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Renbel ward 10 MPA removed

PROVINCIAL Member for Renbel’s Ward 10 has been officially disqualified by the province’s Assembly Speaker.

Kusol Puangongo was served his marching orders on Friday last week for breaching provincial ordinances, in having been absent in three full assemblies without any explanations.

Speaking to this paper this week, Renbel Premier Collin Singamoana confirmed this, saying that the provincial Speaker had acted in his capacity to disqualify Mr Puangongo as provincial member of Renbel’s ward 10.

Premier Collin clarified that the ousted MPA had made himself absent from four consecutive provincial full assemblies without attempting to furnish the provincial Speaker with any reasons to explain his string of absenteeism.

“This law does not only apply to Renbel alone, but to the whole provincial government system and the national parliament. Mr Puangongo had breached this law by absenting himself from three consecutive full assemblies and never bothered to explain himself despite being given the chance by the provincial Speaker to do so.”

Hon Singamoana explains that Mr Kusol had been earlier served a warning letter after he missed a second consecutive full assembly without an explanation to each count of absenteeism. However, despite this, he continued with the renegade behaviour and ended up missing four full assemblies without an explanation.

Premier Singamoana said that the third absence had been discarded based on cultural observance of respect since Mr Kusol, at that time, had experienced an untimely passing away of a family member.

“His [Kusol] third absence was disregarded since he had a death in the family, and out of cultural respect and understanding, we gave our respects and waivered it aside. However, sadly he did not turn up in the next full assembly and even ignored advice to render an explanation, just like his first two absence.

“The Speaker had to execute his job description and thus disqualified Kusol for having missed three consecutive full assemblies without even bothering to explain his absence in those three meetings.”

Premier Collin also shares that five MPAs of Renbel have already received warning letters for having missed two consecutive full assemblies without valid reasons.

In light of Mr Kusol’s departure, Premier Singamoana conveys his sympathies but says that all complacencies and negligent attitudes, which have been the norm in previous regimes, towards the system must be stopped.

“It is a sad thing to have happened, but it must be ensured too that the old practice of making a mockery of laws and regulations be halted. Renbel has just recovered from suspension and is struggling to make a comeback, and we just simply have no room for such no-care attitudes.

“Kusol has all the right to challenge the Speaker’s decision and there are channels offered by the constitution for him to do that.”

On this note, Premier Singamoana appeals to the Renbel people not to allow themselves to be misled by false rumours which claim that the disqualification of ward 10’s MPA was personally and politically triggered.

“I’m aware of false rumours being circulated claiming that my executive had a hand in Kusol’s disqualification. Let me say here that only the Speaker has the constitutional mandate to terminate an MPA under the law. The Premier does not have this mandate. And this decision was carried out by the Speaker in his capacity and independently.

“People spreading lies that my executive and I are behind Kusol’s removal are with personal agendas and are hell-bent on tarnishing my executive’s reputation at any cost. Not only are they bad-mouthing my government, but their silly claims also imply that the Speaker does not know his job, and that is another serious matter to consider.

“No one is trying to spoil anyone here. We are all leaders mandated by our respective wards to represent them in the provincial government. Moreover, what is sad is that Mr Kusol, being a senior politician, should have showed good example to the junior MPAs. Instead he did the opposite.”

Premier Singamoana affirms that Mr Kusol’s disqualification was purely a result of his breach of the law, and was in no way due to political, personal, or executive and admin influence.

“If you want to prove the legality of the decision, then by all means feel free to consult the Speaker or the Legal Advisor to the Ministry of Provincial Government.”

Mr Kusol could not be reached for comments, however, a source close to him has indicated that he will challenge his disqualification.

The source shares with Island Sun on anonymity that they feel that Mr Kusol’s disqualification was unfair and that he still remains as the people’s choice for ward 10 as their MPA.

“In the eyes of the Sa’aiho tribe of Ward 10, Kusol is still our Hon MPA, and that he is a victim of hatred. We will challenge his termination in court and the Renbel province must prepare,” the source warns.

It is understood that Mr Kusol’s disqualification renders Renbel province’s ward 10 without provincial representation, and that the Hon Singamoana will step in as interim MPA in his capacity as Premier until a new MPA is elected.

If Mr Kusol successfully challenges his disqualification then he may be reinstated. However, if he does not then it may mean that Ward 10 will have to undergo a by-election to elect a new MPA.

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