Turning 80 years old this year, PNG’s first Prime Minister and founding father of the self-governance, Grand Chief Sir Michael Somare tells PNGFM news in an exclusive interview that his greatest achievement in life, would be entering politics by becoming a Member of Parliament.
He said it was this very achievement that led to PNG gaining Independence in 1975 and remembers every detail of his political career as if it was just yesterday.
“It was always my goal and vision to stand for election since I was a high school boy and that’s when I decided to run for the 1968 second house of assembly and I put my name down when I was with working here for Information and Extension services for broadcasting, “ he said.
Sir Michael came to Port Moresby in 1966 against his will; he believed he was transferred from Wewak to the capital by the broadcasting station there, because he was getting a bit too political.
“The reason why they transferred me was because I was getting too critical and political about things the Australians were doing and I was also the President of the Workers Association in Wewak.”
He said issues included salaries for workers and how our local men and women were treated by the Australians.
“Earlier on I had already planned to become a politician after retiring from teaching, but things did not work out right for me, I had trained to be a teacher at Sogeri in 1956, alongside some of the best leaders today, including Sir Paulias Matane and Sir Ronald ToVue.”
“I told them one day when I decided to run for election, that I was sorry to leave them and teaching but I was now venturing into politics in a big way, they all laughed and asked how a cheeky guy like me at that time, would think of doing such a thing.”
“So my biggest achievement was becoming a Member which is when I started talking to Papua New Guineans about politics, I started stirring debate amongst young people and I told them that I was going to be their Prime Minister on day.”
Sir Michael proudly said that it was the 1962 group of Papua New Guineans who went to Sogeri that made serious changes for PNG to where it is now.
By the time, Sir Michael became Member of the House of Assembly, his next goal was to be the country’s first Prime Minister after self-governance.
“Because the Australian Administration at that time had realized that there were some young Papua New Guineans who were “up stars” from all over PNG and the good thing about the Australian Administration at that time, was the fact that their Australian Act of 1949 amalgamated all over us from the coastal waters to the Highlands region.”
During the change of winds in the 60’s within Africa and the Asia region, young Somare was already thinking ahead and his thirst for the Prime Minister’s seat was on his mind.
“ In 1968 and 1969, my preaching to the people of PNG was all about SELF GOVERNANCE and grabbing Independence for PNG in 1975 and to this date, I have no regrets at all, because I know I did my part in shaping politics.”
PNGFM / ONE PNG