Recently, the media raised two interesting questions: Who will be the next PM when the Prime Minister quits politics before the 2012 general elections and what will happen to the National Alliance party or the Government?
The issues are subjective and you will get many different answers.
So who will be the next PM?
This is easy in an ideal political world where the job will naturally go to the next senior MP after the Prime Minister in the ruling party’s “chain of command”.
In this case, it should go to the Deputy PM Sir Puka Temu if the PM quits politics next year as speculated by our newspapers.
However, this will not happen because we are not in an ideal political world.
There are many competing interests and shifting alliances within any coalition government.
First of all, the PM will not quit next year or before the elections.
He is enjoying the power and controlling the destiny of some six million citizens.
He is likely to extend his record breaking streak of being in politics until after the 2012 elections.
No one believes this talk of quitting politics any more as the people have heard it once too many times.
On a hypothetical note, if he were to quit politics next year due to health reason, the NA will most likely see splits in its senior ranks.
Some party members have openly showed they do not want Sir Puka to take over the reins.
Another outcome is that the NA may not do too well in the 2012 polls without the main drawcard, the PM.
With due respects to other NA members, no one is qualified nor have the required seniority, depth of public administration knowledge and experience; and political maturity to succeed Sir Michael Somare than Sir Puka.
Apart from the Deputy PM, there is another option – a controversial outcome but not impossible.
This option would be another record breaker for the PM in PNG.
If Sir Michael was serious about elevating the status of PNG women in his twilight years of politics, he will give his job to the best performing MP in the coalition Government – Dame Carol Kidu.
As an MP, she has no equal and her actions speak louder than words and she is well supported by a competent secretary running an effective department than most of her peers.
This decisive action by Sir Michael will be in full recognition for the tireless efforts of the sole woman MP (and one of PNG’s best lawmakers in recent times).
This will upset the male MPs but they will soon get over it to see that good governance, accountability, responsibility and “sanity” returns to both Parliament and Government before the 2012 elections.
Finally, I predict the PM is not yet ready to quit politics.
There are still many outstanding political reforms left by former prime minister Sir Mekere Morauta that this Government has yet to progress and this is not the time to quit politics.