OPPOSITION SURPRISED BY PLAN TO DEFECT.
Post by Png Tok Out | 17 December 2020.
NOT even the Opposition camp was prepared for the drama which unfolded in Parliament yesterday as 18 Opposition MPs joined the Government side.
The 55 Opposition MPs who had been camping together at Vanimo in West Sepik and at a hotel in Port Moresby since the Nov 13 sitting of Parliament had signed the Wutung Accord to pledge their allegiance to what they had agreed to do, including the moving of a motion of no confidence against Prime Minister James Marape.
But all broke loose yesterday and the accord discarded when Kompiam-Ambum MP Sir John Pundari left the Opposition bench and casually walked across to the Government side, amid claps and shouts of “keep on coming”.
Bulolo MP and United Labour Party leader Sam Basil then picked up his bags and followed him. Then Gumine MP Nick Kuman was next, followed by Dei MP Westley Nukundj.
Other MPs to follow were Ijivitari MP Richard Masere, North Waghi MP Fabian Pok, Moresby North East MP John Kaupa, Madang Governor Peter Yama, Sumkar MP Chris Nangoi, Lufa MP Morave Kavori, Wosera-Gawi MP Jospeh Yopyopy, ENB Governor Nakukis Konga, WNB Governor Sasindra Muthuvel, Talasea MP Francis Manake, Kiriwin Goodenough MP Douglas Tomuriesa, Laigaim Porgera MP Tomait Kapili and Raicoast MP Peter Sapia.
Kagua-Erave MP Wesley Raminai had returned to the Government side two weeks ago when they arrived back in Port Moresby from the Vanimo camp.
PM’s apology prompted Sir John to rejoin Govt
AN apology from Prime Minister James Marape for any wrongdoing he might have done while in office convinced Kopiam-Ambum MP Sir John Pundari to return to the government benches yesterday.
Sir John was the first to cross the floor when the House began yesterday’s sitting at around 11am, followed by 17 other MPs who had joined the Opposition on Nov 13.
He explained that he had received a phone call earlier from Marape apologising to him for any wrong he might have done in the past 18 months in office.
“All that has happened has happened. It is a learning curve for all of us,” Sir John said.
“I have experienced a PM who is different and admits his mistakes. He was willing to listen and has lived up to expectations.
“No one deserves any credit for what happened on the floor of Parliament. Your prayers have been answered and his will has been done. You have humbled yourself and said let’s work together for the common good.”
He requested Marape to let God lead.
“The only desire and priority is to give this country a few minutes (to pray). This country is going through issues and we need to go back to putting the country first and putting the space to God in the office of the PM.”
Sir John, the leader of the Liberal Party, said he was not after any ministerial portfolio.
Bulolo MP Sam Basil is welcomed by Forest Minister Solan Mirisim and other government MPs yesterday.
Basil apologises for wasting four weeks
BULOLO MP Sam Basil has apologised for wasting four weeks in the Opposition, saying he is returning to the Government after ironing out “a few issues” with Prime Minister James Marape.
“What you have seen is part of our democratic process (which) sometimes happens to tell the PM that operates under the same law and system that sometimes we don’t agree on things but (he has) to listen to us,” Basil said.
“I say sorry to all (that) we have wasted four weeks. We do not want it to continue for another two weeks.”
Basil said Marape was full of confidence.
“I was part of the group which left (because) we had a few issues. And I am happy that the PM has ironed out those issues and we have returned.
“The 18 MPs have given the PM confidence to govern this nation to 2022.
“We kept an open dialogue. All issues and concerns we have raised to the PM he has taken care of. We are happy to go forward.”
Marape said Basil was among those who had an ambition to become PM.
“Basil or even (Aitape-Lumi MP Patrick) Pruaitch can (try) to be PM,” he said.
“I have always stated that if you lead a political party and have numbers behind you and have policies, you have the right to be PM. We knew it was coming.”