By ISAAC NICHOLAS
FORMER government frontbenchers expressed shock over the decision to remove the nation's "founding father" by Parliament Speaker Jeffrey Nape yesterday, The National reports.
The group was in the middle of a joint media conference when a tearful Dame Carol Kidu arrived to announce that Sir Michael had been removed.
Madang MP Sir Arnold Amet, East Sepik Governor Peter Wararu, Angoram MP Arthur Somare, Aitape-Lumi MP Patrick Pruaitch, Kompiam-Ambum MP John Pundari and Nipa-Kutubu MP Philemon Embel expressed shock and anger.
Sir Arnold indicated that he would institute a contempt of court action against Nape, claiming that the speaker was trying to legitimise the illegal takeover of a legitimate government on Aug 2.
Nape's announcement yesterday was contrary to the advice given by the clerk to parliament, Don Pandan, who yesterday advised lawyers for Sir Michael, Posman Kua Aisi Lawyers, that Sir Michael would avoid being absent from three consecutive meetings of parliament if he attended yesterday's session.
Pandan, in a letter dated Sept 6, 2011, stated; "I confirm that my records constituting the minutes of proceedings of the parliament, as required by Standing Orders 30 for 2011, show that Sir Michael has been absent for only the June and August 2011 meetings of parliament. He was granted leave by parliament for the May 2011 meeting.
"I confirm that when Sir Michael attends today's (yesterday) meeting of parliament, he will avoid being absent for three consecutive meetings of parliament, thus, being disqualified as the member of parliament for the East Sepik regional seat, pursuant to the requirements of section 104(2) d) of the Constitution."
Angoram MP Arthur Somare promised to bring his father to parliament during the Sept 20 sitting and challenged government leaders to try to stop him.
He said the significant issue was that they wanted the Grand Chief to come and present himself in parliament to preserve the East Sepik regional seat.
He said the people of East Sepik had given Sir Michael their mandate for 45 years and he had an unbroken record of holding the parliamentary seat for an extended period of time.
He said to witness his arrival in parliament yesterday was heartening.
"If he has missed three consecutive meetings, he will be disqualified and leave the seat vacant," Somare said.
He said the speaker had recognised and welcomed back the Grand Chief to parliament.
"We feel confident that there is no vacancy in the East Sepik provincial seat because the custodian of records is the clerk of parliament."
Wabag MP Sam Abal said the actions of the speaker showed that power-hungry leaders were trying to destroy a man who had served the country for 45 years.
East Sepik Governor Peter Wararu said it was a sad day for the people of East Sepik that the founding father of the nation had been treated in such a way.
"Today, they had confirmed that their real motive is to remove the Grand Chief as East Sepik regional MP during this urgent recall of parliament.
"Addressing outstanding issues was just a cover-up," Wararu said.