Mekere Morauta says ‘No One is Safe’ in PNG

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By Mekere Morauta, KCMG
Former Prime Minister

No one feels free.

We live in fear, with our mouths shut. We see, but we don’t talk.

Ministers are afraid to speak their minds, fearing they will lose their job.

Provincial Governors are afraid to speak their minds, fearing their province will be starved of  funds.

Backbenchers are afraid to speak their minds, fearing they will never become ministers, that their District funds will not be paid, and promise of funding for other projects will not materialise.

The private sector is afraid to speak at all, fearing threats to business, loss of contracts, and now even forced takeover.

Papua New Guineans are afraid to speak their minds, fearing harm to themselves, their family members, their business interests.

Expatriates living here are afraid to express views, fearing deportation.

No one is safe.

In Brisbane recently the Prime Minister joked when asked by a journalist whether there was an order for my arrest, saying: “Absolute nonsense, absolute nonsense. We (PNG) are not in Zimbabwe or somewhere you behave in that manner.”

Oh no? Look at the deportation of Mark Davis.

Mark Davis has a close association with Papua New Guinea for 40 years: married locally, children, bubus, extended family; a law-abiding professional journalist with a love and passion for our country.

Yet he was effectively kidnapped by the Police.

He was tricked into going to a meeting at the Department of Commerce and Industry, where waiting Police bundled him into the back seat of a vehicle. Either side of him were uniformed policemen, one with a pump-action shotgun, and the other with an M16.

He was deprived of his liberty and his rights. He was not allowed to call a lawyer. He was not allowed to call anyone to tell what had happened and where he was. He was not questioned by  anyone. He was not given the opportunity, as is his legal right, to defend himself.

He was taken to his apartment to get his passport, and was told he could take a bag. Tricked again, he was not allowed to take the backpack he packed with his personal belongings on to the plane – it has not been seen since.

Mark Davis was effectively smuggled out of the country by Migration and Police officers, with the assistance of Air Niugini.

Mark was driven straight onto the tarmac and to the plane. He did not check in. He did not appear before Customs officers to present his passport. He did not go through airport security.
All breaches of law and border protection by Migration, Police and Air Niugini.

He was put on a plane to Brisbane, when his point of repatriation is Cairns. His wallet was taken from him, so he arrived in Brisbane at night without his Australian phone, without one toea or cent, without any of his Australian bank or credit cards.

This is Mugabe in the making.

And what was Mark’s crime? His crime was to work for me. Foreign Minister Rimbink Pato told the ABC that Mark was “issuing statements on behalf of the PNG Sustainable Development which we considered that he was not acting in the best interests of our country”.

So it is now a crime for a law-abiding foreigner with a valid work permit and visa to work for PNGSDP.

When reminded by the ABC journalist that Mark “wasn’t making the statements, he was simply issuing them on behalf of PNGSDP, which is his job to do”, Mr Pato’s lame reply was “he was issuing them directly from his office”.

Mark Davis was doing his job. Every single statement he issued was on behalf of PNGSDP. Every single statement issued on my behalf was dictated by me. They are my words, not Mark Davis’ words. Every single word was approved by me or David Sode, in some cases, by the entire Board.

Mark’s crime was that he was working for Mekere Morauta and PNGSDP.

No one is safe.

Everyone is silent, apart from the bloggers. Papua New Guineans have resorted to social media like wildfire, not just because it is the thing to do these days, but because they have no other avenue to speak their minds. Of course there is the odd O’Neill & Co troll and stooge on there too, but the overwhelming majority of comments on PNG social media are critical of the Government, of corruption, of the flagrant breaches of the law and of due process that are occurring every day.

How, Papua New Guinea, can we lift the cloud of fear that has descended on us, and break the wall of silence?

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9 thoughts on “Mekere Morauta says ‘No One is Safe’ in PNG

  1. Can’t agree more. The only thing that I see active (in terms of voicing against PO’s regime) is social media. And social media has had good reputation; the most recent being the Arab Springs, which it has played a vital role. The veil of fear hence the cloud of silence am sure is gradually and definitely being penetrated by social media. And for PO and cohorts, it’s only a matter of ‘time’ not ‘if’!

  2. It seems like a similar case to Graham Osborne, and Julian Moti. In both cases we didn’t hear Mekere Morauta protest.

    While this case needs to be viewed on its merits, and it does not detract from the seriousness of injustice to Mark Davis, surely Sir Mekere must in future guard against double standards, or he runs the serious risk of being an hypocrite.

    Skelim na tingting.

  3. Unlike Karapo Marabe, am a journalist and agree with the information presented on the deportation of a journalist by Sir Mekere. We journalists are universal practitioner’s, it does not go down well with me when one of my kind is mis-treated for doing his job.
    Osborne and Moti cases are vastly different, they were not practicing journalists, and Sir Mekere in this Davies saga is speaking within context AND has convinced me with this blog post, of who is not speaking straight.

    1. I thought Mark Davis was employed by Sir Mekere as his media person;I just hope our government does not start dictating to journalist and other media organization- radio stations or tv and print media how to report news.Are we in the footsteps of the African country?It is a big scare when such happens.It was inhuman what they had done to a family,law abiding man with PNG bubu’s both in Pom and in Australia.Shame on us as a nation..we are heading towards that mad man in African who has be putting himself back in Government year in and year out.-the one with the little mausgrass..???

      1. Judy precisely, real journalists are plying their trade in different up-end roles as Marketing gurus, PR executive, Media Managers, etc these are the true cream of the profession, and off-course the spin-doctors; the other kind are the reporters who file news for mass media, — once a lady with a broom stands over us and tells us how to do our jobs, is the day media freedom is under real threat…– am sure we are not slowly heading to the ‘inhuman’ regime of that ‘small-bearded man’, Mark Davies was only writing in penetrating words as a true journalist what Sir Mekere was dictating, his inhuman deportation is like an attack on free speech, freedom of expression and violation of a journalist’s intelligence…

  4. Mberim, Karapo has a point. Why is the right of a journalist to speak his mind far more important than the right of a businessman of a lawyer as expressed by Karapo?

    Osborne was refused entry whilst Moti was imprisoned, both without cause.

    Where was Sir Mekere then?

    When Leaders talk about rights and freedoms, they better be consistent.

    What about Asylum seekers being unlawfully and unjustly imprisoned in Manus? They don’t have access to journalists. Journalists are being prevented entry or access to interview refugees to speak of the atrocious conditions they are being held in. No one knows what inhumane conditions they are being held under.

    Why cant people like Sir Mekere speak against such injustice?

    Mark Davis is home with his family. He can still help Mekere through email. What about the refugees in Manus? They don’t have a Mekere to voice their injustice.

    That is the sort of inconsistency that Karapo would call a bit of double standard eh?

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