IT IS with sadness that I respond to the sentiments of Betha Somare who has written a strongly worded letter addressed to me regarding my leadership [of the Pangu Pati].
In doing so Betha Somare has also questioned Grand Chief Sir Michael Somare’s choice of personal links and political ties.
I want to point out the importance of this period in which we are contemplating new leadership and direction in Papua New Guinea.
Under the leadership of the current People's National Congress/National Alliance led government, PNG has suffered the greatest loss and damage in our short and politically unstable history.
The decisions accompanying the economic downfall of this country were supported and endorsed by a coalition government.
The timing of Betha’s outburst suggests that we have already lost focus prior to a general election.
It has been my privilege to work alongside Betha’s father, Grand Chief Sir Michael Somare, who groomed each of his children to follow in his footsteps.
I am unaware of the reasons why Betha has not chosen political life for herself. Instead she chooses to berate the choice of many Papua New Guineans who believe in my leadership as parliamentary leader of Pangu Pati.
Unfortunately Betha has insulted many people with her choice of words and the timing of her angry response over her father’s personal and political choice of allegiance.
She has reduced the great Somare brand to that of a non-influential bystander. The Grand Chief is an honourable man with a distinguished record.
I am aware of the challenges that were created in the last five years. I have admitted on numerous occasions that I had erred in my judgement in supporting the prime ministership of Peter O’Neill.
Subsequently, I chose to attend the 80th birthday celebrations of Sir Michael Somare on invitation by the family in Wewak where I fulfilled the primary task of apologising to our great leader.
I will not apportion blame here nor will I dredge up the painful political events of the last four years.
I want to say that in recent times I have had the opportunity to be associated with Sir Michael Somare and Lady Veronica and I am proud to be considered a political ally and a personal friend of theirs.
I am sad to suggest that, as the eldest daughter of a great man, Betha Somare has chosen to focus her negative attention on her own youngest sibling [Dulciana Somare-Brash, shown left nominating for the election on behalf of Pangu] instead of channelling her privilege and influence to ensure that Papua New Guinea gets the change it deserves.
In 2017, Papua New Guinea requires the guidance, charisma and experience of solid leaders. That belief has informed my recent choices. Grand Chief Sir Michael Somare has welcomed the renewal of his emotional and historic link to the party he founded during the period of decolonisation.
Pangu Pati holds a special place in our story of nationhood. I am proud to reconstruct that history with the support and advice of Sir Michael Somare’s youngest daughter, Dulciana Somare-Brash, who is also the strategic policy advisor of Pangu Pati Inc. She is a qualified profession unable to influenced easily by me or anyone.
I am the first to admit that I failed to exercise the right degree of caution when propositions were made to change the leadership of Sir Michael Somare as prime minister in 2011.
I have been a member of parliament for two terms now and I have seen my share of political treachery. I served in the opposition for almost 10 years as I do not share the same views as all those who sat in the coalition government led by PNC prime minister Peter O’Neill.
As the parliamentary leader of Pangu Pati, I want to assure our growing band of Pangu Pati faithful, our executives and our opposition partners throughout Papua New Guinea that I have a solid shared agenda with many of our people who feel anguish and embarrassment over the weak economic performance this corrupt and misguided government led by National Alliance and PNC as the key coalition partners.
I join many current political leaders and thousands of aspiring leaders in promoting a smooth transition that acknowledges the mistakes of the recent past. I want to spearhead the removal of the corrupt elements in the PNC/NA coalition government.
I want to facilitate and ensure a remarkable political shift after the 2017 general elections. This is my promise to PNG.