Marape: Let vote proceed

The National,Monday July 4th, 2016

FINANCE Minister James Marape says tomorrow’s Hela provincial assembly session to elect an acting governor must be allowed to take place without a repeat of last Tuesday’s aborted meeting.
He told The National yesterday that assembly clerk Watson Ebela last Tuesday adjourned the session to tomorrow based on a motion by Koroba-Lake Kopiago MP and leader of Hela provincial assembly business Philip Undialu.
He appealed to the two candidates – Undialu and Komo-Magarima MP Francis Potape – to allow the process to go ahead.
“In this meeting (tomorrow), we hope only those with standing to participate in assembly programmes, enter the assembly,” Marape said.
“I have requested the Department of Provincial and Local Level Government to provide the list of Hela provincial assembly members.
“Based on that list which will be given to the assembly clerk helped by the police sergeant-at-arms, only assembly members will be allowed and not strangers as what happened on June 28.
“This meeting will have the presence of officials from both Department of Provincial and Local Level Government and Ombudsman Commission, so that our leaders’ conduct in assembly is in decorum, and in respect of court orders and valid government directions.”
Marape said there were major issues that an acting governor needed to take care of, including the LNG benefit spill between Hela and Southern Highlands, Hela’s leadership in the 4.27 per cent LNG purchase endeavours, ongoing lawlessness and closure of late governor Anderson Agiru’s funeral programme.
“For these reasons, it is imperative that Hela assembly elects an acting governor, for us to work together to resolve important matters of concern to Hela people,” he said.
“May I appeal to our people to allow assembly processes to take eminence and may the leadership that emerges lead us to close Agiru’s tenure and set a course for the future of Hela.
“For me, as the Hela leader that had the biggest role in delivering Hela province in my first term of office in 2007-12, I appeal to my two brother MPs who are contesting for this temporary vacancy that Hela is bigger than our individual ego, quest and lust for office.
“Allow the process to run and may assembly members exercise their right to vote, consistent with laws of our country.”
Meanwhile, Undialu said the assembly meeting must not be hijacked by the deputy governor and acting assembly chairman Thomas Potape.