BY KEITH JACKSON
THE ODDS AGAINST A COMEBACK are prohibitive but Sir Michael Somare, through the strident voice of his daughter and spokeswoman, Betha [pictured], is continuing the fight to be reinstated as Papua New Guinea’s prime minister.
The 75-year-old Grand Chief is relentlessly repeating his cry that the Supreme Court order of last year reinstating him to office be respected. He is also calling upon the police and the military to join him.
"If this is to be my last and biggest battle I will fight for the constitution, the underlying law that holds the very fabric of our democracy and democratic institutions together," he says.
"I appeal to the leaders of our disciplinary forces to look beyond the current circumstances and come to terms with why you (are) a member of a law-enforcing agency. You are here first and foremost to uphold and enforce the law of the land and the orders of the Supreme Court."
His son and former minister, Arthur Somare, has also challenged prime minister Peter O'Neill to an early election.
"Let's go to an early election and see how many people you pick up, Peter" he goaded. "Let's go right now."
And Somare supporters claim that last week’s failed military mutiny has not stopped their push to have the former leader reinstated.
"We are in charge of Taurama barracks. Taurama barracks is more than 200 soldiers who are there, and we have firepower," claims Andrew Kumbakor, who says he is the legitimate defence minister in Sir Michael's legitimate government.
"Sasa [leader of the mutineers], you have done no wrong. For a public defence force, we have done no wrong," Kumbakor said. "I stand with you and I will defend you all the way and in a very short while, I will have you out and you will be the defence force commander of Papua New Guinea."
And now Arthur Somare says it was not the Somare group’s intention to use military force to return his father to office. He claims Sasa's appointment as commander was just normal government business.
Meanwhile, Peter O'Neill has said he is contemplating bringing forward the national elections due in the middle of the year so Papua New Guineans can resolve the leadership conflict at the ballot box.
On that point at least, both sides would seem to agree