Could this be the end for Michael Somare?
Moses tok pinis: Lo! The path of redemption

Turmoil in PNG as Somare deputy defects

WELL, IT LOOKS like the PNG government has blown itself apart in spectacular fashion.

Sky News reports that four key ministers have defected to the opposition in a move that seems to allow deputy prime minister, Sir Puka Temu, to topple The Chief, Sir Michael Somare.

Sir Puka along with Forest Minister Beldan Namah, Culture Minister Charles Abel and Attorney-General Ano Pala have publicly announced they’ll quit the government.

“There is a lot of disharmony in the country and in the cabinet,” Sir Puka said, affirming that a vote of no confidence will be moved when parliament sits tomorrow. The vote is likely to occur next week.

Transport Minister Don Polye had been expected to launch a leadership challenge today, but Sir Puka’s move to opposition has thrown PNG politics into melt down.

“We have the numbers, that's why he [Sir Puka] moved to join the new government,” an opposition spokesman said.

Sir Mekere Morauta’s opposition now claims 52 members of 109 MPs and more ministers are expected to defect tonight.

The political turmoil that threatens to bring down Sir Michael began earlier this month when PNG's Supreme Court overturned laws that prevented government changes when parties switched allegiance.

The ruling allows disgruntled politicians to once again behave as they choose, returning PNG to a prospect of constant political upheaval.

Western Province Governor Bob Danaya, the chief architect in the legal challenge, aid the formation of a new government is imminent but the leadership issue still to be discussed.

“People want change and it must be genuine with new leadership”, he said.

It remains possible that Sir Michael will have the numbers tomorrow to adjourn parliament as a strategy to delay the vote of no confidence.

Spotter: Peter


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Colin Huggins

This, if true, is disgusting. "But I think it is more with the Government which has about six hundred million kina to buy support. And this is exactly what is happening and has happened in the past.” [Posted by Peter at 05:25pm]

Where, PNG friends, does 600 million kina suddenly appear from - when the infrastructure of the country is collapsing, schools are not being looked after, hospitals are without proper service, and the list goes on. It borders on looting.

Answers, please. I was in PNG 1963/69. I didn't want to be there, but I was, and strangely enough got to enjoy the work that was needed, and I am proud of what I managed to do.

Now I read what the Somare clan is doing, I really feel sick. The quicker that family is bought to justice, the better.


Alphonse is a good and wise man. Dispela i tok tru. Unfortunately he was driven from his job at UPNG partly by orchestrated rascal attacks on his house and family. But he's doing good work now at NRI.


Alphonse Gelu seems to have his finger on the pulse...


Despite predictions, a motion for a vote of no confidence in the PNG Government was not put today, with commentators saying it shows Prime Minister Sir Michael Somare has shored up his support.

A vote seemed likely after four Cabinet Ministers defected to the Opposition on Monday with former Deputy Prime Minister, Dr Puka Temu, becoming the new leader of the Opposition.

Political scientist Dr Alfonse Gelu says people expected the motion to be put but he says PNG politics is very fluid and clearly the Opposition didn’t have the numbers that it had boasted of on Monday night.

He says the Government appears to have the support of around 60 of the 109 MPs.

“I think from the period now until around next week there will be intense lobbying taking place. And it has appeared in the media that a large sum of money has been thrown around by both camps.

"But I think it is more with the Government which has about six hundred million kina to buy support. And this is exactly what is happening and has happened in the past.”

Source: Radio New Zealand International

Dennis Badi

All fuss about this integrity law thing does not makes any sense, there's more corruption nowadays, more side money, its all stinks, this NA led coalition.

There should be change of leadership with new guns, enough of Somare's recycled policies. We can talk about stability but people in the system are spoiling it, using it for their own personal gain.

We must not talk about stability, stability will only work if we have new leaders like Powes, Sam Basil etc, people who have the vision.

NA never gave Hela province status, it was the pipol and God's call.

The politicians are going crazy, it's all about money, big business, e.g., you see the Mt Bosavi people are still suffering after the road was launched last year by Michael Somare and Anderson Agiri, it has not started.

This politics is dragging the whole country backwards, we are worse off now, the longer NA and Somare are in powe, hell will break loose.

All you writers to this blog, I don't where you work but I work in the field and know what's happening. I know people who get a slice of every approved project proposal from Kutubu, you see it happening.

The outstanding MOA grants never been paid, promises, promises, nothing gud. It's not about stability we just don't want stupids leading the people. Businesses won't suffer, pipol want change, services.

It's about quality leadership, pipol who listen to pipol, for stability leave it to the pipol and nature...

Max Itanaki

Polye is now the Deputy PM. Somare to announce new Cabinet!

Dez Yaninen

Polye had the option to use his numbers to topple Somare but has instead chosen to exercise restraint out of respect; most likely to let the Chief finish his term before he takes control of the NA machine. This is a quality found rarely in PNG politicians.

Those who take power by force haven't lasted long in the past, and in my opinion, will not last long - it will just be a continual numbers game, with leaders focusing on short term projects to please partners now, rather than making sacrifices now to reap a better tomorrow.

For the sake of stability we need the integrity law back.


It's probably down to Speaker Nape now. He could force an adjournment of parliament to avoid a vote of no-confidence or simply not allow a vote to be taken, as he has done in the past.

He has shown many times that he is a stooge of the NA and proper parliamentary procedure has been ignored.

Belden Namah is reported in 'The National' as describing the tense political rumblings as an all-out war, and Puka Temu has been quoted as questioning Somare's mental competence.

The opposition says it has at least 54 of the 109 parliament members on its side willing to topple the government.

By the way, where does this leave Matane? Is he still the GG, as he hasn't been sworn in yet?


Max Itanaki

I hear from the grapevine that yesterday the old man opted for his son to succeed him as the new leader of NA and Prime Minister come today's vote.

This has now caused some NA members like Nama, Puka, Don Poyle, Abal and others to break alliances and call on the Opposition to join them.

It looks set that either William Duma (9 members) or Puka Temu or Don Poyle (22 in aggregate) will contest the top job from within this group.

They just need 25 from the opposition ranks. It looks like the middle group (Duma, Poyle and Puka) will be calling the shots for a new government. Let's see what transpires.

Sam Leonhard

PNG is a sovereign state and the people cry is change and quality governance. Thats why a new government that is genuine must take the lead now.

The NA led government has lost its right to lead, breaching so many leaderships codes that needed explanation, yet they can't. So why remain?

Just like Rudd, they must go and give the reins of leadership to real leaders with feelings for human beings of this sovereign state.

Reginald Renagi

The Deputy Prime Minister Dr Puka Temu should have thrown down the gauntlet by first asking PM Somare for a change of leadership of the NA Party. If Somare refused him then he should have subsequently directly made a leadership challenge for the PM's position.

Puka Temu seems to have jumped ship too early by siding with the opposition group and other unhappy MPs who defected from the coalition and the middle benches.

The opposition camped last weekend at the March Girl's Resort at Gaire village beach just 30 minutes drive outside Mosbi.

This put him outside the decision-making loop and does not look good for Puka Temu. A further risk now is Deputy NA party leader from the highlands, Don Poye, who also directly made a leadership challenge to Somare.

PM Somare intends to make a reshuffle this morning amidst a lot of political confusion. Don Polye has many highlands MPs on his side, so if the numbers go his way than Puka will miss out for the PM's job, and will be in opposition until the next elections in 2012.

But it is still too early to confirm numbers yet and anything can happen today. It can go either way for the two former deputies: Puka and Don.

Reginald Renagi

In this morning's news bulletin, Puka Temu has now stated what the public has known for a very long time. He said it is now the time for Prime Minister Somare to relinquish the PM's position as his mind is not as sharp as it used to be. He has also created a lot of disharmony within the NA party and the coalition.

Somare was previously thrown out of his othe party before for this sorts of shenanigans he plays. But it seems he has not even learnt his lesson well and will again relive it by now paying a high price this time.

Yes, it does look like the end of the road for the Chief. But don't hold your breath yet as the old maestro has been known to pull out a rabbit out of the hat before, and could come up with a trump card hidden up his sleeves in the last minute.

Paul Reinbara

Puka was brilliant but not that smart to move over quickly to join Mekere, they claim they have the numbers but I dont really think they will topple Somare, Somare will give the post to Polye, thats the only way he will serve out his full term in government.

Polye has the numbers to negotiate for the leadership, now there is this other group called the Eastern Block, they are all part of the Opposition, this group was created by the Opposition to lure MPs from the Chimbu and Eastern Highlands and part of the newly formed Jiwaka Province, they might stand a chance as power brokers but no way will they make a difference in sinking this NA ship.

Unless a bulk of MPs from the Southern Region and Highlands jump ship I dont see this ending in the favour of the current group camped at Bluff In.

Barbara Short

They're just trying to follow the recent example in Australia of bringing about a change in leadership! If we can do it - PNG can do it!

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