DEFENCE, Fisheries and Marine Resources Minister Mao Zeming nominated on Saturday in his district to defend the Tewai-Siassi seat he currently holds.
He signed the nomination papers in Sialum Council Chamber, witnessed by elder brother Dr Agewa Zeming and Assistant Returning Officer Alpha Mark.
Villagers from Siassi island crossed the sea in six dinghies to stand with the Minister as he nominated. They also contributed the K1,000 nomination fee.
Their spokesman Barnabas Nalong said their gesture was to show their appreciation for the services that have been delivered to the islanders in the last five years.
“We have a ship that serves our daily transport needs. We have had classrooms and teachers’ houses built in our schools. Our growers have a cocoa project going. Malai and Tuam islanders will soon have drinking water from the seawater purification system being brought from America,” he said.
“Please accept our small token of appreciation for all that you have done for your people,” Nalong said when addressing about 300 people who gathered.
Mr Zeming thanked the people for their trust and support.
“I have nominated to defend the seat because I believe our government has done enough to deserve another term.
“Our free education and health policies, our infrastructure program, they are producing outstanding results,” he said.
“That must continue. You do not want people with no clear policies to get into government and undo all these good work,” he said.
He acknowledged that a lot of young people will challenge him in the election.
“I welcome them. Its their right to run. Assess all of us and our policies carefully. Ask questions, and when you vote, do so wisely.”
Mr Zeming first entered Parliament in 1995 in a by-election following the death of incumbent Soling Zeming, his elder brother.
He was re-elected to Parliament in 1997, and became deputy Prime minister under Sir Mekere Morauta in 2000. He was re-elected to Parliament in 2002.
Mr Zeming lost office in 2003 following a referral by the Ombudsman Commission over certain misconduct allegations.
He challenged the decision of the Leadership Tribunal in the courts, and five years later, the Supreme Court ruled in his favor, quashing the dismissal.
He was re-elected by his people in 2012, and was appointed Minister for Fisheries and Marine Resources by Prime Minister Peter O’Neill. He also serves as the Deputy Leader of the People’s National Congress Party.