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Our dignified chief

October 4 2007 at 4:48 PM

PNG PM Somare launches fierce attack


October 4, 2007 - 4:39PM

Papua New Guinea's Opposition says Prime Minister Michael Somare has "lost the plot" after swearing at them in parliament and refusing calls to stand down.

During heated exchanges on the floor of the house, Somare called Deputy Opposition Leader Bart Philemon a "bastard" and even called for him to step outside to sort things out.

He later withdrew his remarks.

Philemon told reporters, the prime minister seemed to believe he had an overwhelming mandate after recent elections and could get away with anything.

"As a founding father of the nation, to call anybody a bastard, he's lost the plot."

Opposition Leader Mekere Morauta said Somare's behaviour on Wednesday was "emotional, unbecoming, childish, that of a man who is out of control".

"It's a huge cover-up, we have a king without robes, he's completely naked and he knows that."

The 71-year-old Somare leads an 87-member government against a 21-member opposition.

But the opposition has urged him to step down over his alleged involvement in the escape of wanted Australian lawyer Julian Moti from PNG to the Solomon Islands last year.

Somare has consistently denied ordering Moti's escape - aboard a PNG military aircraft - when he was wanted by Australian authorities to face charges of raping a 13-year-old girl in Vanuatu in 1997.

Moti was sworn in as Solomons attorney-general in July to Canberra's disgust.

Somare has tried to suppress a PNG Defence Force inquiry report that said he ordered Moti's flight and should face charges.

In parliament this week, Speaker Jeffrey Nape banned all debate on the Moti affair, prompting Opposition accusations the government was trying to stifle debate on important public issues.

Somare told parliament he would not step down as he had not committed any crime.

He referred to former prime minister Julius Chan stepping down in 1997 over Sandline International mercenaries brought in to deal with Bougainville secessionist fighters.

"He gave orders for Sandline to come and kill 20,000 people in Bougainville, that's atrocity, that's murdering," Somare said.

But Chan, back in parliament after a 10-year absence and now in Opposition, said he had killed no Bougainvilleans and Somare's statement was stupid and childish.

"That guy is mad, he's gone crazy," Chan told reporters.

"Somare is trying to deceive the people of this country just for the sake of power.

"How can a prime minister of a country call another person a bastard? Is that the kind of leader you think can rule this country?" Chan said.

Morauta said Somare had to stand down to allow police and other agencies to investigate the Moti affair and lay appropriate charges.

"If we let this go, it will be a very sad day for our country - one law for leaders and the other for grassroots."

© 2007 AAP

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Re: Our dignified chief

October 5 2007, 6:20 PM 

The momentum is building for his ouster.

As with any movement, this one is composed of strange bedfellows, some of which would be outright opponents under any under circumstances, and many who are just out for a power grab.

No matter. That's what all movements are composed of, a lot of true believers mixed in with a number of mercenaries and misfits. The important thing is that this thing is gaining momentum.

Only the "do nothings" are wringing their hands and complaining about what is developing..... and of course, doing nothing.

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