Highlands bloc rallies behind Duma and Polye
REACTIONS continue to be mixed on the sackings early this week of government ministers Don Polye and William Duma, The National reports.
As acting Prime Minister Sam Abal stuck by his decision to sack Polye as Foreign Affairs Minister and Duma as Petroleum and Energy Minister for the sake of solidarity, the country’s trade unions yesterday threw their support behind him, saying that national interest was paramount to Enga politics.
“Abal must stand firm and resolute in the face of adversity,” PNG Trade Union Congress general secretary John Paska said.
Another unlikely supporter was Morobe Governor Luther Wenge who said every political party in government should support Abal until incumbent Sir Michael Somare recovers from his heart operation in Singapore.
In Enga, deputy leader of the NA branch Chris Kandenge said Wednesday’s special meeting of the branch to expel Abal was
illegal, as it was convened by certain executives with self-interest.
Branch executive Yali Kaki said several party leaders in the province were underestimating Abal’s leadership qualities and should be voted out of office.
Their support for Abal’s action, however, was outweighed by support for the two sacked leaders from cabinet – Polye being the highlands bloc head of the ruling National Alliance and Duma being the parliamentary leader of United Resource Party, the second biggest party in the coalition.
The support, as expected, came from the highlands region where:
*In Western Highlands, Duma supporters held a peaceful demonstration, marching to Mt Hagen Queen’s Park to air their frustrations about the sackings; and
*In Eastern Highlands, two NA leaders warned that NA may lose its popularity in the region if Polye and Duma were not reinstated.
Reaction from the opposition parties and the business community remained subdued.