BY SUSAN MERRELL
AS THE SUN SETS on the career of Papua New Guinea’s grand chief Sir Michael Somare, what should be his swansong?
Sir Michael, the father of the nation, actively led the push for independence in the 1970s and for 43 years served the people of PNG in its parliament—18 years as prime minister.
He is the only prime minister to have seen out a full parliamentary term—aided by the Organic Law on Political Parties and Candidates that made it illegal for party members to defect to the opposition.
Arguably, it was thanks to this law, and to Sir Michael’s ability to successfully meld together and lead a loose coalition of political parties, that PNG gained a reputation as a politically stable nation.
This enhanced PNG’s attractiveness for overseas investors who consider political stability to be one of the main cornerstones of desirability for overseas investment.
The Grand Chief deserves go out on a high note
Those parliamentarians who are paying lip service to the respect and honour they feel for the Grand Chief would be better served to respect and finish what Sir Michael’s illness has prevented him from doing.
For instance: passing the law reserving 22 seats for women in parliament. Sir Michael was the initiator of the Equality and Participation Bill that this falls under.
The most profound act of respect for Sir Michael would be to finish the work he started.