SOUTHERN Highlands Governor Anderson Agiru yesterday blasted National Alliance party members as a bunch of power-hungry players who are disrespectful of Prime Minister Sir Michael Somare, The National reports.
"Sir Michael, the father of the nation, is in his sick bed recovering from a complicated operation and, here, we have members of the ruling party who are highly disrespectful of him.
"They will stop at nothing to grab power and are making a play for it already. It is very un-Melanesian," Agiru said in a statement.
Agiru, founder of United Resources Party (URP), spoke out after the Post-Courier ran a front-page article yesterday, titled "NA leadership decided today" which suggested certain members of NA were pushing to take over leadership of NA while Sir Michael was on medical leave in Singapore.
He said it was Sir Michael's leadership and charisma that pulled together the coalition that had delivered the government to NA for two terms.
"These NA leaders must realise that it was Sir Michael who pulled together the coalition that has been in government for nine years.
"It is not them or their party. None of them have the magnetic pull that the grand chief possesses and is admired throughout the country for.
"That is why it is highly disrespectful of them to try to topple him while he is in his sick bed recovering," Agiru said.
"We gave the mandate to Sir Michael to lead the country, not NA. These leaders must realise this.
"The grand chief is going through the toughest challenge of his life, and the least you will expect is a tussle for power by the boys.
"We, smaller parties in the coalition, are disappointed and are watching."
Agiru's URP is the second largest group in the coalition government after NA.
Meanwhile, Minister for Transport and Minister Assisting the Prime Minister on Constitutional Matters Francis Potape said certain paragraphs in the Post-Courier report were misleading and sensationalised.
"How did acting Prime Minister Sam Abal marginalised the members and their parties?
"Abal has not made any appointments," he said.