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Subject: Political Gay Marriage Taints Integrity - TAPI & PUNDARI

cardo stuntzo
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Date Posted: Mon, Mar 19 2007, 05:55:35pm

This is the original article of which National newspaper published under "IPATAS PUNDARI UNION SMELLS FISHY".

Political Gay Marriage Taints Integrity

The recent ‘marriage’ between two well-known political rivals in Enga raises a lot of unanswered questions in the minds of most Engans. According to The National (27 Dec 06), Ipatas said “We are no longer rivals but partners.” One needs to critically examine the underlying reasons and circumstantial factors that have led to the union between two rival candidates in one of the most unlikely provinces where political differences run deep, even to the point of death, domestic disputes and tribal conflicts. Engans know in their heart that elections always come with a price. The race between Ipatas and Pundari was of no exception but the price was at a greater scale. When the two were rivals in Enga’s Provincial Seat in the 2002 National Elections, supporters from both sides sacrificed not only pig, money and other usable assets but also to the point of losing lives, breaking long-kept family connections, intra-clan/tribal feuds. A number of tribal fights that caused a lot of lives of which some are still ongoing, were the direct result of the two men’s race for power. It is a saying in Enga that once blood has been set for a cause, one cannot re-trace; only blood can rectify the curse.

For Ipatas and Pundari to form an alliance is like tying two foxes’ tail together and setting fire on them. It is like a cat and the mouse in the same box or two dogs who once fought for the same bone decide that the dominant should have the thigh and the least dormant can have the rib bone. Pundari was once the PNG Advance Party leader (which is non-existent today), speaker of parliament and DPM of PNG. He was once nominated to be the PM of which he declined, and fell terribly in a big way even to the point of losing support from his own supporters. Realizing he couldn’t win the Kompiam/Ambum Open, he raced with the big fish himself for the regional seat in 2002, which unfortunately landed him below ground zero. He however had enough to re-coup his strength to get into private business. He had had diverted a reasonable sum from electorate funds to his private ventures during his previous term which saw him go all quiet for a full 5-year term. He was said to be filling ‘a bottomless pit in preparation for the 2007 elections’; a term he himself was claimed to quote when enquired by former supporters of why their leader has suddenly disoriented himself from the world of politics and media.

So the whisper and expectancy has been that Pundari will shake the long-held Ipatas reign in a big way in the 2007 elections. But to their dismay, he has become the Judas to his supporters who have sacrificed lives and worse still, the first self-proclaimed political gay ever. Engans pride in themselves for who they are regardless of material wealth. There is no integrity in a man that lets down his own followers to be the follower of another man, the least a rival. December 27, 2006 was the date when Pundari openly declared to the people of Enga and PNG that he has been defeated without a fight and swore alliance and partnership; to bow down to Ipatas and to be his partner in his race for PM. Ipatas and Pundari therefore have tarnished the image of Enga’s political integrity at the highest level. Pundari is less than a man without dignity and integrity as proclaimed by his own deeds. One cannot change one’s core being overnight, unless the price far outweighs the sacrifice; hence one is deemed senseless and unfeeling enough to make such a sacrifice. Both Ipatas and Pundari see it fit to walk hand in hand as man in the eyes of former rival supporters that once devoted heart and soul in their support for the now ‘happily married couple’. So the big question remains as to why such one of the least expected union of all times has happened and why in Enga of all places where political differences run deeper and darker than blood, compared to the rest of PNG? Where leaders don’t have self-respect, dignity and integrity in themselves even in their private lives as well in the political arena, one can only conclude that they are driven by greed for power and money. Both Ipatas and Pundari are drop-outs of PNG’s own education system lacking any standard qualification. If they had gained any, money and power would have got them papers without substance.

So the scene now is a year 11 drop out bank teller and a failed politician teaming up with a self-proclaimed action governor (a failed university student ) who has ‘run the local council for 17 years and the province for the last 10 years without instability’ (The National 27 Dec 06) for the prime minister’s post. This is one of the greatest jokes of all times. Enga has never had any major political changes and socio-economic developments apart from the free education policy which was late Malipu Balakau’s policy. Honors go to “ENGA TAMBUAKA” Malipu Balakau. Basic problems are yet to be solved in Enga: tribal fights are rampant, the road networks continue to deteriorate, Maramuni is still in the stone-age without road connection, and the list goes on. So the question to ask now is what major socio-economic development has Ipatas initiated at the provincial level, let alone at national level? A few commentators like Peter Kanaparo have wrongly claimed Ipatas as the originator of the free education policy idea in response to a previous posting which also erroneously claimed that Jeffrey Balakau was the one who came up with the policy, though Jeffery implemented the first free education policy in 1996.

Late Malipu Balakau, the “ENGA TAMBBUAKA”, was the only Engan legend of all times. None of Enga’s current and aspiring leaders have yet to par with him in his policy and development plans he had and initiated for Enga in his very short term in office. Ipatas’ term in Enga has done worse than bringing stability to the province. The administration itself is dominated by Ipatas’ supporters from administrator to tea boy. The Ipatas’ regime rides on the illusion of free education as a key policy which has no actual substance and forward planning. One may argue that it is one thing to come up with policies and another thing to implement them. Ipatas has no other policies; free education is the easy way out to gain popularity and also making donations even outside his own jurisdiction. Money can cross boundaries to make it speak the language you want but real minds bring tangible and lasting changes. Pundari is known for his cunningness and a man who takes rumors at face value. When Pundari is down doing the book-keeping as Ipatas’ fundraising chairman, Dickson Maki will be Ipatas’ right-hand man reconciling political differences between former non-supporters of Ipatas in the Kompaim/Ambum District. All in all, the Pundari-Ipatas partnership in the race for the 2007 elections smells fishy of which it is beyond the scope of this article to discuss further.

Cardo Stuntzo

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