Woman among favoured nominations for PNG governor-general

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Winnie Kiap
Former PNG High Commissioner to UK Winnie Kiap . . . strongly in the running. Image: Business Advantage PNG

By Miriam Zarriga in Port Moresby

Papua New Guinea is close to voting in it first female Govenor-General after nominations for the post closed yesterday afternoon.

Only three familiar names are in the running.

Former PNG High Commissioner to UK and Cabinet Secretary Winnie Kiap is up against two male nominees, the incumbent Sir Bob Dadae and lawyer and National Alliance stalwart Stephen Pokawin.

Kiap was nominated by Central Governor Rufina Peter and women leaders in PNG. Pokawin is the NA Party nominee while Sir Bob is the Pangu Pati nominee.

Winnie Anna Kiap, 74, is from Baluan Island in Manus Province and began her career in the Department of Trade and Industry. She later moved to the position of Director of Corporate Services in the Investment Promotion Authority.

In 1998, she became Secretary to the National Executive Council and held the position for several years before she was moved to the Prime Minister’s Department in 2008.

She has served as director on two corporate boards in the financial sector in the country and was a consultant before 2011 when she was appointed as the High Commissioner of PNG to UK.

She is a mother of two and a grandmother of five.

How the selection works
The other nominee is Stephen Pokawin, who is a law lecturer at the University of Papua New Guinea.

He is a former MP for Manus and is said to be supported by the National Alliance party.

He handed in his nomination last week.

The incumbent Governor-General is Sir Bob Dadae who assumed office on February 28, 2017.

He was the former MP for Kabwum and has assumed several roles before being elected as the Governor-General.

The three nominees will have to wait until January 10, 2023, when they will know who will be the successor to Sir Bob Dadae.

According to the acting Clerk of Parliament, Basil Kambuliagen, in order for the current Governor-General to be part of the votes, he has to muster two thirds or 79 votes in Parliament before the vote for GG takes place.

“That is the first step, should the GG not muster the required 79 votes he will not take part in the secret ballot which is the second part of the process to vote the GG.

“If GG is voted back in he will be part of the secret ballot, the person with the lowest number will be removed and then another secret ballot is taken and then we announce who the country’s new GG is,” Mr Kambuliagen said.

“Once we have the nominated GG, the Chief Justice will come in and swear in the new GG.

This would be the process of the voting on January 10, he said.

Miriam Zarriga is a PNG Post-Courier reporter. Republished with permission.

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