The ruling Pangu Pati led by Prime Minister James Marape has boosted its numbers to 34 with the inclusion of four more MPs.
They are Menyamya MP and former People’s National Congress Party member Hon. Benjamin Philip, Gulf Governor and Country Party leader Hon. Chris Haiveta, Wapenamenda MP and United Party leader Hon. Rimbink Pato, and Moresby North-East MP Hon. John Kaupa.
The occasion was witnessed by Pangu MPs and party executives in Port Moresby on Thursday (April 1st 2021). PM Marape also announced that Nawaeb MP Hon. Kennedy Wenge, who had been with Pangu since last November’s political standoff, was now recognised as an official member of the party.
He described it as a “milestone occasion” for Pangu amidst the many challenges the country was currently facing, especially COVID-19, which had greatly affected the economy. PM Marape said there had been so much “political backstabbing” since he took office in May 2019, culminating in last November’s political standoff, and there was a need for political stability.
“I am blessed by having Chris Haiveta, who himself has had Pangu Party leadership role as party leader in the 1990s and into the 2000s,” he said.
“He first became a member of Pangu Pati in 1977 (as a university student). Today he announces that he joins Pangu Pati.”
“We are also blessed to have the Hon. Rimbink Pato who announces that he is joining Pangu Pati.”
“We also have the Hon. Benjamin Philip who announces that he is joining Pangu Pati, and the Hon. John Kaupa, who announces that he is joining Pangu Pati.”
PM Marape said Pangu had lost four MPs last November during the political standoff, however, West New Britain Governor Hon. Francis Maneke and Regional MP Hon. Sasindran Muthuvel had reconciled their differences and were set to return.
“We are also talking to others (MPs) who are having discussions with us,” he said.
PM Marape said Governor Haiveta and Hon. Pato were not only senior leaders, but led long-established political parties, which had figured prominently in the country’s early days in the 1960s and 1970s. “In 1968 to 1972, and the 1977 Parliament, including Independence in 1975, Pangu Pati, United Party, Country Party, National Party and People’s Progress Party were dominant players in as far as shaping the genesis of our nation,” he said.
PM Marape said while Governor Haiveta and Hon. Pato had agreed that Country Party, United Party and Pangu Pati would work together into the future, “they themselves are joining the fold of Pangu Pati to give me the political numbers Pangu needs to stabilise the seat in 2021, and especially trying to overcome the hurdles of 2021 where we have COVID-19, the damage that COVID-19 is causing to our economy and all the other challenges associated with it”.
“They have come from their parties into Pangu Pati, the process to accept them has started,” he said.
“We will sign sister party arrangements with United Party and Country Party, but the two leaders have left their parties and joined membership of Pangu Pati as we speak.”
“I sincerely appreciate this. I want to give assurance to the followers of Country Party and United Party that Pangu Pati, being in Government, will ensure that we hold hands with these pioneer political parties in our country.”