By Robert Luke Iroga
A political standoff is unfolding in the Central Province after the Attorney-General’s Chamber adviced that the recent election of the new premier was invalid.
But an angry Speaker of the CIP Provincial Assembly Hon Francis Moah described the AG Chamber’s advice and the Ministry of Provincial Government and Institutional Strengthening (MGPIS) action as hijacking a legitimate process that was conducted under his watch as the speaker of the province.
The AG’s Chamber and the MPGIS have hijacked a legal process, he told SBMOnline this morning.
In a letter to the Speaker Minister of Provincial Government, Rollen Seleso said based on the AG’s advice he would not approve the appointment of the new executive members and he would not assent to CIP budget since the meeting was invalid.
On the 30th May a motion of no confidence was filed against the premier. A day later, the Speaker received letter signed by absolute majority of seven MPAs calling for the assembly to meet to debate the motion. The CIP Assembly set 7th of June as the date for the MONC against Stanley Manetiva. The motion was moved and voted on with eight voting in support. On the 8th of June a new premier Polycarp Galaigu was elected with eight MPAs.
Moah said he used standing order 58 to call for the meeting after the seven MPAs’ signed the letter as the premier was running the government with a minority of 5 ministers.
“As far a I am concerned I am doing the right thing,” he told SBMOnline this morning.
AG’s advice to the Minister of Provincial Government
In a letter to the Speaker yesterday from the ministry based on the AG’s Chamber advice it pointed to breaches in the overall administration of the process leading to the election of the new premier.
The AG Chamber stated that the election of the new premier was invalid and as such the new executive government cannot be formed.
The AG Chamber specified that in order for a new executive to be formed that a motion of no confidence against the premier is be supported by an absolute majority of the members of the assembly is to be fulfilled and seven days’ notice is issued. AG’s Chamber stated the motion was debated on 7th of June instead of 9th June and was supported only by seven members of the elected assembly members, whereas absolute majority is eight. It further advised that the requirement for a new executive government to be formed remains unfulfilled.
But the Speaker Moah said it was passed in the CIP Provincial Assembly several years ago that the absolute majority is seven not eight as stated by the AG’s Chamber.
“I want to reiterate that the AG and the MPGIS has hijacked the process,” he said.
The majority of MPAs’ who supported Galaigu said he remains their duly elected premier.
“Yes he’s our premier,” said MPA Kenneth Sagupari.
The ousted premier, Stanley Manetiva when contacted today said he has not seen the advice yet. However, he said: “I believe in the system and I want to have a clear mind.”