Has Papua New Guinea descended into dictatorship?
PNG's Prime Minister Somare has previously denied he has become a dictator but what is a dictator? Here are a couple of definitions:
Concise Oxford Dictionary: Dictator – absolute ruler … who suppresses or succeeds a democratic government.
The PNG Parliament has been suspended for the third time in a row, an action that has been claimed to be directly contravening the PNG Constitution.
Surely one can but draw no other conclusion than Parliament has been suppressed.
But has democratic government been suppressed?
The essence of democratic government is defined in Wikipedia as: 'a form of political organization in which all people, through ….. elected representatives … exercise equal control over the matters which affect their interests.'
The Concise Oxford Dictionary goes a step further: 'government by the people, direct or representative; the politically unprivileged class.
The last definition highlights that the 'unprivileged class', or everyday person, should be actually running the affairs of government through their elected representatives.
However, does anyone really believe that in today's PNG, the unprivileged class or everyday citizen or even their elected representatives actually in control?
If not, then who is in control of the country?
Quoting from the PNG Constitution:
'211. ACCOUNTING, ETC., FOR PUBLIC MONEYS.
(1) All moneys of or under the control of the National Government for public expenditure and the Parliament and the Judiciary for their respective services, shall be dealt with and properly accounted for in accordance with law.
(2) No moneys of or under the control of the National Government for public expenditure or the Parliament and the Judiciary for their respective services, shall be expended except as provided by this Constitution or by or under an Act of the Parliament.'
In a recently-reported statement, a PNG deputy police commissioner publically identified that half of PNG's annual budget was lost to corruption. Amazingly, no government minister or representative rose to deny this statement or defend their responsibility to effectively and accountably govern PNG. Of course with parliament suspended, there could be no forum for this disastrous situation to be debated and fully examined could there? So can anyone really say that there is a government in control of PNG at the moment. If no one is obviously in control of the country then clearly there cannot be an existing dictatorship.
Maybe there is reality, just a vacuum waiting to be filled.