By MALUM NALU
DEPARTMENT of Provincial and Local Level Government secretary Dickson Guina says the adjournment of last Tuesday’s Hela provincial assembly session was an internal issue that did not concern the department.
Hela deputy-governor and acting assembly chairman Thomas Potape maintained that the meeting to elect an acting governor to replace late Anderson Agiru had been adjourned to July 28.
However, Hela provincial assembly clerk Watson Ebela said it would meet tomorrow in Tari to elect the acting governor.
Ebela said in a notice last Friday to all lawfully-elected or appointed assembly members including Tari-Pori MP James Marape, Koroba-Lake Kopiago MP Philip Undialu and Komo-Margarima MP Francis Potape that last Tuesday’s assembly meeting was adjourned by way of motion to 10am tomorrow.
He said there would only be two matters on the agenda – swearing in of the president-elect Luke Panguma and the election of the acting governor.
“In the meantime, I am seeking an advice from the Office of the Minister for Inter-Government Relations and his department for a conclusive position on who can lawfully participate in the election of the provincial governor on Tuesday,” Ebela said.
“I extend an open invitation to the officials from the Department of Inter-Government Relations, the Electoral Commission, media and other stakeholders and the general public and business community in Hela province as observers.
“Last Tuesday’s session could not proceed because certain people who were not supposed to be in the assembly were there.
“A vote was to have taken place to decide whether Undialu or Francis Potape would be the acting governor.
“Our department, through our minister (Leo Dion), has given advice to them (Hela assembly) so I have no comment until such time that the assembly resumes,” Guina told The National.
“The advice was that the assembly has to meet and elect a governor.
“The adjournment is based on their own differences.
“Our advice is based on law.”
Thomas Potape said Undialu had brought in local level government presidents and nominated members who were not supposed to be in the assembly. He said his advice from the Department of Provincial and Local Level Government was that these “failed presidents” were not allowed to vote.
Potape said it was because of these issues that he had decided to adjourn the assembly so that they could all be sorted out.
By MALUM NALU