The National, Monday 06th August, 2012
MOROBE Deputy Governor and Waria local level government president, Morokoi Gaiwata says the law is not clear on local level government presidents resigning to contest the national election.
He said this in Lae yesterday in reply to critics in the media who said he, along with Wampar president Peter Namus and Umi-Atzera president Daki Mao should have resigned to contest in the national election.
Bulolo MP Sam Basil was also concerned about the LLG presidents still in public office while running as candidates for various electorates.Gaiwata said although Section 26 of the Constitution indicated that public office holders should resign six months prior to contesting an election, it did not clearly state whether local government presidents fall under the same category.
“That section does not specify whether both administrative and political office holders should resign,” he said.
If it included politicians as well, then all politicians, national and local level, should leave their posts six months prior to en election, he said.
The deputy governor said he has never seen or heard of a politician resigning from their post to contest an election since 1976, adding that a precedent has been set in Morobe where LLG presidents and provincial premiers had retained their positions.
“Boyamo Sali, Jerry Nalau, Yaip Avini, Ginson Saonu and Bart Philemon were members of the provincial assembly up until they won and moved to parliament,” he said.
Gaiwata said when he was on the campaign trail, he had received a circular from the Acting Secretary for Inter-Government Relations, Russel Ikosi, indicating that LLG representatives should have resigned six months prior.
He sought legal advice and the three lawyers he said he spoke to advised him to continue campaigning.
“If they had said otherwise, I would have stopped and not wasted any more of my time and money.”
He said parliament must make laws to verify and clarify exactly which public office holders it refers to.