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« Crisis should serve as a wake-up call for Canberra | Main | Big men of PNG begin political posturing »

31 January 2012


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If Arthur Somare now claims it was never the intention to use military force to return his father to power, where was he when the insurrection was operating?

No one in the media apparently heard his plaintive pleas saying he and his father totally rejected any possibility they would accept Yasa's opportunity to regain power through a mutiny or that Yasa's actions were illegal and dismissing him from his newly appointed post.

All you journos out there should therefore hang your heads in shame for this serious gap in reporting ..... or hang someone else out to dry maybe?

Bob - There were no camera tricks involved in Sasa's photo. You observations were spot on - he was wearing Brigadier General's rank.

Notice other irregularities in his dress. (1) He was wearing the RPIR infantry badge on his beret. A Brigadier does not wear 'corps' badges. (2) He wore Colonel's epaulletes which is different to a Brigadier's.

If he (Sasa) claims to have been appointed by a 'legitimate' government, then I have no problems with that. However, why wasn't due processes followed in his appointment - as follows:

(1) Sasa is re-enlisted back into the PNGDF (he is a civilian).

(2) Sasa is promoted to his substantive rank (pre-retrench) of Colonel.

(3) Cabinet meets and appoints Sasa as Commander and promotes him to Brigadier.

(4) Head of State advised on Sasa's promotion to the rank of Brigadier and appointment as Commander PNGDF.

(5) Head of State also advised to revoke Agwi's appointment as Commander PNGDF.

(6) Agwi (incumbent) gets called up and advised accordingly by Cabinet (he has to be accorded that courtesy) so he prepares for the 'handover/takeover' of command.

(7) Appointment of Sasa and Revocation of Agwi's appoinment are both gazetted.

(8) A formal handover takes place.

Not one iota of this process took place so the question remains - was Sasa's appointment made according to legal procedures.

If Agwi does get replaced under the current scenario, I have no doubt he (Agwi) will have a field day in court if he so decides to challenge his removal from office.

Tok wind doing the rounds is that Sasa received K2 million for his effort. That is much more than he could receive for a lead in "Dad's Army".

If the 22 seats for women get through, or even if they don't, Betha Somare would make a formidable member of parliament. Perhaps that should be her focus now.

She would be a "cleanskin" insofar as she hasn't held a seat before. I could envisage her as Chief Minister one day.

The other interesting question relates to the "miss three sessions and you're out rule". If the opposition continues to boycott parliament and O'Neill delays the election, despite what he's saying now, but continues with sittings the opposition runs the risk of losing their seats anyway.

I'm curious about two points:

1. Are the quotes above and in the media actually Somare's voice heard from his mouth or are they Somare's voice as spoken by his spokeswoman daughter?

2. In all the published pictures of "Colonel Sasa", including the above, his epaulettes appear to display a crown above a triangle of pips. That's a Brigadier or in PNG, I understand, a Brigadier-General. Huh?

(1) The quotes attributed to Sir Michael are his. That said, Arthur and Betha are doing most of the talking.

(2) Col (ret) Sasa seems to have been 'promoted' to Brig Gen by the Somare group as part of the deal that had him ostensibly take over the PNGDF.


Oh Gosh! If looks could kill! I don't think Miss Betha is going to accept defeat, it looks like victory at all costs!

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