One of the parties that led the country to independence in 1975 is undergoing what appears to be a revival.
On the weekend, Pangu Pati held its first meeting to appoint new executives since Bulolo MP, Sam Basil, took over the reins as party leader.
The Pangu Pati leadership wanted the revival to be symbolic.
The gathering was held in Muniau villge in the Bunag area of the Morobe Province. It was where party founders, including Grand Chief Sir Michael Somare, established the party in the 1970s.
Two weeks ago, Sam Basil announced his move to Pangi Pati.
While the general consensus amongst his people is that he will become prime minister when the next government is formed, Sam Basil says it would be unwise to discuss the PM’s post now.
“I don’t think I can announce that I want to be prime minister,” he said. “If the people want us to take government, we will. But first we have to show what we can do for them.”
Basil has enjoyed strong public support, particularly during his second term in office.
In the 2012 elections, he won with absolute majority, using the limited preferential voting system.
Much of his political success has been due to simple programs aimed at benefiting large populations of villagers. In the Buang, Bulolo and Watut areas of the Bulolo electorate, large amounts of funding are being put in to building communications and rural electricity grids.
These projects are, in turn, producing new business ventures owned and operated by the people.
Despite the slow release of district funds and ongoing disagreements between Finance Minister James Marape and Sam Basil, district programs have survived because of a good understanding between the Bulolo district and contractors tasked to build various infrastructure.
Next week, Pangu Pati offices in Lae and Port Moresby will be hives of activity. Basil will be making a personal appeal for public funding support.
He aims to raise up to K9 million will be asking for K1 contributions from every citizen of Papua New Guinea.
He wants the party to be owned and funded by ordinary Papua New Guineans and for Pangu politicians to be held accountable by the people.
It is an ambitious strategy and could turn out to be an embarrassing failure or a smashing, people-driven success.
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