Parkop explains reasons for move

Letters, Normal

I UNDERSTAND the sentiments and disappointment of “Parkop nambawan supporter” (The National, March 12), and others like him who might have reached the same conclusion after hearing the announcement by the Speaker as to my affiliation in Parliament.
I respect the views of the author but I would have thought that if indeed he or she was my number one supporter, he or she would have not rushed to judge but await my explanation especially when the announcement was not made by me but by the Speaker.
In politics, some decision we make might not please all our supporters but those who are genuine supporters should learn to ascertain the truth and get an explanation before rushing to judgment or conclusion.
The fact is that I have not joined the Government. I have moved to the middlebench so that I can assert more of my status as an independent MP where I can support or oppose the Government when I have to.
This is not a new position that I have adopted. I reached this decision last September when I announced my intention to support Sir Michael Somare to remain as Prime Minister until the end of this Parliament.
I have not been attending Opposition caucus meetings after that nor have I been attending Government caucus meetings.
I gave formal notice of this to the Speaker, the Prime Minister and the Opposition leader last year and have been voting and conducting my affiliation accordingly.
I asked the Speaker to relocate me to a middlebench last week so that when I vote on laws before the Parliament, my vote is recognised differently to that of the Opposition.
It is not good for me to sit with the Opposition and not vote in solidarity with them or consistently with them.
For reasons only known to him, the Speaker announced that I was relocating to the Government backbench.
This is wrong and I have reminded the Speaker of this and made a public announcement to that effect. The fact is that I have not joined the Government.
I also did not ask to be relocated to the backbench.
My decision to support the Prime Minister to retain office until his term ends may disappoint some or many members of the public but I hope history will judge me that it is and was the correct decision to make.
Unfortunately, many of our people see cooperation or humbleness as sign of weakness or poor leadership.
I have humbled myself to recognise the contribution Sir Michael has made and the best way to show that is to ensure that if he leaves politics, he does so with dignity and honour.
He may not be a perfect leader but he has done and is doing his best for our people and nation.
If only MPs could agree to end the politics of power and restrict our criticisms or opposition, we will not only develop a good political culture but also give Sir Michael a farewell that he deserves, if indeed he retires at the end of this term of Parliament.  
When the proposed amendment to the Ombudsman Commission powers under the Constitution came before Parliament, I voted against it and it was defeated initially.
We all changed our mind and supported the amendment when we were briefed by Moses Maladina, the chairman of the Parliamentary Committee on Ombudsman as to the merits and demerits of the amendment.
I will continue to maintain my independence in Parliament and vote on merit and leave my performance to the voters to decided in 2012.
Importantly, I wish to remind our people that good leadership is also being humble and seeking to unite people to work cooperatively for our common good.
Confrontation and power politics and leadership have merit but can also be destructive and divert resource and energy from real issues facing our people and our nation.


Powes Parkop
NCD Governor