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Subject: Ipatas-Pundari union smells fishy

cardo stuntzo
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Date Posted: Wed, Mar 21 2007, 05:40:34pm

Ipatas-Pundari union smells fishy

THE recent “marriage” between two well-known political rivals in Enga raises many questions.
We need to critically examine the underlying reasons and factors that have led to the union between Peter Ipatas and John Pundari in a province where political differences run deep, even to the point of death, domestic dispute and tribal conflict.
In the 2002 elections, supporters from both sides sacrificed pigs, contributed money and other assets and even broke family connections in an attempt to win votes.
A number of tribal fights that have claimed many lives are still going on as a direct result of the two men’s race for power.
Now for the two men to form an alliance is like an attempt to tie together the tails of two foxes and setting them on fire.
Pundari once led the now-defunct PNG Advance Party and the DPM (Deputy Prime Minister) and was also speaker of the National Parliament.
He was once nominated to be prime minister which he declined, costing him many of his supporters.
Subsequently he went into business.
He was expected to give Ipatas a good fight in the coming general election so the “union” has disappointed many in Enga.
Engans pride themselves for who they are regardless of material wealth.
They do not respect a leader who lets his followers down to follow another leader, let alone a rival.
When Pundari openly declared his allegiance to Ipatas, both men tarnished the image of Enga’s political integrity at the highest level.
One cannot change one’s core being overnight, unless the price far outweighs the sacrifice.
Both Ipatas and Pundari see it fit to walk hand in hand as men before their supporters who had devoted their heart and soul to them.
Enga has never had any major political changes and socio-economic developments apart from the free education policy which was Malipu Balakau’s policy.
Basic problems are yet to be solved in Enga: tribal fights are rampant, the roads continue to deteriorate, Maramuni is still in the stone age without road connection, and the list goes on.
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 but Ipatas has no other policies.
The so-called “free education” was the easy way out to gain popularity and also for him to make donations outside his own jurisdiction.
Money can cross boundaries to make it speak the language you want but real minds bring tangible and lasting changes.
All in all, the Pundari-Ipatas partnership in the race for the 2007 election smells fishy.

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