Home > Corruption, Papua New Guinea > Somare admits responsibility for military mutiny

Somare admits responsibility for military mutiny

January 28, 2012 Leave a comment Go to comments

From AFP

Ousted Papua New Guinea prime minister Sir Michael Somare has defended ordering a failed military mutiny, again insisting Friday he was the country’s legitimate leader.

Political tensions flared in the resource-rich but impoverished Pacific nation on Thursday when an ex-soldier loyal to Somare staged a dramatic grab to re-take power from current premier Peter O’Neill.

Former colonel Yaura Sasa led a pre-dawn mutiny, taking captive the head of the armed forces, Francis Agwi, and declaring himself the new military leader, reinforcing the country’s reputation as politically dysfunctional.

Sasa set a seven-day deadline for Somare to be restored as leader, warning that he “may be forced to take necessary actions to protect and uphold the integrity of the constitution” if his demand was not met.

But the rebellion was soon put down with O’Neill declaring the crisis over in the evening after arresting 15 of the 30 men loyal to Sasa and securing the withdrawal of the others and the release of Agwi.

O’Neill said Sasa was being “dealt with” by the appropriate authorities with reports on Friday suggesting he was demanding a full pardon for himself and his supporters.

“He is seeking a pardon, that is what is being said, but I can’t confirm that yet,” police Superintendent Dominic Kakas told AFP.

Somare, 75, said the mutiny was a legitimate response to the O’Neill camp not recognising a Supreme Court ruling in December that he was the rightful prime minister.

“We cannot allow this situation to continue where a rogue government commandeers the disciplinary forces,” Somare said in a statement sent by his daughter Betha to AFP.

“It is incumbent on the police and army to comply with the orders of the Supreme Court and support the legitimate government, which is the minority Somare/Agiru government.

“It is for this reason that my government appointed Colonel Yaura Sasa to take control of the PNGDF (Papua New Guinea Defence Force) while we await other outcomes of the court,” he added.

“We are the legitimate government constitutionally formed in 2007 and restored by the five-men Bench of the Supreme Court.”

Known as the “Grand Chief”, Somare led PNG for almost half of its 36 years since independence but was removed from office while out of the country recovering from illness last year.

The Supreme Court subsequently declared him the rightful leader, plunging the country into turmoil before O’Neill eventually resumed the role after Governor General Michael Ogio rowed back on Somare’s appointment.

Somare has consistently refused to recognise O’Neill’s leadership, storming into parliament as recently as last week with the Supreme Court order to demand his reinstatement.

O’Neill said he may move to dissolve parliament next month and go to early polls to end the current political impasse, while lashing out at Somare’s “desperate” tactics.

“Papua New Guinea deserves better from Somare,” he said.

“Somare has to realise that this country has looked after him for 45 years; now it is his turn to respect the country that respects him.”

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  1. January 28, 2012 at 9:13 pm

    Does somare think he owns this country? He must have been so obsessed with that notion, hence lost touch with the reality that the people do not want him anymore, thus have spoken through their elected leaders. Just accept the fact that this country does not need you at its helm.

  2. JUDY
    January 28, 2012 at 9:57 pm

    Papua New Guinea has been good to Mr Somare and his family all these 43 years or more ;and Papua New Guineans think highly of him.But time has come for him to realise,we have grown up and we have come to realise that he hasnt done a good job of bringing much needed service to all our areas of everyday living.The districts and subdistricts and the outpost areas of PNG are/is in dire need of what we had going prior to Indepedence;that they were functioning government arm of the central government.Since then,life has been terrible struggle and yet Mr Somare who has been in Parliament in various capacity and with his his “status” could/would have influenced and done more for the development of PNG.Papua New Guineans have come to their senses and we want a change and a chance to be allowed to pick another Papua New Guinean to lead and we have done that on the floor of the parliament;people of PNG have spoken through their members.
    It would be sad to see Mr Somare go down in PNGs history as a old man struggling to hold onto power with the events in August of 2011 and recent events with the mutiny.

  3. clone
    January 30, 2012 at 3:04 pm

    Somare’s days are over. has he got anything left in him? Why not go in dignity instead of being a disgrace, and nuisance to the people of PNG. He is just like a clone of Mugabe, trying all means available to hold on to power. Go, Go, go now insane old man.

  4. Kundiate Suma
    January 30, 2012 at 5:22 pm

    WIth respect he is no longer physically fit to be in the front seat and drive the car this time. If he continues driving he may crash the car, kill himself and kill millions of people at the back of the car, therefore its high time we need to change the driver. It is as simple as that nothing more nothing less.

  5. Feedup
    January 31, 2012 at 8:02 am

    Somare has lost his plot and is a complete dick! All alone he knowingly facilitated corruption and spur it out of proportion during his reign for the last 9 year. the entire process of management during his time was a complete joke and the average educated papua new guineans thought if only it were otherwise. The constitution in itself was a playing ground to be abused repeated and he didn’t care. Now the people are at least reliefed to see change with a new much needed government and he still can’t give up to be at the top. He has had his changes and we know exactly what he stood for and that was building up the somare empire. Why can’t he just give us a space to breath freely with hope for the future. Even then he saw it fit to hold the 6 million plus population at randsom and that’s a blo we will live with as far the international community is concerned. Why cant he just retire and enjoy the fortune he made in parliment for the next few moments he has in life??

  6. PK
    February 26, 2012 at 10:28 pm

    OK, but just watch him in what he has been good at! Winning elections! He is a Cat and he prowls best when he is cornered. There may just be one last life left in him for a final sweep-stakes at the forthcoming election. You can throw a cat however high and rough you like but it will always land on its feet. It is quite within the realms of possibility that O’Neil’s Government may defer the elections. If they do, it’ll play into MTS’s hands. As most politicians say, why not just one last throw of the dice. As Somare says “I am a fighter”! How fortunate we are living in an unguided democracy to watch all this happening with no prisoners taken, no bood spilled and no limbs and ends lost. Oh, the guy that attacked the most harmless fairweathered friend and member Ken from behind the other day is a bloomin’ coward.

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