JAMES APA GUMUNO
PRIME Minister Sir Michael Somare says he will bow out of politics in 2012.
Sir Michael flew to Kandep in Enga province on Wednesday to campaign for his candidate Don Polye, who was bidding to win back the Kandep seat he lost in a successful election petition.
Sir Michael told a big crowd at a political rally for Mr Polye that this was his last time to visit Kandep as Prime Minister.
He said serving the country for 42 years in politics was a very long time and he was growing old.
He said he would retire, go to his village, get involved in village life, and watch politics from there.
He said the country had young capable leaders who would drive the country forward.
Sir Michael has led the National Alliance party since its inception, and would hand over the reins to its new leader by 2012.
There were suggestions a successor might be announced earlier, during the party convention next year.
He said he had four good deputy leaders representing the four regions who were capable of taking over.
Sir Michael said Mr Polye had shown great leadership during his seven years in Parliament.
He said the benefits of his work could be seen at the district and national level.
The Grand-Chief urged the crowd to vote for Mr Polye and return him to the Parliament.
He said the other 14 candidates vying for the seat were worthy candidates, but Mr Polye was his man, from his party.
Mr Polye thanked the Prime Minister for his support, describing him as a committed man with the right principles who had a vision to change the country for the better.
Other leaders who attended the rally included Police Minister Sani Rambi, Education Minister James Marape, Foreign Affairs Minister Sam Abal, National Alliance president Simon Kaiwe, Police Commissioner Gari Baki, chairman of the Porgera Development Authority Nixon Magape, and National Alliance Enga branch president Paul Kurai.