tricks nor discipline them to behave like children. This is a problem that is deeply rooted in our traditional cultural attitudes. Therefore, the only way is to go down back to the where they came from and work on restoring the morals of our society. We must go back and fix the roots of corruption in our families and in our communities and in our education systems.
As I have mentioned earlier in one of my articles in PNG attitude, Families are the main pillar of our society and we all need to be responsible in building good family foundations. The moral foundation of any group of people is not shaped by the constitution of a country. It is not based on the wealth, economy or religious status of a country. The foundation of a nation begins with the family unit.
A child is born into a family and raised in a family. Families gather to form a community. Our communities make up society. Unless we have strong moral family foundations, we will never have a strong nation.