The National, Wednesday, May 18, 2011
THE current political events within the ruling National Alliance party has left Papua New Guineans within and abroad confused as to the facts surrounding the issues of in-fighting for leadership within the party.
Although I am not a political analyst, I am of the view that such situation has been nurtured simply by the failure of the party members to comply with the dictates of the party constitution, which is a legally binding document that empowers the party to survive as an institution.
As a Papua New Guinean, I find it a disgrace to see matured MPs acting like clowns.
The NA party was founded in 1995 by the late Bernard Narokobi (East Sepik), Sir Moi Avei (Central), Bart Philemon (Morobe) and Masket Iangalio (Enga) who invited Sir Michael Somare to lead them to the 1997 general election after he had been sacked as leader of Pangu Pati.
This act displayed a true Melanesian sense of sharing with someone in his or her state of disappointment.
In the 1997 elections, the party did not fare well and played a minor role.
However, in the 2002 general election, the NA took 19 of 109 seats in parliament, making it the largest single party and it was invited to form the government.
The NA-led government of 2002-07 was the first government since independence to serve a full five-year term.
In 2006, party co-founder Philemon attempted to depose Sir Michael as party leader but this challenge was unsuccessful and he left.
Philemon then formed the New Generation Party.
At the 2007 general election, the NA party increased its representation, gaining 27 seats and remaining by far the largest party.
Sir Michael was easily confirmed by parliament for another term as prime minister.
Several political parties teamed up with the NA and 13 independents joined the party, bringing its representation to 40.
The current players of NA are Sir Michael; Don Polye – deputy leader (highlands); Ano Pala – deputy leader (southern); Patrick Pruaitch – deputy leader (Momase); and Fidelis Semoso – deputy leader (NGI).
So who is the right candidate to replace Sir Michael?
There is no provision whatsoever in the constitution of NA empowering any intruder to meddle with the issue of leadership.
A constitution is as symbolic as the Ten Commandment from which all other laws that govern humanity have derived from.
As such, the infighting for leadership at the NA should not be perpetuated by sensible MPs well vested with the NA constitution.
Let the constitution interpret itself by appointing a rightful candidate from the current players above, yet within the party’s legal parameters.
Yanjop Siaa Kelya
Waikato, New Zealand