Hela leaders call for respect

The people of Hela and supporters of petitioners and incumbent Governor have been called on to respect each other, remain calm and respect the law as it takes its course.

Petitioners Francis Potape, Dr Hewali Hemia and incumbent MP Philip Undialu had their lawyers address the court today on whether to hear the two petitions separately or together after Undialu’s lawyer asked the court to vary the orders which joined the two petitions for trial.

Potape, who brought in a total of 60 witnesses from Hela, Mt Hagen, Lae and as far as Wewak, is calling for respect and peace among the supporters.

“I don’t want anyone to threaten anyone. No one should threaten any of the witnesses,” Potape said.

“Dr Hewalia has also brought all of his witnesses who are here so we must all respect one another and the court process and whatever the decision, then that’s the decision for the Hela people.

“I’m calling on the people to remain claim, whatever the issues that is happening in Tari or in the Hela Province must not be brought into Port Moresby.

“Tribal warfare in Tari must be left in Tari. Port Moresby is a land of peace for everybody,” he stated.

Potape said the people of Hela need to know what is happening, and if the current member is duly elected then he should carry on; whatever the decision the judge hands down then that should be the decision.

And despite the Regional seat election being in court, he said the court does not stop them from providing leadership and services to the people, the province and to the district.

Incumbent MP, Undialu, also expressed similar sentiments outside court today.

He said the election petitions relate to what happened at home and have nothing to do with Port Moresby.

“Our appeal to them is to remain calm and respect the rule of law.

“Irrespective of the decision, we are ready to proceed with the two objections to competency in both cases (petitions),” Undialu said.

“In spite of this, I have the Hela Assembly scheduled for 23 January where we will hand down the Hela budget and continue moving forward,” he added.

(Undialu’s lawyer addressing supporters and people of Hela who waited outside the Waigani National Court premises today)

Sally Pokiton