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By Bomai Kawale
This time last year all in PNG would not have dreamt that James Marape would be PM of PNG one year on. Peter O’Neill seemed rock solid and many other pronounced candidates were ahead of the political cue then Marape but what happened and out of the blue Marape runs past every politician including PO and becomes PM.
Whilst many will assume that many factors were at play, including the Hand of God and POs corruption rating to make Marape PM, no one has really studied James Marape to see if he is a beneficiary of an intricate and crafty political strategies that he set up to see his rise and the fall of his former boss.
I have done research on JM and he seems much deeper then the easy going smiling well mannered politician the country is getting to know. Inside he seems to be a cool, calculative hard core political animal. I remember a recent parliament statement he made ‘ I may speak like a dove but I am a tiger’ made me dig deeper into this leader.
He first entered parliament in 2007 defeating an established politician with no use of money but pure mathematical strategy at his electorate and quickly rose to education minister in 2008. He become deputy leader of NA highlands when Don Polye was out for re election in 2009 and passed back leadership to Polye in 2011.
When PO and Don Polye and B Namah and team joined up to form government, he remained with NA and joined PO and PNC in the face of 2012 elections. Namah and Polye moved away from PO but JM remained with PO and was POs key strategist to hold POs government together.
Has PNG forgotten the 2016 Laguna camp led by Don Polye , Ben Micah, Sir Julius, Pias Wingti, Belden Namah and the team and Marape shouted ‘bring it on’ and predicted that PNC lead government will have above 85 MPs and whilst PO was drinking sorry alcohol for his friend Ben Micah who deserted him, JM single handily took the government down to Alotau again and came back a week later to defeat the vote of no confidence in 2016.
He defused that vote of no confidence, when many think PO defended himself but deeper look and you ask Members of Parliament from 2012 to 2017, they will tell you Marape and others in PNC defended PO, when PO is drinking and discussing contracts these other leaders work hard defending government.
JM was leader of government business all through, he knew parliament procedures like not too many would know, that’s why we can now see how he took control of the proceedings of parliament on the afternoon of 28th May 2019 to change the parliamentary committee instead of Patrict Pruiatch’s move to change the speaker, Marape took over and calmly changed the composition of that key committee that dealt with Vote of No Confidence and installed Governors Powi and Undialu and others who were his key supporters.
Word has it that he even lied to induce William Duma and team for the Prime Minister post and got Duma and Pruiatch to fight for it yet he worked on a strategy talking to both Duma and Patrick’s opponents in Wingti and Sir Julius to remain forceful on PO to resign when numbers swung to Laguna camp.
This was a fall back if he does not secure nomination at Laguna, then POs resignation would be the conduit to the office of PM. It does make sense now that Micheal Nali who is like a mentor to Marape remained in Crown all along but was also a Marape relative from Mendi that was instrumental in getting Marape back to Crown and for Marape’s nomination.
Marape is known to say political success boils down to mathematics, he did it with no political party, no money, no popularity, but political mathematics and possibly God’s intervention.
My hypothesis is this; he will be around for some time, don’t take his slow reaction time, his infectious smile, his eloquence of word and mannerisms as his face, he is far from this, he is a cold blooded political strategists who waited for his time to make the move.
Least we forget, many politicians attempts moves like this fail in the past and for Marape to stage this and succeed should shiver political pundits to take him more seriously.
He picked his time well on the 11th of April 2019, resigning as POs key cabinet Minister in the face of looming vote of no confidence period. He succeeded all in a frantic chain of events that his resignation triggered to see him ascend to the post of PM 48 days later.
My advice to PO and others , better adapt to this change because it was the most calculated move they did not see but Marape who resigned and was playing golf the same afternoon.
As the saying goes, still water runs deep, this Chief from Tari must never be underestimated. I will write next on why Marape picked B Krammer to be his police Minister.
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