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Oh my Penge

Speaker Nape must go says union boss

THE PNG Trade Union Congress has called for the resignation of the Speaker and Clerk of Parliament over what was termed the embarrassment of Sir Paulias Matane’s re-election as Governor-General in June.

PNGTUC president Michael Malabag was responding to the Supreme Court ruling that declared the Governor-General's election null and void.

"Speaker Jeffery Nape and Clerk Don Pandan are responsible for this fiasco and it is high time they uphold and protect the integrity of Parliament, otherwise ship out," Mr Malabag said.

He said Parliament had become a circus over the years under the leadership of Sinasina-Yongamul MP Nape.

Mr Malabag said the people of PNG had lost faith in the legislative arm of government and “nobody in his right mind can deny that fact”.

"I am absolutely amazed that the former Attorney-General and Minister for Justice provided legal opinion on the election of the Governor-General which was misleading.

"The very people who came out publicly to support the actions of Parliament should bow their heads in shame and resign if they have any dignity left," he said.

Mr Malabag said it was embarrassing because Parliament had made a mockery of the position of the Queen’s representative.

"What an embarrassment to the Commonwealth when due process was not complied with," he said.

"Sir Paulias is a person beyond reproach, a statesman of the highest degree, and for Parliament to treat this election process with total contempt is a complete mockery to a person of his standing.

"If the government had the numbers, which was plainly obvious on the floor of parliament that day, why did they not simply comply with constitutional requirements?

"Sir Paulias has my undivided support and that of the trade union movement," Mr Malabag said, "and I sincerely hope that commonsense will prevail in the next sitting of Parliament as directed by the Supreme Court

Source: PNG Exposed Blog


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Reginald Renagi

The way Acting PM Sam Abal and other senior Ministers scurried to Rabaul like silly kids in the Falcon Jet to reassure Sir Paulias that all was not lost looks a total farce to the public.

It makes Sam Abal look stupid to educated PNGeans and makes them wonder whether this is a sign of more silly things to come from the government in the new year.

Sam and company telling the fallen knight that he was still the government's choice for possible re-election as GG was just rubbing salt into the wounds.

It's as if the government has still not learnt its lessons from earlier mistakes.

This does not augur well for the Acting PM Sam Abal's professional image. What he should really be telling the citizenry is that he has things under control from here on.

It looks bad for Sam Abal and the government for him to be seen grovelling at the feet of the fallen knight in this manner.

It was the government's fault to go along with the flawed parliamentary process of getting Sir Paulias initially placed in this very embarrasing position as PNG's Vice Regal.

Moreso, their action and proclamation that Parliament made a mistake in the election process for the Governor-General indirectly holds the speaker responsible, as alluded to by Bernard's article.

Bernard is also right to say that Speaker Nape, being the guardian of the Parliament, has made a major constitutional blunder that will go down in PNG's political history.

Nape's big mistakes will no doubt be missed by his electorate. The people are not interested in this, they're concerned about basic services.

They will hold Nape to account on this, as he has reportedly failed to deliver to his people in the whole time he has been in Parliament.

But this certainly will not be missed by the educated few from Sinasina Yonggamugl who will challenge him in the 2012 national elections.

Yes Barbara, like you said we just have to wait and see. But let's hope there is no more commedy of errors again from the government under Sam Abal in the new year.

We just have to hold our breath...

Reginald Renagi

Paul Oates asks, Am I expecting too much? What's it take? Barbara Short asks, What should be done to solve this problem?

Well for a start, the Office of Speaker has lost its integrity and credibility.

Parliament made a big blunder in the procedures used to elect the Vice Regal and the Speaker should take full responsibility.

Because Speaker Nape will not ever own up to the error of his ways (he has not done so before and will not now), a frustrated Opposition is taking him to court.

The court case will be slow and it will take some time for an outcome.

Like Barbara says, we just have to wait and see. But the good people of PNG cannot afford the luxury of time to wait and see.

The people are getting very impatient at the way Parliament is being run. They are frustrated at the antics of Speaker Nape.

To top this off was the recent commedy of errors by certain key players in the National Alliance Coalition as well as the government leadership itself, especially the PM.

There is obviously a serious leadership problem in PNG politics and something must be done soon as the citizens are fast losing trust and confidence in the Somare government.

Barbara Short

Some good points, Paul. I guess we just have to wait and see!

Paul Oates

David Ketepa's blog has details of a previous time there was a Constitutional crisis in PNG. I wonder will the current one just slide back
into history or will something positive come from it?

There's possibly a cultural divide between us and traditional PNG leaders who clearly enjoy the theatre and drama of the whole affair and love being involved.

It's obviously exciting like traditional clan warfare used to be. I wonder if we can expect some to rise above this playground and start caring for their people?

Am I expecting too much? What's it take?

Barbara Short

Self-government in PNG has obviously become very difficult this year. The Members of Parliament, and their Clerks, do not seem to understand the correct procedures.

The voting public, who are not trained in politics and legal matters, are confused.

The Lawyers, who have studied the laws of the country, have been slow to act when they have seem mistakes being made.

This has resulted in a lot of confusion in PNG.

What should be done to solve this problem?

Timithy Burton

The bottom line is that the Prime Minister, Governor-General and Speaker have not answered or properly challenged the no confidence allegations by the opposition and its own coalition members.

Even today we have the acting PM instructing lawyers to contest the order of five Supreme Court judges on frivolous grounds.

Barbara Short

Bernard - I don't know any of the politics you speak of but I am a friend of Sir Paulias Matane and have been very sorry to hear the trouble that he has had to face since the confusion about his re-election.

I know that he was in a position where he could not comment.

When the "mess up" occurred I wondered why Sir Michael Somare or the Attorney General didn't pick up that a mistake had been made by the Speaker and the Clerk.

To me, in Australia, the correct method of the election sounded logical. But I was told that as a very large proportion of the Parliament voted for Sir Paulias Matane that was why he was re-elected without going through the correct procedure.

The vote that was taken was to affirm that Sir Paulias could stand again for election (against other nominees) after already serving one term, not to re-elect him to the office. However, for whatever reason, it was used as a device for re-election. This has now ended in tears - KJ

Bernard Yegiora

Gina - Unless other intending candidates pick up this negative issue and explain it properly to the illiterate people in rural areas, this current issue will not have any impact on his election come 2012.

He will use his crafty tactic of pumping money to voters, and talk about how, as Speaker, he maintained stability (which attracted foreign investment, leading to the growth of PNG's economy) to bid for a third term.

If he resigns from office what impact will it have on his voters? To the educated people of his electorate, he has already lost his credibility. To the uneducated, physically vacating office will spoil his reputation, people will lose their confidence in him.

While stepping down from office may be seen as a respectable thing to do in normal circumstances, in this scenario resigning from office will be political suicide.

We cannot ignore the fact that pressure is already mounting with continuous reports in the daily newspapers of him doing nothing tangible in his electorate, as well as his trips to Australia.

His justification would be to state that his current office is very demanding, warranting his attention. Also, as a hard working leader, he needs a break from the pressures of work.

What about the Office of Speaker, one might ask. Well, no doubt, the integrity of the office is under the spotlight.

Furthermore, as reported in the Post-Courier, the manner in which the acting PM and other senior Ministers travelled to Rabaul to apologise to Sir Paulius speaks volumes.

Their action and proclamation that Parliament made a mistake in the election process of the Governor-General, indirectly holds the speaker responsible.

As the guardian of the Parliament, he has made a major constitutional blunder that will go down in PNG's political history.

Gina Samar

If Speaker Nape does not have the grace to resign himself, let this be food for thought for his voters

Jeremiah Ten

It's amazing here in PNG. Its unique that nobody speaks up when something is wrong or ought to be made right.

Its is also the same when we claim victories for wars not fought. In the last few years since the reign of the Speaker and the current government I have not heard of constructive criticism from the spirited NGO's or the powerful unions in PNG.

What face do we hold in respect of upright ethical conduct and spot checks and balances. It's about time we speak rather than to be doomed by our shallow commentaries

Barbara Short

I don't know Mr Malabag but I heartily agree with his summing up of the huge "mess-up" that occurred when the Parliament was handling the appointment of the next Governor-General.

It is obvious that important legal matters take a long time to be resolved in PNG and much confusion reigns in the meantime.

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