MINISTER for Petroleum and Energy and parliamentary leader of the United Resource Party William Duma said yesterday five MPs who left the opposition to join his party are not yet members of URP, The National reports.
Duma made this position known to the MPs last Thursday, and reiterated this yesterday.
“They are not members of the URP. They have not formally and legally joined. There are systems and processes and they have not followed that,” Duma said.
The five are Imbonggu MP Francis Awesa (PNG Party), Simbu Governor Fr John Garia (PNG Party), Henganofi MP Ferao Orimyo (PNG Party), Mendi MP Isaac Joseph (New Generation) and South Bougainville MP Steven Kama (New Generation).
They called a press conference with Southern Highlands Governor Anderson Agiru last Thursday in parliament and announced they were joining the URP.
While they were speaking to reporters, Duma walked into the press conference and told them they could not be part of URP.
“I am the parliamentary leader of the URP. Mal Kela-Smith (
“As a party, we have not met to discuss these or any new MPs joining the party.
“We have systems and processes to follow. Most of the provisions of the Organic Law on the Integrity of Political Parties and Candidates are still intact, and we have to respect and follow the law.
“I do not think they have been properly released from their political parties. So, legally speaking, they are not members of URP. Their purported acceptance to the party (URP) is null and void,” Duma said.
Members of the URP are Duma, Kela-Smith, Agiru, Environment and Conservation Minister Benny Allan (Unggai-Bena), Tourism Minister Guma Wau (Kerowagi), Minister for State Francis Potape (Komo-Margarima), Middle Fly MP Roy Biyama, Dei MP Puri Ruing, Kagua-Erave MP James Lagea and Daulo MP Patrick Kondo.
Wau flew into
Duma met and discussed this development with Kela-Smith, Allan, Ruing and Biyama, and will meet with Agiru and the rest of the caucus members this week.
“The URP is committed to its alliance with Prime Minister Sir Michael Somare and the National Alliance party. We will not depart from this pact,” Duma said.