By Kolopu Waima in Mendi, Papua New Guinea
She is brave — no other word can describe this Papua New Guinean woman.
Ruth Undi Siwinu isn’t only challenging the norms and a huge field of male candidates in Southern Highlands, but knows the task ahead and she is prepared to take them head on.
In a province where leadership is regarded as “men’s business”, Siwinu takes on everyone –– including the sitting MP and Pangu strongman William Powi.
“Let’s make history and vote a woman candidate into Parliament,” Siwini told hundreds of supporters at her rally in Mendi, Southern Highlands Province.
An independent candidate, Siwinu told the huge group that poverty was real in this province and a country that were blessed with vast resources that were bringing in billions of kina every year.
“I have travelled to the length and breadth of this province. I have been to all the five districts in the province and I saw that my people are still struggling to live,” she said.
“Why are my people struggling when Southern Highlands is blessed with all resources and the country is sitting on the resources Southern Highlands produce.
‘A mistake somewhere’
“There is a mistake somewhere and we have to find out. We want a women leader to lead the province, we have given enough time to the men to lead the province but they have failed us big time,” she said.
Siwinu said male leaders in the province were not providing services that the people deserved.
“They are playing too much politics and did not serve the people for many years. We have to stop this,” she added.
She said that the national election has provided the opportunity for the people to change the leadership and vote in a women leader to drive Southern Highlands forward into the future.
She urged all mothers, girls, aunties and youths to vote in a women candidate in this election to effect change in the province. She called on all women to rally behind her for a better Southern Highlands.
‘Representing the marginalised’
“I am standing here representing you women, the marginalised. Women are the people who suffer most in this province and I want you all women to make a strong stand and make your vote count in Ruth Undi,” she said.
She said she had spent K1 million (NZ$446,000) investing in Southern Highlands, helping women through her Mama Helpim Mama Charity organisation.
“I have Mama Helpim Mama charity organisation, though this organisation I spent K1 million helping Southern Highlands mothers.
“I have seen the real struggle in the villages, I serve the people already, I am only need the political power to continue what I am doing,” she said.
Eighty six of the 2351 candidates registered for next month’s general election are women.
Kolopu Waima is a PNG Post-Courier reporter. Republished with permission.