RESHUFFLE OF PNG CABINET FOR STABILITY, SAYS PM SIR MEKERE

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PORT MORESBY, Papua New Guinea (November 7, 2000 - Post-Courier/PINA Nius Online)---Papua New Guinea Prime Minister Sir Mekere Morauta has chopped and changed his Cabinet in a major way, the most recent of several revisions since he gained office 16 months ago, to maintain political stability.

Losers in the change are Deputy Prime Minister Mao Zeming and his political allies, Dr. Fabian Pok (Petroleum and Energy), Peter Waieng (Communications), Alfred Pogo (Works) and Mathias Karani (Police).

Others who lost out were Peoples Progress Party leader Michael Nali, who was removed as Trade and Industry Minister, and Foreign Affairs Minister Sir John Kaputin.

Sir John has been demoted and made Minister for Communications and High Technology.

Winners in the reshuffle are Michael Ogio, who is the new Deputy Prime Minister, Sir Michael Somare (Foreign Affairs and Bougainville Affairs), Tommy Tomscoll (Petroleum and Energy), John Tekwie (Trade and Industry), Gabia Gagarimabu (Police), Michael Laimo (Mining), Chris Haiveta (Housing) and Henry Smith (Correctional Services).

Mr. Ogio keeps his Forestry portfolio and also takes on the Ministry of Culture and Tourism.

Changes to other ministries are Andrew Baing (Culture and Tourism to Justice), Andrew Kumbakor (Home Affairs to Rural Development), William Ebenosi (Rural Development to Home Affairs), Kilroy Genia (Justice to Defense), Muki Taranupi (Defense to Agriculture) and John Kamb (Housing to Works).

Winners also are the United Party and Pangu Pati, which were returned to the Cabinet after being kept out in the cold for a long time.

Mr. Gagarimabu and Mr. Tomscoll are from the United Party while Mr. Haiveta is Pangu leader.

Announcing the changes on Friday, Sir Mekere said they were necessary to root out the sources of instability in government manifested in last Tuesday’s motion to adjourn Parliament until next year.

"The changes I am making today have one objective in view: to provide a stable government," he said.

"I have moved to stabilize the political situation before. And I will do it again, if stability is threatened."

Sir Mekere said all the information he had pointed to people within his own party as the source of instability.

"Unfortunately, the deputy prime minister and the deputy leader of the party, Honorable Mao Zeming, is implicated," he said.

"Accordingly he, and Honorable Pok, Pogo, Karani, and Waieng, have been decommissioned as ministers. Honorable Nali, who moved the motion to adjourn Parliament, has also been decommissioned."

Sir Mekere said he had no choice in dismissing Mr. Nali, who was the leader of a coalition partner.

"No Prime Minister would have acted differently," he said.

Sir Mekere said he believed that the non-PDM members of Parliament who voted for the adjournment on Tuesday were encouraged and given confidence to do so by the small faction of ministers within PDM who have now been decommissioned.

"Having moved to terminate the current source of instability, I am confident that the situation will settle," he said.

For additional reports from The Post-Courier, go to PACIFIC ISLANDS REPORT News/Information Links: Newspapers/The Post-Courier (Papua New Guinea).

Pacific Islands News Association (PINA) Website: http://www.pinanius.org 

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