DOREEN POLOH WAIM
THE Madang and Western Highlands provincial assemblies should replace the two governors whose elections have already been rendered unconstitutional by the courts, Morobe Governor Luther Wenge said.
Despite being dismissed, the two regional MPs – Sir Arnold Amet and Tom Olga – continue to perform their roles and responsibilities as governors.
Speaking at a press conference in Lae yesterday, Mr Wenge said under section 21 of the Organic Law, the governor’s position could be filled by an Open Member.
Mr Wenge, while raising the matter in Parliament last week, said the Inter-Government Relations Minister Job Pomat had raised section 14 of the Organic Law that allowed for a governor who had been removed by the courts of disputed returns or a vote of no-confidence to continue until a new one was elected.
Mr Wenge argued that the section provided by the minister was misinterpreted because it did not provide power for a governor to remain in office for “too long”.
Until now, Sir Arnold and Mr Olga have not convened a meeting at their provincial assemblies to elect new governors, he added.
The actions by the minister and the two governors were a “gross abuse” of section 21 of the Organic Law, Mr Wenge said.
“The point is when you are removed by the operation of the law, your election is illegal and you are no longer a Member of Parliament.”
Mr Wenge said as legislators they should be the last people to break laws.
“But to me, they seem to be the first people to break the laws.”