Grand Chief, Sir Michael Somare, was swamped by hundreds of well wishers in Madang as he arrived as guest at the Pangu Provincial visit.
This is the last of his many public engagements as he prepares to end his 50 career in politics.
Madang was a strategic location in the 60s and 70s when Sir Michael, built a young team to push for Independence under the Pangu Pati banner.
“When I told Papua New Guineans that we needed to change our country, the Madang’s stood behind me. I was happy. A great many thanks to you,” Sir Michael said in front of a large crowd.
While commentators will remain split for years over the positives and negatives of the Somare administration, he still commands enormous public respect.
In the 60s and 70s, Madang was an important piece of the Independence puzzle. Sir Michael called on Madang leaders like Sir Angmai Bilas to support him for the independence move.
Now at the end of his 50 year political career, the veteran politician is still the tactician. He has thrown his support behind the party he founded and is backing the candidacy of his daughter Dulciana for the seat he holds: East Sepik regional.
While Pangu has maintained this is not a campaign, its policies are being shared for public scrutiny. Among the key points are agriculture, local level government support and stringent budget control.
“Many new parties copy, cut and paste policies. They steal policies from other parties. So I ask Papua New Guineans… the 45 or 46 party leaders who stand before you… You must question them,” said Party leader, Sam Basil.
Pangu’s arrival in Madang comes on the back of another interesting development overnight. The Grand Chief’s National Alliance Party leader, and Treasury minister, Patrick Pruaitch, has come out slamming the PNC led government for economic mismanagement.
“After the economic boost induced by the LNG project that was negotiated and commissioned by a National Alliance Government, it seems like the economy has virtually fallen off a cliff under the present Government.”
Pruaitch has also put his hand up to be Prime Minister in what he envisions as a national alliance led government.
But even after the lengthy statement delivered yesterday, Pruaitch is being hammered on social media with Papua New Guineans questioning why the treasurer is cutting ties with the PNC after defending what he knew was falling apart.