Out of respect for its founding father, the late Grand Chief Sir Michael Somare, will be camping in Wewak, East Sepik, when it forms the next government, says Prime Minister James Marape. “We will be setting up camp to form (the next) government in Wewak, out of respect for the late Grand Chief who was a founding father of the party,” he said. “As this will be the first time (to have an election) without him, we have chosen to set up camp in Wewak where he lays.” Marape, who has been campaigning for party candidates in Alotau, Milne Bay, in the past two days, said he wanted to take the party’s young leaders back to the Grand Chief’s home in Wewak “for them to realise and understand the dream that our forefathers had for our country”. “I believe that the younger generation needs to carry on that dream,” he said.

Marape told The National that the Pangu Pati had discussed the idea with the leaders of its coalition partners. Marape also said it was time that the people were given the economic independence they deserved. “We need to empower (them), instead of handouts. For example, we can continue talking about free education. But what happens after that?” he said. “Where will all these students go to? Instead of giving them fish, let’s teach them how to fish.“ That is what economic independence is about.” Marape said only 10 per cent of the population lived in urban centres. “Pangu is about the rural people,” he said. Marape also stressed the importance of giving women candidates the opportunity to win. “They are (our) mothers, daughters, sisters. (Let’s) see what changes they can bring,” he said. Pangu’s women candidates are Natasha Panta (Alotau open) and Jennifer Rudd (regional). Marape said: “Alotau has not changed, despite having two governments formed here.“ If you want change, try electing new leaders. Give women candidates a try. Even strong men and leaders go back home at the end of the day and call on their wives and mothers for a plate of food.“ Mothers are the ones who take our children to the hospital when they are sick, manage our homes and ensure the welfare of the family. I believe they can do the same for the people if given the mandate.”

Pangu to camp in Wewak – The National