The National- Friday, January 14, 2011
By ISAAC NICHOLAS
STATESMAN Sir Pato Kakaraya is tipped to become the new governor-general as parliament meets this morning to conduct a secret ballot.
Sir Pato now has a supporter from Sepik in Wewak MP Moses Manwau.
A statement from Manwau appealed to members of parliament not to vote on party lines.
Manwau is a member of Enga Governor Peter Ipatas’ People’s Party, who had refuted claims that he joined the opposition.
Manwau’s statement spoke volumes although critics had accused Ipatas of not supporting Sir Pato in the past.
Ipatas said last night that he would be happy if Michael Ogio or Sir Pato wins the race.
He said it was the government caucus decision to support Ogio as the Speaker of Parliament Jeffrey Nape, Chief Justice Sir Salamo
Injia and the acting Prime Minister, Sam Abal, were
from the highlands.
He said as governor, he was also a national leader and member of the government coalition to support the government position on a candidate.
“We did not want to embarrass ourselves again and, when the caucus made the decision, I picked up the form and automatically the sponsor.”
Ipatas said the government caucus decided that for the sake of stability, and considering that Bougainville referendum is coming up, decided to nominate Bougainville’s very experienced leader Ogio.
“Bougainville is part of the country and the government caucus made a commitment that Bougainville will still be part of PNG.”
Ipatas said he had reasons why he should not be supporting a highlands candidate as the three Sir Pato, Ronald Rimbao and Sir Matiabe Yuwi were Hela brothers and his support for one would not go down well with the other two.
Manwau stated that the governor general’s office was the highest office in the land and it should be accorded respect, dignity, integrity and principle, and he appealled to members of parliament voting today to vote on conscience and not on party lines.
“The office of the governor-general is the most neutral office for all citizens, and must be kept above party politics.
“Party politics has been responsible for a lot of problems and inefficiencies in the government delivery mechanism in recent times.
“It is not difficult for members of parliament to see that there are certain candidates with distinguished credentials who are vying for the vice-regal office. They do not necessarily align with parties, and we must respect that and not drag their candidature into party politics.
“The vice-regal office must be kept above dirty party politics. It should not be dragged down,” Manwau said.