Bougainville group threatens action over contentious appointment

Residents hold a Bougainville flag at a polling station during a non-binding independence referendum in Arawa, on the Papua New Guinea island of Bougainville, 26 November 2019 (Photo: Reuters/Melvin Levongo). Sketched by the Pan Pacific Agency.

PORT MORESBY, Aug 25, 2022, RNZ. A prominent political group in PNG’s autonomous region of Bougainville is threatening to pull its support for president Ishmael Toroama after he removed portfolios from two MPs, Radio New Zealand reported.

A group calling itself the Northern Bloc has produced a petition threatening to stop backing the push for independence as well as its support for Toroama.

They are upset that two northern Bougainville MPs lost their portfolios while a woman MP was appointed.

The group claims Toroama may have acted unconstitutionally by not consulting with MPs before appointments.

But the president has said it is entirely his prerogative to dismiss and appoint ministers.

Toroama said the regional committees can make recommendations but it is his decision to make.

He said it is “archaically chauvinistic” for them to claim that the appointment of women to cabinet is dependent on MPs recommendations.

Toroama said the petitioners have tarnished the reputation of the new Minister for Lands and Physical Planning, Amanda Masono, with unfounded allegations.

He wants to assure the people of Bougainville that he has the full support of the Northern Bloc of leaders as well as the Bougainville Executive Council.

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