The Papua New Guinea Prime Minister James Marape should have recalled Foreign Minister Justin Tkatchenko and sacked him immediately, PNG MP Sir Julius Chan said.
“He should not stand down and wait around for a while until things quieten down and then get back in,” the former prime minister and current New Ireland governor said.
Sir Julius was commenting on Tkatchenko’s action on Friday when he succumbed to mounting pressure and stepped down as foreign affairs minister.
Prime Minister James Marape accepted the decision and took up the responsibilities of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
Tkatchenko said in his efforts to protect his daughter, Savanah, from public anger over her TikTok video, he directed his ‘primitive animals’ comment at social media trolls.
He said his comments were not “intended for the people of Papua New Guinea”.
Sir Julius added: “What he (Tkatchenko) said is unthinkable. He is out of his mind.
He just can’t say those things.
“The foreign affairs minister is more powerful than the prime minister in the eyes of the world.”
Sir Julius said Marape should have sacked him or asked for his resignation.
“There are a lot of Papua New Guineans around. He is not the only one,” Sir Julius said.
Not satisfied with having his ministerial head, there are other representations, by way of letters, to the Ombudsman Commission to investigate possible breaches of the Leadership Code by Tkatchenko’s inclusion of his daughter on the official delegation and certain official duties she undertook while in England. A law firm has taken carriage of that.
Chairman of the Parliamentary Committee on Foreign Affairs, International Trade and Defence, Belden Namah said he is asking the chief migration Officer to probe Savannah’s citizenship status and what possible breaches of the Immigrations and Citizenship Service Act Tkatchenko’s racial slur might invoke.
Sir Julius parting shot was that “no person with dual citizenship ought to be allowed to hold public office in Papua New Guinea.”
It is uncertain whether or not Tkatchenko hold dual citizenship.
“All dual citizens should be prevented from standing for public offices. You can’t ride two horses,” Sir Julius said.
On Friday, Tkatchenko admitted he made the mistake of publicly commenting on user comments, from Papua New Guinean commenters on the short TikTok video posted by Savannah showing the classy treatment on the way to the King’s coronation.
Tkatchenko said his comments were made out of frustration and anger in response for comments that were “disgusting behaviour, that were sexual and violent comments, all sorts of comments that you would never want your daughter or women in general to go through”.
Marape told a media conference : “This sort of incidents happened, the minister stepped aside on his own free will, some don’t step aside they keep staying.
“I know there are pressures out there in society.
“We did have conversations with him.
“We live in a democratic country, I’ve advised all leaders in my ranks that conduct of family and our leadership is under scrutiny all the time.”
Meanwhile, PNG Evangelical Lutheran Church Bishop Dr Jack Urame wants Moresby South MP Justin Tkatchenko sacked.
The bishop described the former Foreign Minister’s comments on international media as “disrespectful and degrading”.
He said stepping aside as the foreign affairs minister which Tkatchenko did over the weekend, was a “political bandage fix”.
“Our dignity must be respected,” Urame said. “The citizens want to see tougher action from the Prime Minister against him and not soft political approach.”
He said the former minister’s comments carried a colonial tone and touched the wounds inflicted by colonial powers years back in this country and around the world.
“At this time when many countries around the world are struggling with oppressive ideologies of white supremacy, black inferiority, racism, social class system and the divide between strong and weak societies, such a comment is derogatory and harmful.
“When such undignified comments were made at the time when the delegation was attending the coronation of the King, which is a symbol of the British Empire, it did not fit well together.
“As citizens of this country, we cannot accept such suppressive ideologies and totally reject the comments; we have proven ourselves to be equal with others in the world in many ways,” he said.
Urame said Papua New Guineans deserved respect and better treatment from those who came into the county or “lived and worked in our country”.
“I believe he only stepped aside so that the PM will take over the Foreign Affairs Ministry for a while until things settle down.
“PM should listen to the public call and do the right thing by sacking him as demanded by the citizens.
“When the minister steps aside, he only vacates the office and not sacked from office,” he said.
SOURCE: THE NATIONAL/PACNEWS