The National – Friday, December 31, 2010
A COALITION partner of the National Alliance party-led government came under attack from a key figure of the ruling party yesterday, underlining the tension and distrust that exist within the different factions in government.
NA stalwart and Minister for Labour and Industrial Relations Sani Rambi yesterday attacked Enga Governor and People’s Party leader Peter Ipatas in a media statement, describing him as someone who cannot be trusted.
Rambi fired the broadside after Ipatas reportedly took offence at not being credited with the rise of Wabag MP Sam Abal to deputy prime minister, and then acting prime minister, at the expense of Kandep MP Don Polye.
It was suggested the move to demote Polye and promote Abal was cleverly done to destabilise and destroy NA in the highlands.
Ipatas later denied this, saying he did not set out to destabilise or destroy NA.
But, Rambi said Ipatas’ denial of having any part in the recent reshuffle “only reveals the cynical and sinister person that he (Ipatas) is”.
He said Ipatas was out to cause instability and destabilise the government.
“Everyone who follows politics in PNG knows Ipatas is the one who sponsored the opposition’s drive to overthrow the government when he led members of the current opposition to nail their shoes to a post at his Bluff Inn Motel last year.
“He has always been planning and scheming to change the government since 2007 after failing miserably in his campaign to become the next prime minister,”
rambi said: “For him to now say that he is a ‘friend’ of NA, and will continue to support the government, is quite difficult to believe. His kind of friendship is one that NA, as an institution, cannot afford to trust.
“I urge Ipatas not to meddle into the NA party affairs because NA is simply too big an institution for him to play his self-centred politics with.
“While we respect and value the support of coalition partners, we will not tolerate those with sinister motives as, we believe, is the case with People’s Party and its leader.”
Rambi said NA was intact under the leadership of deputy leaders Polye (highlands), Patrick Pruaitch (Momase), Ano Pala (Papua) and Fidelis Semoso (New Guinea Islands) and would return to form the government after the elections in 2012.
Ipatas could not be reached for comments last night.
There were speculations that Ipatas and others outside NA were involved in convincing Prime Minister Sir Michael Somare to remove Polye as deputy prime minister.
Polye’s removal and the promotion of Abal created tension within NA, and a distrust for members of the coalition, and this had fuelled speculation the opposition would capitalise on this to remove the prime minister through a vote of no-confidence when parliament sits on Jan 11 to elect a new governor-general.
The opposition had said it would introduce a motion for a vote of no-confidence despite acting Speaker Francis Marus insisting he would not entertain any such motion.