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By Miriam Zarriga in Port Moresby

Outspoken Madang MP Bryan Kramer has been stripped of the Justice and Attorney-General ministries and given the Immigration and Border Security portfolio in a move seen as a demotion in Papua New Guinea’s pre-Easter cabinet mini-reshuffle.

Prime Minister James Marape announced the change along with four others last week, only a fortnight out from the start of the 2022 national general elections campaign with the writs being issued next week on April 28.

The other changes are: Westly Nukundj to Provincial and Local-Level Government Affairs, replacing Pila Niningi, who takes over Kramer’s former portfolio; Sohe MP Henry Amuli takes on Commerce and Industry, left vacant following the death of William Samb (Goilala MP); and Daulo MP Pogio Ghate replaces Chuave MP Wera Mori as Minister for Environment, Conservation and Climate Change.

Mori resigned from the cabinet a month ago to lead the Country Party into the elections.

New minister for Provincial and Local-Level Government Affairs Nukundj, last night thanked the government for having trust in him.

“I thank the prime minister for recognising my potential in elevating me to a senior ministry to be in charge of all the provincial and local level governments,” he said.

“I will discharge my duties to the very best of my knowledge, experiences and ability.”

Ministers Amuli and Ghate are first-term MPs.

Elevated to cabinet
They are being elevated to cabinet for the first time.

This is Marape’s fourth cabinet reshuffle since he became prime minister two years ago.

He appeared evasive when asked about the sudden changes with the election just days away.

Marape just said the changes were “necessary” to maintain cabinet.

“We had to fill the vacancies left in key portfolios and we had to have ministers who could have oversight on the portfolios so that work continues as we get into the election period,” he said.

He said the experience of each of the politicians was needed in their new portfolios.

“It is the prerogative of the prime minister, and while I respect the hard work of all three ministers the rotation of the key ministries comes at a time we are heading to the election,” Marape said.

‘Stand watch at immigration’
“We want to maintain work at the local level government, stand watch at immigration and maintain our laws, that is the reason for change.

“The changes have nothing to do with performance.

“They have all performed well in their key sectors but I felt these key sectors needed a change.

“I know the two new ministers, I know they are capable of heading the ministries they are taking care of.”

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

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