Airai Governor Tmewang Rengulbai has offered to resign from his position as Governor of Airai State in three months-time, in response to the letter from Airai State Legislature (Olbiil era Ngerchumelbai) requesting him to resign due to his disability.
In a letter submitted to Speaker Dave Orrukem, Governor Tmewang disputes his disability, saying that it would be “dereliction of my oath office if I were to resign because of disability when in fact I am not disabled.” He added that although his physical movements are encumbered, he is not mentally disabled.
Despite disputing his disability, Governor Tmewang said that respecting the wishes of the members of Ngerchumelbai, and mindful of the financial challenges faced by the State impacted by the pandemic, he will resign when “less than 180 days remains in my term” to prevent the need for special election, which he said would be expensive for the State of Airai.
“To spare our State and its people from the expenses and upheavals of a special election, I propose to resign when less than 180 days remains in my term,” stated Tmewang.
With next Airai State General Election slated for March 7, 2022, Governor Tmewang proposed to resign from office on September 10, 2021, about three months and three days from today.
He has been recovering from a serious car accident for the last six months and had designated Collins Takeo, Director of Airai Tourism Office to act in his stead.
Airai State Government does not have a law specifying order of succession but its Constitution states that the Speaker of the State Legislature shall succeed the Office of Governor if the office becomes vacant. If it is more 180 days, a special election will be held within 2 months. Vacancy in the Office of Governor occurs due to death, resignation, or disability.
Airai State Legislature (Olbiil Era Ngerchumelbai) had requested Governor Rengulbai Tmewang to resign from Office citing his disability as demonstrated by Court ordering the guardianship of his person to his son and his assignment of duties to his staff.
In their letter to Governor Tmewang last week, they had requested that he resign in order to avoid removal by resolution. Airai Constitution also says that Legislature can impeach or remove the Governor by a vote of not less than two-third (2/3) of its members.
In turn, Tmewang’s letter to Speaker Orrukem asked for “patience” while they work together for their state.
When reached for comments, Speaker Orrukem said that they’ve just received the letter from Governor and will be looking into it with their attorney.