Thursday, February 6, 2020

PNG Political Parties & Women in Political Leadership Forum

By Solomon Puana
The Forum on PNG Political Parties and Women in Political Leadership was held in Port Moresby, National Capital District on the 14th and 15th of November 2019 at the Kumul Conference Centre, Holiday Inn Hotel. The two day forum was provided by the Registry of Political Parties – Integrity of Political Parties and Candidates Commission (IPPCC), with the support of New Zealand Aid Program and United Nation Development Program (UNDP). The Forum was held to support the Registry’s commitment to Promote Women’s Political Participation through Political Parties. The aim of the two day forum was firstly, to expose political party’s executives in Papua New Guinea to the experiences of their colleagues in other countries within the Pacific Region. And secondly, to maintain dialogue and linkages between women leaders who intended to contest in the national elections. The hosting of the forum would identify common issues experienced by women candidates in the past elections in order to address them with the stakeholders concerned before 2022 national elections.
The ultimate goal of the forum was for political parties’ executives and women in political leadership who contested the 2017 national elections to observe the following objectives:
• To make known their intentions to contest in the national elections 2022
• To share their election experiences with likeminded women at the political front
• To share their views about political parties in PNG
• To create sustainable ties with stakeholders and political parties through the Registry
• To make reference to issues raised and ensure that they are addressed with relevant stakeholders before the next election
The forum was privileged to have Prime Minister – Hon. James Marape; the New Zealand High Commissioner – His Excellency Mr. Philip Taula; Resident Representative United Nations Development Program (UNDP) – Mr. Dirk Wagener; and the Registrar Dr Alphonse Gelu making opening remarks to officially open the Forum.
The other resource persons that made presentations during the Forum included the Assistant Resident Representative UNDP – Ms.Julie Bukikun; Professor of Political Science and International Studies, De la Salle University, Manila – Dr. Julio Cabral Teehankee; Social Democratic Liberal Party (SODELPA), Fiji – Mr. Pita Wise; General Secretary for National Federation Party, Fiji – Ms. Seini Nabou; Fiji Elections Office Representative – Mr. Mesake Vocevoce Dawai; Chairwomen of the Standing Committee on Women’s Rights, Congress of New Caledonia – Ms. Nadine Jalabert; Former Governor of Eastern Highlands Province – Mrs. Julie Soso; Former Minister for Community Development and Religion and Member for Sohe Open – Mrs. Delilah Gore; and former Chairperson of the Integrity of Political Parties and Candidates Commission (IPPCC) – Dr. Orovu Sepoe. Ms Joyce Grant from the National Alliance Party and Ms Jennifer Rudd, former President for the Kiriwina Local Level Government also shared their experiences.Mr. Morris Tovebae General Secretary for Pangu Party gave an overview on the membership drive for the party and Ms Rufina Peter gave an excellent observation on her experiences as a candidate in the 2017 national election. She gave useful recommendations at the end in preparation for 2022.
Of the 45 registered Political Parties, only 25 political parties were invited to attend the forum, however only 14 were able to attend the forum. Also in attendance were women who contested the 2017 national elections endorsed by political parties and former women MPs participated in the forum. Participants included the Registry staff, political party executives, UNDP, New Zealand Aid, and a senior officer from PNG National Broadcasting Commission (NBC).
NBC is seen as one of the key stakeholders where they disseminate and publish the outcome of the forums and create an opportunity for political party executives to promote their party policies. Also present were other media personnel namely EMTV, the National and TVWAN. During the first day of the forum, there was a short media press conference in which the Prime Minister answered three questions from the Media. Presenters during the two day forum included the Registrar Dr. Alphonse Gelu, Mrs. Julie Soso, Mrs. Delilah Gore, Dr. Orovu Sepoe, Dr Julio Teehankee, Mr. Pita Wise, Ms. Seini Nabou, Mr Mesake Dawai, Ms. Joyce Grant, Ms. Jennifer Rudd, Ms. Nadine Jalabert, Ms. Rufina Peter, Mr. Morris Tovebae and Ms. Julie Bukikun who provided well informative presentations and also experiences shared by our neighboring countries within the region that we could learn from.