Road to Vote of No Confidence 2024: Updates and Events

Since independence, only two PNG PMs lasted five years: Somare (2002-2007) and O'Neill (2012-2017). Can Marape, facing the historical odds, defy the trend and become the third?

The Pangu-led coalition government's grace period expires on Friday 9th of February 2024 but is the Marape/Rosso administration truly "rock solid," as its leaders claimed.  Or will it crumble under the pressure of a potential vote of no confidence? 

As the 9th of February approaches, cracks and concerns have emerged. The first PNG parliament sitting for 2024 is on Tuesday 13th February, 2024. PNG Insight will update this page as the political drama unfolds, so bookmark it and stay tuned for the latest.

It's important to remember that a vote of no confidence is a lengthy process (Here are the events of the 2019 VoNC on PNG Insight), with the government often using its powers to frustrate, block, or even defer it. Here is what will happen for a VoNC to take place:

  • Lobbying for Formation of an 'Alternate Govt' 
  • The tabling of the VoNC,
  • Consolidation of numbers, and
  • Final VoNC session.
2024 Vote of No Confidence in Marape Govt Papua New Guinea


Is a vote of no confidence looming in 2024? 

Lobbying Intensifies: As the February 13th 2024 vote of no confidence in PNG approaches, the days leading up to the parliament sitting date, and including the weekend are critical. 

Parallels are drawn to the 2019 vote, where MPs switched allegiances between the government and alternate camps at the last minute. So, given the fluidity of PNG politics, nothing is impossible and money and ministry privileges speak volumes.

We urge MPs to resist the influence of development funds (DSIP/PSIP), Connect PNG, and government contracts. Their decisions must be guided solely by the best interests of the country.


Read about the requirements and procedure for a VoNC in PNG.

Key events in PNG 2024

With this in mind, let's start with Black Wednesday, January 10th, and other major political developments leading up to the potential vote. Here are the defining moments in 2024:

January 10: Black Wednesday

Utter chaos erupted in Port Moresby as news of a pay cut for public servants coincided with a police strike. While protests and looting rocked the capital, dubbed "Black Wednesday" in its aftermath, the PNG government quietly authorised a K350 million warrant for the Pangu Party's flagship program, Connect PNG. 

January 11: Riot Aftermath & Sacking of Department Heads

Nationwide unease gripped businesses, prompting precautions. Lae and Mt Hagen cities reported controlled crowd gatherings. The Pangu-led Marape/Rosso government declared a 14-day State of Emergency and investigations into the Black Wednesday riot. 

Four high-ranking officials were suspended for the emergency's duration: 

  • Police Commissioner David Manning, 
  • DPM Secretary Taies Sansan, 
  • Finance Secretary Sam Penias, and 
  • Treasury Secretary Andrew Oaeke.

January 12: MP Showed Dissent 

Hiri-Koiari MP Keith Iduhu resigned from the Marape-Rosso government, criticizing the government's inaction in addressing the current situation. Additionally, Chuave MP James Nomane called for Prime Minister James Marape's resignation.

JANUARY 14: MP Questioned Connect PNG Funds Released on Black Wednesday

On January 14th, Hon. James Donald questioned the Department of Treasury and Department of Finance concerning the release of K350 million in Connect PNG warrants. 

The alleged release happened on Wednesday, January 10th, now nicknamed "Black Wednesday." This information has been confirmed by the Minister for Works, Solan Mirisim, 2 days later.

January 15: PNG Govt Monitoring Social Media Accounts

The PNG government issued warnings to social media users and announced increased monitoring of both mainstream and social media platforms. 

This move has been met with concern by some, who view it as an attempt to silence media organizations and restrict freedom of speech.

PNG VoNC 2024
Screenshot: Post Courier (accessed 27th January 2024)

January 16: Governors Irate Over Provincial Grant Cuts

Morobe Governor Luther Wenge urged Prime Minister James Marape to convene a prompt Pangu Party meeting to address internal leadership concerns. He proposed placing the party leadership on the table for discussion.

In a separate development, a frustrated New Ireland Governor, Sir Julius Chan, demanded the removal of Treasurer Ian Ling-Stuckey from office, citing a K40 million reduction in his 2024 budget.

The provincial governors, as a whole, are expressing discontent over cuts in their government grants.

JANUARY 17: Top Cop Sidelined

Top cop Anthony Wagambie Jnr was sidelined by Acting Police Commissioner Donald Yamasombi.

January 18: Cabinet reshuffle. 

6 new ministers:
  1. Koroba-Kopiago, William Bando, Coffee
  2. Nipa-Kutubu, Dr. William Joseph, Defence
  3. Popondetta, Richard Masere, Key Const Offices
  4. Kundiawa-Gembogl, Muguwa Dilu, Mining
  5. Obura-Wonenara, John Boito, Agri
  6. Esa’ala MP, J. Maladina, Petroleum 

Foreign Affairs Minister Justin T. was reinstated. Mr. Tkatchenko stepped down amidst controversy surrounding the UK trip with his daughter in May 2023, funded by PNG taxpayers. The trip & a subsequent viral video featuring his daughter generated significant public criticism.

January 19: Ministerial Positions Announced

  • Treasury Minister Ling-Stuckey was relegated to PM's assistant, while the PM, James Marape, assumed the Treasury role.
  • Tkatchenko was reinstated to Foreign Affairs.
  • Split Energy & Petroleum ministry; Finance & Planning ministry also split.
  • New Key Cont. Offices ministry established.
  • Sports ministry announcement pending.
Papua New Guinea goverment - 2024 vote of now confidence

January 26: Senior Minister in the Marape/Rosso Govt Resigned

Sinesine Yongomugl MP Kerenga Kua, former Petroleum & Energy Minister, has resigned as Minister for Energy, a portfolio created after the split (and reshuffle on January 18th. Citing the dubious "motivations" behind his demotion from Petroleum Minister to the lesser role of Energy Minister, his emphasis also lies on the broader national interests at stake.

February 1: Paraka Co-accused in UBS Saga Name Names

JACOB Yafai (former Deputy Secretary of Finance)  co-accused of convicted lawyer Paul Paraka has revealed the names of senior Ministers in the current government that allegedly orchestrated the payments of millions of kina to Paul Paraka's lawyers. 

The former Deputy Secretary of the Finance Department named the former Minister for Treasury (now PNG PM and a/Treasurer) and former Treasurer, Don Polye, as ministers under Peter O'Neill directed him to pay the Paraka Lawyers.

Paraka was sentenced to 20 years in prison for misappropriating K162 million (Post Courier)
Post Courier 01/02/2024

FEBRUARY 2: James Marape Alleged to Have Given Approval as Finance Minister

Prime Minister James Marape responded to the accusations by former Deputy Finance Secretary Jacob Yafai. Yafai, who stands as a co-accused alongside convicted Lawyer Paul Paraka, alleged Marape's involvement in the matter. The accusations centred around Marape's purported directive regarding payments related to Paraka's firm. 

Despite Marape's rebuttal, citing his efforts to prevent said payments, questions arose regarding the authenticity of his claims. This response highlights a significant development in an ongoing investigation, shedding light on potential impropriety at the highest levels of government.
Post Courier Reported 'Marape denies allegations...'

FEBRUARY 4: Another MP resigned from Marape/Rosso Govt

William Hagahuno, Member of Parliament for Kainantu, has resigned as an MP on the government side and joined the opposition "Alternate team." This news comes amidst reports of former PNG PM and Ialibu Pangia MP Peter O'Neill and his team holding a joint press conference today.

FEBRUARY 8: Two More MPs Resigned from the PANGU-led Government

The firebrand Governor of East Sepik Province, Allan Bird, and Member for Bulolo, Sam Basil Jr, held a press conference and announced their resignation from the Marape/Rosso government. 

The announcement came at the back of the PNG Prime Minister, James Marape, visit to Australia.

FEBRUARY 9: Opposition Leader resigned

Prime Minister James Marape Returned from Australia.
Opposition Leader Joseph Lelang and PNC Party strongman resigned as the leader of the opposition and from the PNG party citing a lack of consultations in meetings leading up to the VoNC. Post courier report

PNG vote of no confidence 2024

FEBRUARY 10 - 11: Pangu Pati Conference - Show of Solidarity 

Pangu Pati Strengthens Base with Two New Members. The ruling Pangu Pati has solidified its position in Papua New Guinea's Parliament with the addition of two new members, bringing its total to 56. Francis Alua, MP for Salt-Karamui Nomane, and Raphael Tonpi, MP for Mendi Munihu, officially joined Pangu Pati today.

Both MPs previously belonged to opposition parties – Alua with the PNG National Party and Tonpi with the United Labour Party. Their decision to switch allegiances follows their respective party leaders' move to the opposition benches.

FEBRUARY 13: Parliament Sitting (Motion on Vote of No Confidence 2024 filed)

The first Parliament sitting of 2024 started at 2 pm.

Opposition files the VoNC with the office of the acting Speaker. The opposition nominated Allan Bird as the Alternate Prime Minister.

FEBRUARY 14: James Marape challenges Allan Bird's Nomination as the 'Alternate Prime Minister 

The government has submitted an application to the Supreme Court regarding the constitutionality of the recent vote. The government seeks clarification from the Supreme Court on the eligibility of Allan Bird, an independent Member of Parliament, who has been nominated as an opposition candidate for the position of Prime Minister in Papua New Guinea.
PNG VONC 2024 - The government has submitted an application to the Supreme Court regarding the constitutionality of the recent vote. The government seeks clarification from the Supreme Court on the eligibility of Allan Bird, an independent Member of Parliament, who has been nominated as an opposition candidate for the position of Prime Minister in Papua New Guinea.

FEBRUARY 15: Third Day Parliament Sitting - Govt Remained Steadfast

On February 15, during the third day of Parliament sitting, the government stood firm, contesting the appointment of Alternate PNG, Allan Bird, in court. 

Entry to the chambers was restricted due to a power outage.

Despite opposition MPs briefly boycotted the 'Vote of Confidence on the Prime Minister', debates ensued.

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