Wednesday, December 14, 2011

The law and politics in tatters

Source: yutok, Post Courier, December 14, 2011
WHEN the O’Neill-Namah Government wrestled power from the Somare Government on August 2 2011, I wrote to say “a shadow was created from reality”. On December 12, the Supreme Court made it true. It ruled 3:2 that Somare Government was the legitimate government.
The Supreme Court faced many hurdles. First, an application was made to disqualify the Chief Justice on the ground of bias. It was alleged that the son of Chief Justice was working for a law firm that had served Supreme Court Reference on law office of the State and other interveners.
Then the Supreme Court was asked to add questions well outside of circumstances arising on 2 August 2011. When the Supreme Court was seized with the matter, Parliament proceeded to make the seat of East Sepik Provincial vacant.
Then the Supreme Court was impressed upon to order East Sepik Provincial Executive to go to Singapore Raffles Hospital to obtain medical report for Grand Chief Somare. It was not an issue on August 2.
As the Supreme Court seemed it was to proceed, another attempt was made to suspend the Chief Justice. This was immediately acted against by the Supreme Court and two key leaders were charged with contempt of the Supreme Court.
Finally, on the 11th hour, the lawyer for a leader filed for the disqualification of the Chief Justice on allegation by three dwellers at a suburb in Port Moresby that they had seen Chief Justice and Arthur Somare at 2.00 am on November 4, 2011 at a hotel in Port Moresby. Both the Chief Justice and Arthur Somare have denied the allegation and the leader concerned is likely to be charged with contempt of the Supreme Court.
When the Supreme Court ruled it was 3:2 decision to restore the Government of Grand Chief Somare. A rearguard and contemptuous action of Parliament on December 12 does not change the decision of the Supreme Court that was the interpretation and application of constitutional law. Amendment to an Act of Parliament that is subservient to the Constitution have no legal force and effect.

James Wanjik,
Port Moresby

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