PNG leader James Marape's no confidence vote in May

1:47 pm on 1 March 2024
Kerenga Kua, middle, speaking to media. 29 February 2024

Left to right: Keith Iduhu, Hiri-Koiari MP, Kerenga Kua - Sinasina-Yongomugl MP (former energy minister), and Douglas Tomuriesa, opposition leader. Photo: Gorethy Kenneth / Post Courier

A vote of no confidence in Papua New Guinea's Prime Minister James Marape is set to be moved on 29 May.

Sinasina-Yongamugl Open MP Kerenga Kua told the media the opposition told media on Thursday that the Marape government "subverted the opposition's attempts to make hold them accountable for their actions".

"I want to give confidence to the people of Papua New Guinea that this opposition is committed to ensuring that this government is brought to account," opposition Kua said at a news conference in Port Moresby.

"People are screaming for accountability. On behalf of the people. We are serious. The people are sick and tired of this government.

"They want to see the back of this government. They want to see them out."

The opposition bloc stands by the motion filed on 20 February despite discrepancies raised by the Private Business Committee highlighted in a letter.

"The acting speaker was clear and advised that there was a discrepancy or discrepancies and so on legal advice, we have opted to not challenge that stance.

"But then by the position that the integrity of the notice of motion that we have filed is intact," opposition MP Keith Iduhu said.

He said in their view there are no issues with the paper despite the prime minister rubbishing it and accusing the opposition of forging names.

"If the committee or this chair decides to tamper with the any manner other than contemplated by the Supreme Court, section 23 of the constitution will be will be invoked and punitive measures will be sought from the courts," Iduhu said.

"What that means is that penalties to the tune of even imprisonment up to 10 years," he said.

"We will not hesitate to exercise our rights and the cause under the constitution in this regard."

RNZ Pacific understands the Acting Speaker Koni Iguan and Private Business Committee would be impacted if this is the case.

Meanwhile, Marape said last week he would refer the second motion of no confidence paper, the one the opposition bloc said it stands by, to the Parliamentary Privileges Committee following allegations of forgery.

"It looks as if somebody is cutting and pasting these signatures and filling in names," Marape said.

Acting Speaker Koni Iguan told Parliament on Thursday last week the first motion of no confidence did not qualify to be listed on the notice paper.

All MPs accountable - watchdog

Transparency International PNG (TIPNG) said the abuse of parliament's processes undermines public confidence and feeds corruption.

TIPNG said all MPs are ultimately accountable to the people of PNG.

The anit-corruption watchdog said undermining democratic processes not only erodes public trust but hinders the country's progress and development.

It said the refusal of the acting speaker to allow the motion for a vote against the prime minister, followed by an adjournment until May raises serious questions.

TIPNG chair Peter Aitsi said the motion is a fundamental tool within the parliamentary system, allowing MPs to hold the executive accountable.

He said denying a no confidence motion without due process is an affront to the democratic rights of both the opposition and the people they represent.

It "perpetuates a culture of impunity and weakens the already fragile checks and balances within the government and fuels an environment rife to corrupt behaviour," he said.