Thursday, September 19, 2019

2nd mentoring session for 2019

By William Garena
The Mentoring Approach is a new initiative and is one of two flagship programs identified in the Registry’s Corporate Plan 2018-2022. The mentoring approach entails a series of quarterly sessions which began in November 2018 and will continue to 2021. The aim of the sessions is to build the capacity of party executives where designated staffs of the Registry will act as mentors in mentoring and coaching party executives about some basic knowledge of what political parties are, and what their responsibilities are as executives. The sessions take an interactive approach between mentors and executives of political parties and target Presidents and General-Secretaries of political parties. The 2019 second quarterly mentoring session took place at the Registry’s Bengo Conference Centre in Port Moresby from 19th – 21st March 2019. From the 45 registered political parties only 9 parties attended the second quarterly mentoring session. Political parties that attended included: United Resources Party (URP); Papua New Guinea National Party (PNGNP); Papua and Niu Guinea Union Party (PANGU Party); Papua New Guinea Party (PNG Party); Triumph Heritage Empowerment Party (T.H.E Party); Grassroots United Front Party (G.R.U.F Party); and Papua New Guinea Greens Party (PNG Greens Party). Only two parties without Members of Parliament (i.e. G.R.U.F Party and PNG Greens Party) attended while the remaining seven parties had Members in Parliament.
For this quarter’s mentoring session, political parties were expected to give feedback on critical areas related mostly to the general administration of parties and their daily operations. These critical areas included: 2019 LLG Election preparations; Membership Recruitment and Membership fees; Party Conventions after the 2017 National Elections; 2019 Annual Activity Plan; and Support to Women. Also mentors took time to update party executives on important ongoing activities by the Registry such as the status of the revised OLIPPAC, entitlements for General-Secretaries and the Training Manual for party executives.
Throughout the session it was noted that most political parties did not plan to put up candidates for the 2019 LLG Elections. This was due to the lack of fundraising initiatives by parties to raise enough funds to support their LLG election preparations. The financial challenges experienced by most parties also prevented them to conduct awareness throughout the country in making themselves and their party policies known to the people. Another factor that contributed to the lack of focus in preparing for the LLG elections especially for parties with MPs, was the anxiety and uncertainty of the political climate during the vote of no-confidence period. Some issues raised by some party executives during the mentoring session related to the movement of MPs between different political parties, and financial support to maintain their respective party’s daily operations.
The Third Quarter Mentoring Session for 2019 will continue in September at Port Moresby, Bengo Conference Centre. It is hoped that all registered political parties are expected to attend and take ownership of this wonderful initiative provided by the Registry, in promoting and strengthening political parties and democracy in the country.

2019 LLG Elections Observations by the Registry

By Emmanuel Pok
In every LLG elections, the Registry together with other stakeholders conduct an important exercise known as the 'election observation'. In this activity we form special teams to observe the participation of political parties, candidates, voters, supporters and citizens during the campaign, voting and the counting periods. Reports from the election observation teams informs us of the behavior and the way interested groups participate in the elections. Observing the elections thoroughly informs us as policy makers to make informed policy decisions on improving our electoral system.
The Registry's primary role is to ensure that political parties and candidates are well prepared to participate in both the National and Local Level Government elections. The Registry has invested in political parties in the past years to strengthen political parties and preparing them to participate meaningfully in elections. The 2019 Local LLG election was an opportunity where parties could participate and make known of their policies to the voters and also to recruit members to their parties. That was also an opportune time for the Registry to monitor the performance of political parties and their candidates at the very local level and our communities, and make an evaluation that will shape and influence our future work with them. The 2019 LLG Elections was an important election we observed, as it informed us on necessary improvements needed in our electoral laws, voting system and the democratic processes involved in that election. Observation Teams The Registry has initially planned to observe at least three randomly selected LLGs in two provinces of each of the four regions of PNG. However, due to budget shortfalls and other logistical matters, the Registry was able to observe elections in the following LLGs; Region Province District LLG Highlands Western Highlands Hagen, Mul Byier, Tambul Nebliyer Hagen Rural, Hagen Urban, Neblier, Mul Southern Milne Bay Alotau Huhu   Central Kairuku Hiri Kairuku   Oro Soe/Ivijitari Popondetta Urban/Higaturu   Gulf Kerema Malalaua NGI New Ireland Namatanai Namatanai   ENB Rabaul, Gazelle Rabaul Urban, Toma Vuna Didir Momase Madang Madang Madang Urban, Trans Gogol
 Team members were out in the LLGs mainly during campaign periods, as this is the period where parties would freely communicate with their people and campaign for their candidates. A set of questionnaire was prepared and used by all the teams, these were mostly around the participation of the political parties and the participation by women candidates. Individual teams have compiled a detailed report with key observation findings of each LLG they observed. These reports will be compiled into a single report that will be distributed amongst the stakeholders. Some of the mail highlights of the observation are: Political Party presence is yet to be felt at the local level where majority of the population is in the country. Many of the contestants said they were not approached by a political party to contest the seat under a party banner A good number of women were interested to contest the LLG elections, as they believed that this is where they could have a voice. Many were not financial members of a political party. People have a perception that political parties are there to contest the National elections and not for the local level. Observing the LLG election was important because it would provide the Registry the necessary information it needs on the participation of the political parties. It has been stressed to the parties that they need to grow their roots at the village and community level. Their participation at the LLG election is therefore critical for their long term existence as political organizations

Asia Pacific Campaign Forum

By Madeline Saga
A Two day campaign forum conducted by the Australian Labor International was held in Cairns on June 4th and 5th 2019. The purpose of the forum was to gauge views and share experiences of the current political situations and issues of each participating country. A total of 26 participants took part in this event from countries within the Asia Pacific region namely India, Timor Leste, Myanmar, Papua New Guinea, New Zealand, Indonesia and Australia. The majority of the participants represented political parties or regulatory organisations such as the Registry of Political Parties.
Elias Hallaj the International Projects officer from the Australian Labor International (ALI) began the first day of the forum by presenting an over view of the Australian Labor Party (ALP) and ALI. Each participating country was then given the opportunity to present a summary about their country history and political framework. The assistant national secretary of the ALP, Paul Erickson presented an analysis of the Australian Federal Election followed by Senator Clare Moore who shared her experiences on networking, mentoring and safety valves as a candidate. Participants were also given a greater understanding of the Indonesian electoral voting system and its political party system presented by Ms. Sondang Tampubolonn of the Nesdem Party of Indonesia.
The Registrar Dr Alphonse Gelu began the second day of the forum presenting his paper on building party profiles and party visibility. Elias Hallaj and Paul Erickson then presented with an open forum for discussion on “What makes a Healthy Campaign?” Dr Lesley Clark presented a session on Successful Candidates – learning from and supporting winners. She also shared this session with Dianna Lacy of the New Zealand Labour Party. Andrew Dettmer, National President of the Australian Manufacturing Workers Union gave a detained presentation about the Benefits of Training and the Role of Trade Unions respectively and invited participants for an open discussion on these two topics.
The two day forum helped the Registry identify a number of issues that were of significance to both political parties and their candidates here in Papua New Guinea. This included; The Registry to propose mentoring or advice to new Members of Parliament (MP) after the elections through their political parties Create a group for women in politics Keeping track of women candidates, past and intending candidates Invitation to women to include incentive/ fee/ funding Senior members of Parliament to provide mentoring to new MP’s Registry to encourage Political parties for the formation of Parliamentary women’s caucus Annually practice parliament pre-training Encourage Political parties to ensure clear demarcation of Parliamentary leaders and party executives The Registry was also invited to make two separate presentations regarding the party system in PNG and issues surrounding women candidates during the elections. The training was informative for the Registry as it helped identify key areas in terms of party support to women candidates before the elections that need to be addressed. But, most importantly the engagement of parties and their executives with their members and intending candidates. The Registry will announce a similar training to be held in Port Moresby later in the year.

Nationwide Consultation on Organic Law

By Solomon Puana
A Nationwide Consultation of the Revised Organic Law on the Integrity of Political Parties and Candidates (OLIPPAC) was conducted from the 20th May to 15th July 2019. The revised OLIPPAC Consultation was conducted by the staff of the Registry of Political Parties which was led by the Registrar, Dr Alphonse Gelu. The staff were put into eight teams and were sent out to the selected provinces to conduct the Revised OLIPPAC Consultations. The consultations were held in two provinces per region. The consultation team were in the provinces on the following dates: ELECTORATES/PROVINCE CONSULTATION DATES MT HAGEN, WESTERN HIGHLANDS 20th – 25th MAY, 2019 SOUTH WAGHI, JIWAKA PROVINCE 26th – 30th MAY, 2019 KOKOPO, EAST NEW BRITAIN 20th – 27th MAY, 2019 KAVIENG,NEW IRELAND 20th – 27th MAY, 2019 MADANG, MADANG PROVINCE 04th – 14th JUNE, 2019 LAE, MOROBE PROVINCE 03rd – 11th JUNE, 2019 ALOTAU, MILNE BAY PROVINCE 17th – 24th JUNE, 2019 RIGO & BEREINA CENTRAL PROVINCE 08th – 15th JULY, 2019 The consultation was conducted in the form of public forums and meetings which the teams met with two groups of people. The first one was the target groups which comprised mostly of the Provincial Administration or the Provincial Management Team (PMT) and the Civil Society and interest groups which included (Women, Youths, and people with special needs (disabilities), LLG ward Councilors and Presidents and the general public). The second one was the focus groups mostly students from the Secondary Schools (especially Grade Twelves’) and the Tertiary Institutions such as the Universities and Colleges.
The aim of the consultation was for the Registry of Political Parties to engage with the people and inform the people about the OLIPPAC, collect information and their views on the proposed changes of the revised OLIPPAC. Of importance in the consultations, was for the Registry to seek and analyze the views based on the 21 Terms of References (ToRs) to finalize the revised OLIPPAC that reflects or accommodates the views of the people.
The 21 ToRs included: Membership of Political Parties; Salaries and Terms and Conditions of Executives of Political Parties; Establishment of Political Party Offices; Constitution and Agreements by Political Parties; Political Party Policies and Structures; Political Party Disputes; Dissolution and Re-registration of a Political Party; Women Representation and Quota; Eligibility Criteria; Political Party Conventions; Political Party to Candidates; Double Endorsements; Expulsion and Resignation of a Member of a Political Party; Party Leadership; Advise on Formation of Government; Interference with Member of Parliament; Funding to Opposition; Annual Funding to Political Parties; Disclosure of Political Party Fundraising Activities, Annual Returns and Election Returns; and Other matters and issues relating to Political Parties not covered in the ToRs.