PNG Post-Courier

PORT MORESBY, Papua New Guinea (Dec. 30, 2010) – So now we know.

And that is, the Prime Minister Grand Chief Sir Michael Somare did not just give the Deputy Prime Minister’s job to Wabag Member of Parliament Sam Abal, and then elevated him to the Acting Prime Minister’s post. He was advised by senior government ministers Moses Maladina, Peter Ipatas, Andersen Agiru, Paul Tiensten, Arthur Somare, Peter O’Neill and John Pundari to do that. It is interesting to note that, apart from Andersen Agiru, the others are leaders of the coalition partners in the National Alliance (NA) led government.

We are sure, the Acting Prime Minister will get around to acknowledging and thanking these men, but what we want to know is why? What was their motive? Was it because Mr. Polye was a threat to them? Was it because with Mr. Polye, they would not get their way and view Mr. Abal as a push over?

The Opposition provides its own answer, claiming the king makers did what they did to serve their own interest that they would not find Mr. Polye an easy man to influence. However, that is contrary to what Enga Governor Peter Ipatas is claiming. Mr. Ipatas revealed that their role was to work towards political stability.

It’s our responsibility as coalition partners not to rock the boat but continue support, Ipatas claimed.

Well, well, well! If Mr. Polye had remained as Deputy Prime Minister and then became Acting Prime Minister, there would be political instability, is that what Mr. Ipatas is saying? How can that happen? We ask because Mr. Polye survived a challenge mounted by Mr. Abal for the position of leader of the NA highlands bloc. That tells us that he has the total support of the highlands National Alliance Members of Parliament (MPs). We find it hard to accept the explanation provided by Ipatas, so perhaps the good Governor may want to enlighten us. Leaders are mandated by the people and they should account for their actions and words to their people.

We, however, find that the opposite has happened. There is real instability in the NA led government now than ever before. We are not assuming here when we say that the people of this country expect a vote of no-confidence motion to be moved in the government in January, when Parliament meets to elect a new Governor General. Furthermore there is a real threat that the NA party faces disintegration sooner than later.

On the other hand, Mr. Polye has accepted his demotion. He is credited for taking the National Alliance party into the Highlands and into Enga Province. For Mr. Polye, the revelation that forces within his own government pushed for his removal has opened his eyes. Now he knows his enemies. Now he knows where he stands with the coalition leaders. Now he knows where he stands with his fellow Enga Members, Mr. Abal, Mr. Ipatas and Mr. John Pundari.

He stands firm with the party he has helped Sir Michael and the others to build into this powerful institution. He tells us that the party’s solidarity is important, that he will ensure all government projects, programs and plans are implemented until 2012. We are of the view that he and the other Highlands MPs know what was afoot.

Now that the Acting Speaker Francis Marus has set the date for Parliament to meet, all eyes are on Waigani now. The possibility of a change in government is becoming more apparent with government factions pledging to break ranks and join the Opposition. A good number of Government Members of Parliament, including ministers in the ruling NA have indicated they would support a change in government. Many MPs are concerned that they are being left out in the cold while a few are controlling project funds the ones who are close cohorts of the so-called kitchen cabinet are treated more favorably than the rest.

Key players in the next few weeks will be Mr. Polye, Speaker of Parliament Mr. Jeffery Nape, United Resource Party leader Mr. William Duma, Vanimo Green MP Mr. Belden Namah and former Deputy Prime Minister Sir Puka Temu.

The countdown has begun.

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