Thursday, May 23, 2024

Pangu Pati Inc. Training and Induction Workshops

By Solomon Puana
The Registry of Political Parties is the mandated body that protects the elections from outside and hidden influences and also deals with political institutions (Political Parties) in strengthening them because they are the major key payers in our democratic system of government. The Registry was pleased and grateful to be part of the Training and Induction Workshop conducted by the Pangu Pati Inc (PPI) in the four (4) regions of the country from November to December 2023. The first leg of the induction workshop was held in Port Moresby for the Southern Region executives from the 4th to the 5th of November 2023, the second was conducted in Kokopo, East New Britain Province for the New Guinea Islands Region executives from 13th to the 14th November 2023, the third leg of the workshop was conducted in Kundiawa, Chimbu Province from the 29th to 30th November 2023. The training and induction workshop was concluded on 2nd of December, 2023, in Lae, Morobe Province for the Momase region executives.
The PPI training and induction program was an initiative to assist the Pangu Pati Inc. Provincial Executives of its 22 branches in the country. This initiative is a pilot program that will be conducted for a duration of five years until 2027. The training and induction workshop was formulated by Pangu Pati Inc. in partnership with the Registry of political parties to deliver during the four (4) regional workshops in the country.
The focus of the PPI Training and Induction workshop is in consistent with what the Registry is embarking on, and that is to promote and strengthen political parties in our young democracy. The main purpose of the Training and Induction workshop was to build and develop the capacity of Pangu Pati Inc. Provincial Executives to better manage the party in their respective provincial branches, and at the same time to prepare them for the next National General Elections in 2027.
It has been for far too long that political parties only exist during election time and are extremely weak. This needs a total transformation. The Registry is now encouraging and calling all registered political parties to come out of the comfort zones and take similar approaches to build and grow their parties, so that we can have strong and viable democratic party system in our country.

Registry Takes Part in Reform Initiatives

By William Garena
The Registry of Political Parties took part in a nation-wide consultation to review the form and system of government together with key government agencies. The Constitutional and Law Reform Commission (CLRC) was tasked to take lead in the review process. The review began with its launching at Holiday Inn, Port Moresby on 16th February 2023 by the Prime Minister Honourable James Marape.
The focus of the review is based on four key areas: system of government; current structure of the National Parliament; election of Prime Minister; and the different levels of government. The purpose of the review is critical as it takes stock of how far we’ve come as a nation since independence in 1975. The review will inform us if the current systems are workable or it requires change to suit our development aspirations.
An External Secretariat was formed to support CLRC during the review process and included Department of Provincial and Local Level Government Affairs, Department of Prime Minister and National Executive Council, Department of National Planning and Monitoring, Department of Finance, Department of Treasury, Department of Justice and Attorney General, National Economic and Fiscal Commission and Registry of Political Parties.
The nation-wide consultations was conducted on 5th March – 18th May 2023 to which the Registry of Political Parties played an integral part in gauging the views of the people on the four key areas of inquiry. Apart from the nation-wide consultations, the Registry of Political Parties submitted a technical paper on how the political party system would be affected by the direct election of the Prime Minister.
A final report including the recommendations is expected to be submitted to the Prime Minister and NEC in February 2024 before it goes to Parliament for deliberation and rectification.
Finally, the Registry of Political Parties is grateful to be part of the government’s reform initiatives and thanks the CLRC in particular for providing the leadership in this important government activity. The Registry of Political Parties looks forward to contributing meaningfully to future reform initiatives set by the National Government.

Commemorating the Late Dr Alphonse Gelu

Late Dr Alphonse Gelu at Government Haus
By William Garena
The 4th of January 2024 marks the first year of the late Dr Alphonse Gelu’s death anniversary. This article in a way is part of commemorating the tremendous contributions the late Dr Gelu has had on the Registry of Political Parties through his professionalism and wonderful personality. Since joining the Registry of Political Parties as the Deputy Registrar in 2011 to his appointment as the Registrar in 2013, and until his resignation in April 2022, he has contributed enormously to the development pf political parties and democracy in the country. He will always be remembered as an astute commentator and expert in the National Elections, and a fine academic and researcher in the field of political science and public policy. But more so, his name will be synonymous with the word “Democracy”.
The work of the Registry of Political Parties began to take prominence under his leadership as the Registrar through his prudent administration of the Office, and the significant work programs and key activities he initiated. The late Dr Gelu had continued to promote and uphold principles of democracy through political parties during his tenure as the Registrar.

OLIPPAC: The work on reviewing the Organic Law on the Integrity of Political Parties and Candidates (OLIPPAC) after the Supreme Court decision in 2010 will remain a testament to the late Dr Gelu’s tireless efforts in strengthening the political party system. This could have been one of his greatest legacies if the revised OLIPPAC was passed in Parliament. Although attempts were unsuccessful in passing the OLIPPAC over the last three parliamentary terms, the review process continued. He believed that once the revised OLIPPAC is passed, it would greatly strengthen political parties as important political institutions. The new law would be integral to creating political stability and most importantly, for political parties to recruit, train and produce strong political leaders in driving the country’s development agendas forward. Dr Gelu asserted that the focus of the revised OLIPPAC is to strengthen and promote political parties as an important institution of democracy, as opposed to regulating the behaviour of Members of Parliament (MPs).

L&D PROGRAM: Throughout his tenure at the Registry, Dr Gelu emphasised the need for political parties to be more structured and organised by introducing the Learning and Development (L&D) Program that ran from 2012 - 2022. It is a flagship program of the Registry that focuses on training party executives in building their capacity on how to effectively manage their respective political parties. The trainings were conducted in a series of workshops that was facilitated by Dr Gelu and staffs of the Registry, together with key partners such as the National Democratic Institute (NDI), Australian Labour Party (ALP) and the Australian Liberal Party.

AWARENESS AND ELECTION OBSERVATIONS: Political parties’ awareness is an ongoing activity that was identified by the late Dr Gelu as a key activity in raising public awareness about the important roles political parties play in service delivery and how they contribute towards nation-building. The awareness drive is a nation-wide campaign aimed at promoting political parties which the late Dr Gelu spearheaded effortlessly. It involves activities such as district visits, radio talk-back, Political Party Expos, cultural show visits, merchandising and advertisements, etc.
According to Dr Gelu, the rural masses do not know why it is important to vote for a political party, or they do not know which party their MPs belong to. He argued that the Registry must be financially equipped to continue to roll-out awareness so sufficient information is accessible to the vast majority of people throughout the country. This is crucial because people will be able to make better choices when voting for a political party in the National General Elections and the LLG Elections. The work on awareness was based on the theme, “know a party, join a party, Know a party, vote a party” Due to the work on awareness, the Registry of Political Parties has participated as domestic observers for the National General Elections and LLG Elections since 2012.
Unlike other domestic election observers, the Registry’s election observation focuses on the performance of political parties and the performances of women candidates. Dr Gelu was a staunch advocate for the legislation of women’s political participation and representation. In the 2017 National General Elections Report by the Registry and the draft report of the 2022 National General Elections, the awareness on political parties has proved fruitful in that more than 70 percent of seats in Parliament was has been won by party endorsed candidates compared to independent candidates in the last two elections. The late Dr Gelu was adamant that awareness on political parties must continue with funding support from the government.

ADMINISTRATION: As the Registrar, he was very committed in ensuring that the operations of the Registry was managed efficiently and the development of the Registry’s Corporate Plan 2017-2022 captured the necessary plan and vision on how political parties should be administered. Under his leadership, he made the following critical decisions to allow for the Registry to function sufficiently in supporting its programs:
- Revised the OLIPPAC;
- Initiated office restructure and established self-accounting system;
- Secured funds to purchase new IT Server;
- Established partnerships with key stakeholders; and
- Initiated the Registry’s quarterly news publication “Singaut Bilong Politics”.
>Br> He has been a mentor to many of us in this office and a fair and loving “Boss” who is deserving of a highly regarded statesman. The late Dr Gelu was a humble and dedicated professional who served the country with commitment and distinction during his term as the Registrar of Political Parties.
We pay tribute to him and celebrate his life’s work and service to the Registry of Political Parties, his family and friends and to his country.


Revised OLIPPAC Consultation in 2023

By Solomon Puana
The process of consultation began long ago after the decision of Supreme Court in 2010 nullifying certain provisions in the OLIPPAC, 2003. The Registry started the consultation process in Port Moresby, Alotau and Kokopo. The consultations in Port Moresby involved experts in Politics and Law that generated a lot of discussions and ideas in revising the Organic Law.
In April 2012, a team was put together and led by late Dr. Alphonse Gelu who was the Registrar at that time. Other stakeholders included National Research Institute (NRI); Department of Justice and Attorney General (DJAG); University of Papua New Guinea (UPNG); Constitutional and Law Reform Commission (CLRC); the Office of State Solicitor; late Dr. Ray Anere; late Dr. Henry Okole; Mr. John Kouni; and late Mr. Paul Bengo (First Registrar). The team also gave opportunity to the Commissioners of the IPPCC and they are: late Sir Andrew Trawen; Mr. Nau Badu; Dr Orovu Sepoe; Mr. Simon Ila; and others, which included late Dr. Laurence Kalinoe; and the former Chief Secretary late Sir Manasupe Zurenuoc to give their views on the proposed revised OLIPPAC.
The proposed revised OLIPPAC was approved by the National Executive Council (NEC), however, it was not tabled and debated on the floor of Parliament for passage in 2014. In 2017 after the National General Election, the O’Neill-Abel Government made a commitment to reactivate the proposed revised OLIPPAC for tabling and passing in Parliament. The Registry responded immediately by taking on board the commitment and again undertook another consultation process on the proposed revised OLIPPAC.
In 2019 the Registry was requested by the Office of the State Solicitor to conduct a nation-wide OLIPPAC consultation before it gave legal clearance for it to be tabled and debated in Parliament. In this nation-wide consultation process, the Registry consulted 2 provinces per region and this included Western Highlands; Jiwaka; Madang; Morobe; Milne Bay; Central; East New Britain; and New Ireland Provinces. 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 was mostly comprised 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. In 2020 the proposed revised OLIPPAC Bill was once again gazzetted and submitted to Parliament for debate and passage. However, the proposed revised OLIPPAC Bill was never tabled, debated and passed in the 10th Parliament. In March 2023, the Marape – Rosso Government has now made commitment to revive the proposed revised OLIPPAC Bill again after two attempts of passage of the Organic Law.
As of late, the State Solicitor has informed the Registry that since the last gazzetted Proposed Constitutional Amendment Bill and the Proposed Revised OLIPPAC Bill 2020 have lapsed in the last Parliament. It is now necessary for a consultation to be undertaken again, but this time, only with the important key stakeholders who will be immediately affected by this law, which are: political parties; and the MP’s. Hence, this consultation will be focused on these two groups and intents to achieve the purpose of:
 Getting the executives of political parties and MPs to know about the OLIPPAC; and
 Getting the views of the political parties, their executives and MPs on the proposed changes to the OLIPPAC.

This will be the third attempt to get the proposed revised OLIPPAC passed by Parliament in this 11th Parliament.

Passing of Senior States Man and Former Registrar, Late Paul Bengo

By John Bishop
It was with great sadness that we learnt of the passing of the founding Registrar of Political Parties, Mr Paul Bernard Baundi Bengo BA, CBE, CSM on the 15th of January 2024.
Mr Bengo served the Registry as the Registrar from 2001 to 2008 until reaching the retirement age as per the Organic Law on the Integrity of Political Parties & Candidates. Mr Bengo was a seasoned Public Servant who had served many Government organizations with distinction and loyalty. They included Secretaries of Lands, Defence and Provincial Secretary for East Sepik to name only a few.
However it is in his capacity as the Registrar of Political Parties that he made his mark towards the development of political parties in Papua New Guinea when the Organic Law was enacted in 2000 when Sir Mekere Morauta was the Prime Minister. His contributions to the development of Papua New Guinea was well documented and highlighted during his funeral service by Ms Dulcie Somare and Ambassador Gabriel Dusava.

His contributions to development of political parties in PNG as the founding Registrar was recognized and as a small token of appreciation the Registry’s conference room was named after him in 2014. The conference room is known as “Bengo Room” May his soul rest in eternal peace