Amkat Mai Does the ‘PNG Shuffle’ – Dumps Polye for Namah

In a development that has sent shock waves through Don Polye’s Triumph Heritage Empowerment Party (THE), and has again reminded both political actors and observers of the unpredictability of PNG politics, Amkat Mai has dropped a bombshell by announcing his immediate defection from THE Party to Belden Namah’s PNG Party.

Amkat Mai, a longtime lecturer at Divine Word University, was endorsed by Polye’s THE Party to stand as a candidate for the West Sepik Provincial seat.

After polling 14,000 votes, double the number of votes of his nearest rival – sitting National Alliance MP Simon Solo,  and even before the completion of the primary vote count and the beginning of the elimination process – Akmat Mai announced his decision to immediately switch allegiances to the PNG Party.

In what can only be described as a slap in the face to Don Polye and his THE Party, Amkat Mai has once again highlighted the fickleness of political loyalties in PNG as a result of the nullification of the Organic Law on the Integrity of Political Parties and Candidates.

On commenting on the Mai’s defection, Dr Alphonse Gelu – the Registrar of Political Parties and Candidates, stated:

“Despite being endorsed by a party but you want to shift alliances to another, em prerogative blo individual member nau. So that’s the danger that we were saying that, that’s what will happen.

My office, we cannot do anything about this. We are powerless.

Before that Supreme Court ruling, we can impose penalties but right now, we can’t. Political candidates are not bound in any way to stick to a party.”

It’s an admission by PNG’s somewhat anorexic watchdog which has the potential to create significant challenges for political parties to hold on to key electoral winners in their push to have the numbers before the return of the writs on July 27 – in four days time.

Although the ‘PNG Shuffle’ is most certainly a worry for party leaders, I don’t think we will see that many more follow Mai’s lead, primarily because the divisions caused by PNG’s constitutional crisis will drive the formation of the new government.

Those most likely to be enticed to mutinous actions and switch captains will be first term MPs, particularly those of small to medium parties who will find themselves isolated and overwhelmed with the possibility of leading skeletal holograms, and also those fresh-faced or returning MPs aspiring to fast-track their political aspirations at the expense of loyalty.

Akmat Mai has shown that the ‘PNG Shuffle’ is well and truly still in play and does have the potential to change the numbers game in PNG politics. Already, there are signs that a number of winning candidates from other political parties are considering their options – we can only observe.

The next few days will be a hive of activity as political parties wrestle, tempt, block and guard their numbers.

~ by Tavurvur on July 23, 2012.

8 Responses to “Amkat Mai Does the ‘PNG Shuffle’ – Dumps Polye for Namah”

  1. Just spoke to Gelu about this situation again and he says it’s a question of timing. The candidates/MPs may intend to switch parties but they will be counted as a member of the party which endorsed them for the elections until after the government is formed; and after that, MPs are free to switch as they please. Anyway, Gelu says he is making a ruling on the Amkat Mai move. But, Tavurvur, am I right ni assuming Gelu may make a ruling but is relatively powerless to enforce it?

    • ‘Johnny’ – Gelu’s explanation just goes to show how ridiculous this situation is. The organic law was deemed to have been unconstitutional, but it should have been appropriately amended to neutralize what I call the “PNG Shuffle”.

      The candidate that announces his defection before the return of the writs will be treated with disdain and will be ostracized by the original party which endorsed him/her – and rightly so – so what is the point of Akmat Mai announcing his defection now?

      Logically, he would have been better off waiting till after the formation of government – unless a side deal has been made which is of considerable influence.

      In regards to Gelu’s ruling – he has everything he needs to enforce the ruling. He just needs the balls to do so, and not give up until it’s done.


  2. bro I have no say but I agree to your statement. Gelu does not have the gut. If his office is powerless then whats the point in him occupying the position?
    Gelu MUST say and act immediately to safeguard our country.

  3. If Amkat Mai wins, he’s going to be a first time MP. I think he has jumped the gun. He even has not yet win WSP regional seat. PNG should not be divided by such little fellow as Amkat Mai. We had enough of MPs yoyo from one party to another for their own gain and glory. PNG is far bigger than Mai. PNG needs stamble leaders, not those who serve their own interests. Amkat Mai can not set a bad precedent for PNG poltical parties. Mai is going to be the second MP, if he wins, from WSP to switch party. First, his brother Namaha, now Mai wants him to be his leader. I think Mai has gone too far. I am suprise to see Mai may not win, or if he does, he limits his survival.

    • ‘Tom Poka’ – I don’t quite follow you regarding Mai’s brother Namaha. Could you please elaborate a bit further on this? Is he a candidate or is he an executive of a party?

      Agree on the very premature declaration. Akmat Mat hasn’t even won the seat yet! Rgds, Tavurvur.

  4. There are no laws in this country, or if there is then they are just on paper. Peter Oneil and BN have already shoen us the way..let everyman do as he pleases..

  5. The right honorable MP for Goroka is truly Mr. Tom Nunue.
    He is justified to be the mandated member for Goroka.
    The district dislikes Bire the corupt bloke.
    We have evidence to prove!

    • ‘Jeikz Lute’ – Everybody supports a specific candidate, and in PNG, disputes are a common thing. If concerns are serious enough, they will be lodged in the Court of Disputed Returns and a decision reached. Let due process follow. Rgds, Tavurvur.

What do you think?

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: