By JEFFREY ELAPA
MEMBER for Vanimo-Green Belden Namah is the new leader for PNG Party, The National reports.
He takes over from founder and former prime minister Sir Mekere Morauta.
A handover ceremony for the media took place last Friday.
Namah, former forest minister and a central part of the National Alliance party, defected to the opposition with former deputy prime minister Sir Puka Temu and former culture and tourism minister Charles Abel in July.
A plot to remove Prime Minister Sir Michael Somare during the July sitting did not succeed.
The PNG Party suffered defections to the government recently before Namah’s arrival.
Imbonggu MP Francis Awesa, Chimbu Governor Fr John Garia, and Henganofi MP Ferao Orimyao recently announced they were leaving the party to join the United Resource Party.
Sir Mekere told reporters at the handover ceremony that PNG Party was a national institution, and, therefore, the party wanted to make a change in the political landscape in the country by giving away the leadership to a young and vibrant leader as he was old and do not want to continue to hold on to the party leadership.
“A new generation of leadership must take place, and, therefore, I have stood down as the party leader.
“I have every confidence in his leadership and I am confident that he can grow the party,” he said.
Sir Mekere continues to hold on the opposition leadership until the members of the opposition meets and decides who should take over.
Namah said others should take the cue from Sir Mekere and follow suit.
“It’s time for Sir Michael and others to do the same and allow young and vibrant leaders to run the country while they sit behind and advise, rather than selfishly holding on to power,” he said.
Namah said he was determined to remove the Somare-Polye government come November.
Meanwhile, Anglimp-South Waghi MP Jamie Maxtone-Graham, when applauding Sir Mekere, said other “old dinosaurs” holding on to power should do the same to allow young leaders to take the lead.
Goroka MP Thompson Horokaqveh also declared his move to PNG Party by leaving Pangu Pati to support the opposition for a change of government.