The National – Monday, January 3, 2011
By YVONNE HAIP
SIDELINED Prime Minister Sir Michael Somare has been praised for stepping aside after public prosecutor referred him to the chief judge to appoint a leadership tribunal.
Western Highlands’ human rights advocacy group, Jiwaka Waal Dam Association (JWDA) described the move by Sir Michael as “the most honourable thing by a reputable leader”.
JWDA’s executive secretary, Wilfred Kulno, said Sir Michael, as founding father of the country, had made the right decision to step aside and had done the country good.
He also commended Sir Michael for appointing Wabag MP, Sam Abal as deputy and acting Prime Minister.
He said the appointment of Abal was the right choice, as Abal was a God-fearing man with wisdom.
He also said Abal had already been well groomed as a senior politician, as well as the son of a former parliamentarian (late Sir Tei Abal) and could be trusted with such positions.
He further thanked Sir Michael for allowing the Jiwaka region with its more than 200,000 people to be a separate province, and allocating K20 million for the rehabilitation of the Waghi Mek plantations.
Kulno is calling on Abal to fast track outstanding issues so that Jiwaka becomes a fully pledged province before 2012, as well as release the approved K20 million so that Waghi Mek could be revived in time to help generate income for the
He also urged to Jiwaka transitional authority to cooperate and work closely with the government to ensure that necessary services were delivered.
JWDA has a long association with Sir Michael since December 2001 when Sir Michael and Natioanl Alliance party president, Simon Kaiwi, toured Minj to endorse candidates for the 2002 general election.
It was at that time, the association delivered the funding submission for Waghi Mek Plantations through its patron and former Jimi MP and lands minister, the late Sir Thomas Kavali.