Ex-Deputy PM Namah Shut Out Of PNG Coalition

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O’Neill will not extend invitation for former partner

By Frank S Kolma

PORT MORESBY, Papua New Guinea (The National, July 27, 2012) – Caretaker Prime Minister Peter O’Neill said yesterday there is no invitation for his outgoing deputy, Belden Namah, to join his budding coalition government, firmly shutting the door on the PNG Party leader’s ambitions of playing a key role in the country’s development for the next five years.

"At this stage, we know that Belden Namah has made his political bed and he and his followers can sleep in that bed," O’Neill said.

"No, Belden Namah and his PNG Party have not been invited to join our numerically increasing coalition."

O’Neill was responding to The National’s report yesterday which quoted one of O’Neill’s coalition partners, Sir Puka Temu, extending an invitation to Namah to join the coalition "in the interest of a government of national reconciliation and national unity".

Namah came right back with this response yesterday: "We are the core group of Aug 2 but Peter (O’Neill) is comfortable now with NA, PPP and PDM. "Peter (O’Neill) is saying that he will not accept me and my group. That is okay. He is the man with the highest number and will be called by the governor-general. "I will not be seen with Somare. I appreciate Puka offering me the olive branch but he is not Peter (O’Neill). I text O’Neill and told him: ‘You must be careful. They have not forgiven us yet’.

"We wanted to expose and depose Somare in August which we did.

"Now they are going right back with him. I want young leaders to see that they are all together in a small pond with big fishes. They will get nothing. They must join me."

O’Neill said it was Namah who was responsible for burning the bridges that he could have walked back on.

"He is responsible for bad-mouthing colleagues who have stood by him in the past few months. What more does he want?

"Our emerging new government coalition has reached a superior numerical position where any invitation - if one has to be made at all to Namah and the PNG Party’s group of MPs-elect - will not be mine to make alone.

"I owe it to all partners in our new coalition – National Alliance Party, People’s Progress Party, THE Party, People’s Democratic Party, People’s United Assembly Party, People’s Party, Social Democratic Party, Our Development Party and New Generation Party – to fully consult them and to receive their unanimous agreement before any invitation is made.

"Our coalition grouping has not made such a decision in respect of Namah and PNG Party’s fate."

O’Neill said invitations to join his coalition have been extended to independent MPs-elect and candidates that are still to be declared under other political parties.

"Our foremost political leaders and elder statesmen are supporting me to form a new national unity, reconciliatory and reformist government based on positive and gainful transformational ideals, respect for our national Constitution, our key arms of government, our democratic institutions and instruments of state."

While O’Neill’s camp in Alotau was swelling past 45 members

physically on the ground by yesterday, Namah’s camp at the Rapopo Plantation Hotel in Kokopo was kept under tight security.

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