|Friday, 11 May 2012|
DEPUTY Prime Minister Belden Namah aims to become PM, reportedly donating 30 million kina ($A14.6 million) of his own funds to the party he leads to help win votes. Meanwhile, veteran politician Sir Mekere Morauta is retiring from politics.
According to the Post-Courier, Namah donated K30 million to the PNG Party for its “election operations”.
In typical PNG campaigning style, the money will reportedly be used to buy cars and boats as gifts for people in targeted electorates.
Namah reportedly said the funds were harvested from his backyard garden in Bewani – a reference to his involvement in the forestry industry in which he made a fortune.
He reportedly called on other leaders of political parties to declare where their election campaign funding was coming from, which was interesting as Namah was a target of money laundering accusations earlier this year.
Amazingly, Namah did not hide his ambitions for the country’s top job.
“I am putting up my own money because I believe in what I am doing and I want see a change and I want to be next prime minister of PNG,” he told the newspaper.
It is the second time Namah has foreshadowed a possible leadership challenge against Peter O’Neill.
The Deputy PM threatened to replace O’Neill early this year in the wake of the foreign relations bungle with Indonesia, popularly known as Falcongate, although both leaders made a public show of patching up their differences within 24 hours.
The Post-Courier today reported there was a plot among political powerbrokers to oust O’Neill through a vote of no confidence just before the election kicked off next month.
“This paper has been reliably told that influential people and powerbrokers in the government were working towards cornering Mr O’Neill, to have their own way, extend Parliament, defer elections and stick to the six months deferral motion passed recently, therefore removing him as the chief executive officer of the country,” it reported.
“The powerbrokers, very influential as well, are reportedly strategising to move the motion when Parliament sits next Tuesday, three days before the issue of writs.”
For good reasons, parliaments around the world typically do not have sittings so close to an election.
Meanwhile, Morauta this week announced he would retire from politics and not contest the 2012 election.
He said the PNG Party was now led by younger, vibrant leaders who were able to take the country into the next decade.
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