An observation on vote of no confidence session

Unlike most other sitting days of parliament, today’s session got off on time, maybe 20 minutes late but that’s still good enough compared to previous sessions when they start an hour or more late.

Even before the parliamentary staff had arrived with the mace, the government members took their benches together with the Prime Minister.

They were later joined by the Opposition comprising 21 members.

Upon the arrival of the Speaker Theo Zurenuoc and his staff, parliament resumed with prayers.

The Speaker then set the general rules for the session, cautioning MPs to behave and follow standing orders of the day.

He also made it clear that the only item of business for the day was the Motion for the Vote of No Confidence, and nothing else.

Sam Basil, the mover of the motion was then asked to make his speech as to why he has moved a no-confidence motion against Prime Minister O’Neill.

Basil highlighted most of the issues that have been trending lately on social media, most of which are subjects of protests and public outcry across the country.

But his speech didn’t go down easy with members of the government, as they attacked each other verbally.

With the parliament now open for debate, Morobe Governor, Kelly Naru presented his thoughts on why he chose to support O’Neill.

He said with less than nine months remaining before elections, he didn’t see the need for a new Prime Minister.

Also, most of the issues raised by Basil in his speech were before the courts and in quoting certain parts of the constitution, Naru said O’Neill is innocent until proven guilty and reaffirmed his support for him.

Leader of Government Business and Finance Minister, James Marape also took part in the debate.

He’s debate focused more on replying to Basil’s arguments about the state of economy.

Marape again, put it on the floor that the drop in Oil Prices by 70 per cent has greatly affected PNG as most of the country’s income is derived from this commodity.

His speech led to an uproar in the house, prompting members to scream at each other.

Marape then put forward a question to the speaker to proceed to the pinnacle of the event, which was to take a Vote of No-Confidence against O’Neill.

The speaker then put the question through and all government MPs agreed to it.

He then moved for the votes to be taken.

This did not go down well with the opposition as Vanimo Green MP Belden Namah questioned the Speaker on his action to cut the debate short.

The house again went into chaos and disorder as the Speaker’s voice was overpowered by the screaming MPs.

After a few minutes, the Speaker called for order and proceeded with the votes.

Those in favour of O’Neill were called to the left side of the house while those against were told to move to the right side of the house.

This was the most defining moment everyone have been waiting for as all 85 members of the government who returned from Alotau moved to the government side, putting to rest social media rumours and outburst that many would cross floor at the 11th minute.

Upon a headcount, the government mustered the numbers at 85 against just 21 Mps in the opposition.

Parliament was then adjourned to August 9th 2016 at 2pm.

Ruth Rungula