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Call for PNG PM to put party leadership up for challenge

Former Papua New Guinea Finance Minister James Marape has called on Prime Minister Peter O’Neill to put People’s National Congress (PNC) party leadership on the table if he wants to keep the party together.

Marape made the call after four more MPs resigned from the PNC Party Monday. These included Manus Governor Charlie Benjamin, Okapa MP Seki Soloma and Governor for Sandaun Tony Wouwou.

James Marape also announced their intentions as their group brings the total to nine MPs.

Last Friday Enga Governor Peter Ipatas, Southern Highlands Governor William Powi, Hela Governor Philip Undialu, Esa’ala MP Davis Steven and Komo Magarima MP Manasseh Makiba announced their resignations.

Marape said PM O’Neill still holds the leadership of the party and the only way to hold back the mass exodus is to put the leadership up for challenge.

“I have made my call to resign as Minister, he still holds leadership of the PNC, he is calling a caucus tomorrow, possibly the only leeway is, he places the leadership of the party on the table for party caucus to discuss.

Then I will hold back the letter of resignation that I am forwarding to him, and hopefully the party can elect a new leader.

“But if he remains as leader of the party, my letter of resignation will go to him and by Wednesday, I will totally resign from PNC,” Marape said.

In the media conference at Parliament Monday, Marape was flanked by Manus Governor Benjamin, Okapa MP Soloma, Governor Undialu, Governor Powi and MP Makiba.

“These leaders stand up for what they feel is morally right. Convictions of heart can never be bought or sold, convictions of the true value of leadership.

“Papua New Guinea is a nation of 800 different tribes, a nation not to be dominated by one person, a nation not to be dominated by one sectoral interest, one business interest, we have institutions of government that must propagate sound policies and good outcomes, whether it is at the floor of parliament or whether it’s a decision that is reached in cabinet.

Decisions made in cabinet must come through proper channels, State agencies must process decisions, we run a country, we don’t run a private agency, decisions made at cabinet must be consistent with laws, regulations and public policies of the country.

My fellow brothers who stepped down from the party also made painful decisions, but look if we don’t do this no one else will do it, the call of leadership is not tribal, the call for national leadership transcends beyond tribal boundaries.

National leadership is about uniting the country and not dividing the country, national unity is about sharing the wealth to all corners of the country, not one or two areas.”

Meanwhile, Pangu Pati will have a new parliamentary leader to be announced today.

Pangu Pati executives Patrick Pundau and Morris Tovebae were going to announce the appointment of Governor of Morobe Ginson Saonu as he was elected unopposed.

This meant that previous leader- Bulolo MP Sam Basil and Finance Minister was now out of the party as he has started his own Our Party which will be launched soon.

The meeting at the Office of the Registrar of Political Parties was awaiting the Parliamentary Members of Pangu Pati who met in Port Moresby to elect their new party leader in Saonu.

“Our apologies, our parliamentary leaders will meet tomorrow (today) here at the same office so we can make our official announcement of our new party leader,” they said.

“Yes, we were going to announce today our leader in Morobe Governor Ginson Saonu,” they said.

When asked how many members the Pangu Pati had, executives told the Post-Courier they had 14 MPs in government according to their records in the office of the Registrar of Political Parties and confirmed that Basil was already removed from the Pangu list.

Last night the Post-Courier was told that once Saonu makes an announcement on the party’s position, he will also release who will join him as some are expected to move with Basil.

The Post-Courier was reliably told that Saonu will move with four while Basil has eight MPs supporting him.

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