Careful who you are recruiting

To the voters! 

Are you recruiting suitable candidates for employment in your firm?

Would you give a person who has been trained as a clerk the job of the accountant?

Or give the legal advisor post to a person who has been teaching for ten years?

Think carefully because you are about to do it when you walk to the polling booth this week.

What is this job that we elect a person to every five years – this job we refer to by the popular description, politician?

It seems to be a jack-of-all-trades job because shortly we will be electing to the National Parliament policemen, teachers, accountants, engineers, lawyers, businessmen and women, environmentalists, agriculturalists, fisherman and women, and yes, even the subsistence farmer.

It must be the easiest of jobs, this politician job, because it seems anybody with any skills can do the job with ease.

There are no job specs, no entry levels except for age limit, where you have lived for six months, no jail term records, and that you are a citizen. That’s about it.

There is no minimum education requirement, no experience or qualification requirements, no requirement for references or referees, no entry examination.

So basically a very good con-artist can bribe or talk his or her way into the position of a member of parliament in this country.

It is a frightful thought but that might in fact have been happening, in many electorates, all this while, across ten national elections. This is the eleventh.

After this general election, one of the first issues that must be developed by the Constitution and Law Reform Commission to go before Parliament is a minimum entry requirement for eligibility for political office at each of PNG’s three levels of government.

There is a requirement for recruitment of even the most junior officer in the public service.

Nobody claims that it is a breach of Constitution Rights to gainful employment in the country.

Why is it that once a job specification is mentioned for political office, everybody cites the Constitution?

And this is the job, so easy at its entry point, that once one attains it prefers very special privileges and attractive terms and conditions.

Indeed, each incumbent member gets to preside over K50 million is disbursed as Chairman of the District Development Authority in just one term of Parliament.

Many businesses run by far more qualified individuals in this country do not see that money across a lifetime.

It is time a very specific requirement be drawn up for anybody with political ambition to pass.

It does not necessarily have to do with education qualification as some of the worst culprits in corruption allegations or actual cases come from the class of people who have finished at the upper reaches of our education system.

But a fit and proper test must be designed and for rigorous testing to be undertaken such as is done in the United States through the Senate, no less, when choosing special applicants for important positions.

Such tests must begin with a definition of a politician and a standard job description for the office of member of parliament.

The job of a politician is ill-defined in PNG and across the years the attached duties, roles and responsibilities have become increasingly unclear and muddled.

It has been a practice; indeed it is the only practice in vogue today, that politicians see themselves as representing their people to the National Parliament in order to “take from and bring back to” their people goods and services.

The people, in urgent need of the most basic needs of society, also see the politician’s role under this narrow light.

Today, people are confused by a cacophony of voices – all from those promoting themselves – to choose from as suitable to represent the people’s interests.

It were better the people were given a bio-data or CV or each candidate some months in advance of the general elections so that people have time to make personal inquiries and find out who it is who wants to represent their interests.

The National/JobsinPNG

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