7 Aug 2006

Call for politicians to be left out of PNG's Southern Highlands emergency body

8:33 pm on 7 August 2006

Concerns have been raised that politicians in Papua New Guinea's Southern Highlands province may use state of emergency powers for their own ends.

The Government last week suspended the governor and administration and the first of hundreds of additional police have started to arrive in the province amid an effort to restore public services and end corruption.

A businessman and former political leader from Southern Highlands, Frances Awesa, has commended the government's action but fears politicians will be too closely involved.

He says he wonders whether these politicians will be able to convince the people that they are acting in the public's interest in a transparent way.

"Whether that will happen I don't know because the danger is they will be pushing the administrators, the emergency controllers, to push their agenda. Their agenda being to get elected come June next year."

Mr Awesa says NGOs and organisations such as his Mendi Peace Commission are the ones with the knowledge of what is required to restore services.