Sir Julius advises Somare to step aside

National, Normal

The National Monday, December 13, 2010

FORMER prime minister and New Ireland Governor Sir Julius Chan has called on Prime Minister Sir Michael Somare to step down and allow the law to take its course.
He said over the weekend that Sir Michael, as a founding father of the nation and a prominent Melanesian leader, must gracefully allow and uphold the integrity of the judiciary to deliberate without fear and allow the due processes of law to run its course.
Sir Julius said he was encouraged by Sir Michael’s willingness to allow due process of law to deliberate.
“He will have the opportunity to legally defend and prove his innocence and clear his name before the people and the nation, rather than contest and circumvent the normal system under the Leadership Code law, which in itself implies his possible guilt.
“Many peers, including former governor-general Vincent Eri, myself, deputy PM, ministers and MPs have gone through and accepted the outcomes of leadership tribunals.”
Sir Julius said in 1997, the leader of the opposition and strongman late Sir Bill Skate, moved a motion of no-confidence calling on him to resign.
“Sir Michael later amended the motion for me to step aside. Even as the government I led was under a cloud of military interference, I welcomed the vote of no-confidence, I did not adjourn parliament, and I did not interfere with the parliamentary or legal process. 
“On March 25, I submitted to the vote and won by absolute majority 58 to 38. Within three days I decommissioned the minister of finance and planning Chris Haiveta and the minister of defence, Mathias Ijape.
“I established a commission of inquiry to fully investigate the conduct and allegations of Sandline, I then stepped aside to allow the inquiry to run its course.
“I was not forced to step aside – under great duress to myself and threats to my family, incited by the military, I did the right thing – I had a moral responsibility to our people, our constitution and our justice system to preserve the sanctity of democracy.
“Now the finger is pointing back at Sir Michael. As a big man with status, family and reputation to consider, he must now practice what he preached in 1997, he must lead by example, he must show the people that he can do the honorable thing, humble himself and let the processes of the law proceed.”
Sir Julius also called on Arthur Somare to do the same.