Monday, August 29, 2011

O’Neill appeals to Sepiks

THE East Sepik provincial government has been urged to withdraw its Supreme Court reference challenging the legality of the election of Prime Minister Peter O'Neill on Aug 2, The National reports.
The call was made by O'Neill and senior ministers of his government when he made his first trip to Mendi last Thursday and again in his native Pangia when he visited on Saturday.
Capacity crowds at both locations were told that no law was broken in the election of the prime minister but specific reasons given could not be reported as the matter was pending in the Supreme Court and would be heard on Wednesday.
While former prime minister Sir Michael Somare was praised and wished speedy recovery, son and former public enterprises minister Arthur Somare was singled out for the alleged wrongs of the former government.
O'Neill said in Mendi: "I appeal to those who are bringing this matter to court. I know Arthur Somare wants to be prime minister but he must get the people's mandate first.
"In 2012, the people will let us know if they want Arthur Somare to be prime minister.
"Many of us gave his father res­pect. He must return that respect.
"I appeal to Wararu (East Sepik governor). I appeal to Arthur Somare. Withdraw this case."
Similar calls were made by Treasurer Don Polye, Works and Transport Minister Francis Awesa and National Capital District Go­vernor Powes Parkop.
Parkop said eminent lawyers in the current government had given the issue and the law much scrutiny before the meeting on Aug 2 where parliament voted convin­cingly to remove the former go­vernment.
He said: "We used the procedure of parliament. The position of the prime minister is not the property of a family or district or province.
"We have the people's power to change the government. Why go to court?
"If they win in court, they do not have the mandate. We will paralyse them."
All speakers spoke generally of the concentration of power in the hands of a few, namely Sir Michael, his son Arthur and a few ministers who were also accused of failing to stay the advance of corruption in high places.
These were offered as the main reason for the huge move against the former government.
Polye said: "Corruption was growing. They were not listening to sound advice.
"They sacked good leaders and held on to corrupt leaders. Business of parliament stagnated. Debate on issues was gagged. That is not democracy."
Health Minister Jamie Maxtone-Graham said: "Decisions were dictated and bulldozed down our throats. Arthur Somare used the position of his father to dictate to us.
"There was too much concentration of power in one family."

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