The National, Thursday, June 9th 2011
ACTING Prime Minister Sam Abal was unmoved last night by news that he had been expelled by a group, purporting to be the Enga branch of the National Alliance party.
A statement announcing the expulsion was signed by Paul Kurai as chairman, Kundapen Talyaga as secretary, treasurer Luke Kembol and foundation member Rex Paki.
Also yesterday, a faction of the United Resource Party, led by leader William Duma, dumped Minister assisting the Prime Minister on constitutional matters Francis Potape as a member of the party.
Both actions stemmed from the sacking of deputy leader of NA highlands Don Polye as Foreign Affairs Minister and URP leader William Duma as Petroleum and Energy Minister last Friday by Abal.
An aide of Abal said last night the acting prime minister was unperturbed by the purported sacking and that, as a financial member of National Alliance, certain processes and procedures, stipulated under the NA constitution, would need to be followed.
In any case, sacking a parliamentary party member was the prerogative of the party leader and nobody else.
He said NA President Simon Kaiwi conveyed the same to the acting PM last night.
Registrar of political parties Sir Kina Bona denied knowledge of the two purported sackings, but said any such move would have to comply with the constitution of each party.
In related moves:
.The URP had expressed disappointment over the “lack of professionalism” in the sacking of their parliamentary leader and minister for petroleum and energy;
.The URP itself appeared split on the issue with only three MPs present and Potape denying there was any meeting where his sacking was formalised; and
.A protest march over the double sacking was scheduled for Mt Hagen city, Duma’s electorate, today. But, it was uncertain last night whether police would approve the march.
Abal was said to be unperturbed and “ready to get on with the business of government”.
“The acting prime minister has the support of the Grand Chief (Prime Minister Sir Michael Somare) who was informed through his family of the sackings,” the aide said.
“The entire highlands NA members, except Polye, have endorsed Sir Michael’s choice of Abal as the DPM and acting PM.
“All the regional NA membership have endorsed Sir Michael’s choice.
“All government coalition parties have pledged their support.
“Abal carries the full powers, duties and responsibilities of the prime minister.”