BY CYRIL GARE
The deluge of political events pertaining to anti-O’Neill sentiments seem over with an 85-21 votes defeat in a Court sanctioned motion of vote of no confidence (VONC) deliberated by Parliament on Friday, July 22.
The want of VONC has been far cried by Opposition culminated with past three unsuccessful attempts by the Opposition.
Despite Friday’s defeat the Opposition doggedly remains vexatious, annoyed and worried, leader Don Polye has told journalists after the defeat in Parliament that “the battle may be lost but the war is not over”.
So what more ‘mr. pertinacious’? To be pertinacious is to holding on an opinion, course of action, etc in a very determined way, not easily deterred. What is or are your real motive/s behind the anti-O’Neill agenda if this democratic and lawful process of removing a Prime Ministers was not enough an end?
The Opposition must be ashamed for fighting a losing battle that has caused and derailed the thinking of our people wrongly and falsely resulting in one death of a Unitech student, injuries to many other university students, closure of UPNG academic year, destruction to state properties worth hundreds of millions of kina which monies could have been better spent in resuscitating dilapidated provincial and district hospitals, medicinal drugs, new schools and clinics, reviving the disease ridden agriculture sector, salaries and wages of rural health workers, and such other deserved spending.
This malodorous onslaught by Opposition is making inroads into the ambit of professional groups like doctors, pilots and water side workers whom have all threatened withdrawal of labour and disruptions to public services as a means to force the Prime Minister to step down from Office. What a shame and cheap act of a malefactor?
It seem we all have lost sense of pride in our national-common. We have done more damage than good to our young country because of misconstrued opinions and personal egos driven by greed and political shenanigans.
We must grow and embrace thinkers rather than followers. Of the thinkers, Morobe Governor and leader of the Christian Democratic Party, Hon. Kelly Naru was outstanding in Parliament on Friday. He took time neither in joining the Alotau camp (Government) nor the Laguna camp (Opposition) in Port Moresby but remain in his electorate and articulating on his stance in the Friday’s VONC.
He consulted his people well and gave deep thoughts to how he was going to sway his vote. In a seven page speech in Parliament on Friday, Governor Naru proved in all he was a hero and a thinker in our time where politics has become an aberrant game involving money and think-less followers.
First he quoted the bible in Job 36: 15 “In our suffering God teaches us. In our distress God opens our eyes”. The teaching here is “patience”, which he described as one of greatest virtues of human nature.
He further quoted a Chinese proverb that “patience is power. With time and patience the mulberry leaf turns into silk.
“That is the lesson God is trying to teach us in our suffering and distress, to exercise restraint and patience. Patience will attract peace. Peace will propagate harmony and order in our country”, Governor Naru told Parliament.
Secondly, he analysed the doctrines and principles of the Separation of Powers as stipulated in Section 99 of our Constitution and asked a series of intelligent questions pertaining to law as to whether or not the Supreme Court can issue declaratory order to Parliament and forced it to convene to conduct its business in a particular day, according to a certain agenda and within a specific period of time? See separate story.
Thirdly, he analysed issues propagated by Opposition as means to surfacing VONC in the Prime Minister most of which are in Court and therefore subjudice.
Fourthly, he explained law and the difference between absolute rights and qualified rights.
“The Constitution gives our people a number of rights and freedom which they are entitled to exercise: Section 46 Freedom of Expression, S.47 Freedom of Assembly and Association, S.51 Right to Freedom of Information, S.52 Right to Freedom of Movement, S.55 Equality of Citizens (all citizens enjoy the same rights and freedom), S. 56 Special Rights of Citizen to vote in election and hold public office.
“It must be remembered that these rights referred to are not absolute rights but qualified rights. They are not absolute in the sense that you can exercise those rights in any way, manner and form you see fit. No! They are qualified rights in the sense that we are called upon to exercise those rights and freedom with restraint and responsibility. We are obligated to ensure that the exercise of those rights and freedoms do not interfere, violate or infringe on the rights of our fellow citizens who also have the right to exercise their rights and freedoms under the same law.
“Regrettably and unfortunately in recent times we have witnessed the exercise of those rights and freedom going beyond the reasonable bounds of the exercise of those rights and freedoms. Under the disguise of exercise of those rights and freedoms certain segments of society have seen fit to advocate extreme measures beyond the reasonable exercise of those rights and freedoms by violating, interfering with and infringing on the rights of other members of our communities by causing, issuing and actioning threats, undue influence, intimidation, harassment, injuries to persons and properties, destruction and even death.
“These violations were not only caused by those supporting the call for the Prime Minister to step down but also allegedly by police against the students.
“Even professional people in our society are calling for the shutdown of essential public services and the withdrawal of labour as a means to an end. This is unacceptable conduct.
“Industrial avenues are available to channel industrial grievances. The use of unlawful means such as the call to withdraw labour to disrupt essential services to our people is improper and unlawful and the proponents of this strategy must be held accountable and dealt with according to law.
‘To the extent that breaches of the peace have occurred, couple with injuries to persons and properties resulting in death and destruction, the full force of the law must be brought to bear on those responsible. These people are domestic terrorists and insurgents who must not escape. They must face the full force of the law,” Governor Naru said.
Fifthly, he justified his stance in the VONC:
- Prime Minister remains innocent until proven guilty according to law;
- The sacred mandate and will of the people bestowed on the Government and the Prime Minister should not be easily and lightly interfered with unless there is cogent and convincing reasons to do so or unless exceptional circumstances exist to overturn the mandate and will of the people;
- We are nine months away from the 2017 legislative elections. If the performance of the Government or the Prime Minister is wanting, it is for the people to make that call for change. At this point in time, what will the alternative Government achieve within a short time frame? It is not a viable options to change Government based on allegations levelled against the Government which are yet to be proven and moreover, it is wrong to change Government through the use of unlawful means resulting in disruption to public services, injuries to persons and properties and destruction and death;
- People want peace and justice to prevail. Let patience, peace and justice prevail;
- In my respectful view, I am not convinced that at this point in time cogent and convincing reasons have been given or exceptional circumstance exist to warrant a change in Government. This is because justice according to law is yet to be delivered and political justice expressing the will of the people that has been expressed in the Government and the Prime Minister must be allowed to prevail until people themselves decide otherwise.
“In my view political justice by this Parliament at this point in time must be dispensed properly and correctly and assisted by the dispensation of legal justice. While legal justice is yet to be conclusively dispensed, it is my view that this Parliament cannot prematurely dispense political justice based on allegations which are still subject to judicial scrutiny. It may be a disrespectful thing to do and may even in violation of the Separation of Powers that we are talking about.
“For the foregoing reasons and considerations I decline to support the Vote of No Confidence Motion” against the Prime Minister.
The Opposition must take heed and swallow their pride, rechart the waters, and wait patiently and plan towards how best to tackle the onslaught in nine months’ time.