Ousted PNG Opposition Leader Disappointed In Process

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Namah: Short cuts were taken in effort to replace him

By Donald Willie

PORT MORESBY, Papua New Guinea (PNG Post-Courier, Dec. 5, 2014) – Vanimo Green MP and ousted Opposition leader, Belden Namah, expressed disappointment with how the new opposition leader was elected, saying that due processes were not followed.

Mr Namah and Rabaul MP Allan Marat said the election followed the recent trend in the Papua New Guinea politics — katim kona, where short cuts are done and proper processes not followed.

He was questioning what the rush to become the opposition leader, was.

"The meeting held in this room on Thursday, last week was not called by me, who was the incumbent opposition leader," Mr Namah said.

"As far as I am concerned, to call a parliamentary caucus, it will be the prerogative of the incumbent opposition leader to call all the members of the Opposition to discuss issues of importance, and if it has to do with leadership, I will have to call the caucus and put on the table the issue of opposition leader if it is required."

He said he had informed the members of the opposition that he had been sick for the two days prior to the re-election, and expected commonsense to prevail and have some curtesy for him as the leader of the opposition.

He said in the caucus that gathered for the meeting which Mr Marat was not part of, there was an absence of the agendas of meeting in the minute that had been circulated.

He said there was a "hidden agenda" of the issue of opposition leader’s position.

[PIR editor’s note: RNZI reported that ‘Papua New Guinea's new opposition leader says his side will establish an alternative government by January, launching policy on all major issues confronting PNG. ... The opposition has more than doubled in numbers to eight MPs with Don Polye's Triumph, Heritage Empowerment Party recently joining the ranks. ... Although far outnumbered in the 111-seat parliament by the Peter O'Neill-led government, the opposition has MPs from each of PNG's four regions and includes the country's only female provincial Governor, Julie Soso. ... Mr Polye says his vibrant line-up offers a viable alternative leadership for PNG.’]

Messrs Namah and Marat were also disappointed with Parliament Speaker Theodore Zurenuoc’s, involvement in the leadership tussle, saying he was the right person to have advised otherwise.

"The Speaker made a fundamental mistake by leaving his chair and coming into the opposition caucus to dictate what should be done," Mr Namah said.

"The opposition caucus is not the turf of the Speaker, with due respect, matters relating to the opposition caucus is best left for the opposition," said Mr Marat.

He said that with the Speaker’s recent statements of having no constitutional law provision governing this situation, the next best thing should have been commonsense and democratic fairness.

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