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Thursday, 26 December 2013

Panguna mine landowners weaken

Leonard Fong Roka

In a participatory issue presentation for possible agendas for a landowners-Autonomous Bougainville Government (ABG)-Bougainville Copper Limited (BCL) meet and forum held for the 4th and 5th December 2013 in Buka’s Kuri Village Resort, it turn clear that the resource owners of Panguna mine related landowner groups had being weaken by the dissolving of their umbrella body the Panguna Mine Affected Landowner Associations (PMALA).
Panguna LOs in Buka
In a preliminary meeting on the 3rd December 2013 co-chaired by Dr. O’Fallie Cieran, one the two ABG AusAID funded consultants for the Department of Mining towards the re-opening effort and Raymond Masono, the coordinator of the Panguna Mine Negotiation Committee of the ABG and the Bougainville administration whilst Anthony Reagan kept silent through the opening hours with his personal body hovering about, it was obvious the landowners were disorganized and often contesting for a prevailing outcome and the demoralization of the other.

Before November 2013 there nine landowners groups, Siokate, Uruava, Port-mine-access road, SML, Upper Tailings, Lower Tailings, Bolabe and Bolabe and other Fish Owners, and the coastal Sea Corridor areas stretching from Torokina to Siwai. All were covered under the PMALA that had Lawrence Daveona as the chairman. However, over internal politicking members of the Siokate group that represents mostly the Arawa village people stood against it.  

Thus it was dissolved and now the landowner groups are independent. This is leading to snail pace of decision making as the groups turn to bark at each other. This independence means that when it comes to consultations or meetings with BCL, each group ought to be given a time which means time will be a factor to constrain progress for tangible outcomes for Bougainville.

This means more funding will be squandered in a body that does so often repel each other and more time will be wasted. So it will be a long road to bring progress on Bougainville regarding the Panguna re-opening issues, compensation and development.

This also will lead to the domination of landowners by external forces like ex-combatants, ABG and BCL as it was evident in this meeting.

Over the session former leader of the dissolved PMALA seem to raise critical issues towards the progress of the Panguna mine talks but the leadership of the Siokate, Therese Jaintong seem to oppose all his propositions to the ABG.

The main issue behind the dissolving of PMALA was the PMALA was or will belittle the respective nine landowner groups and also, that most groups despite having few common problems all did not share most of the problems.

So showing that the few leaders are not sure that their irresponsibility holds the Bougainville people at ransom and also leading the Bougainville people to further suspicions of all these actions as corruption oriented.

Thus there is high probability that landowner groups and their own people at home have a gap of communication in between that a change of attitude and character needs to sort out as Bougainville needs are well connected subject-authority relationship.

Generally Panguna mine landowner groups are running their own respective games in the face of the organized and focused BCL and ABG mining interests. To gain maximum benefit all have to be a united force against BCL and other interest groups.

And they, the landowner groups with ABG are now working towards sorting out all these issues.

Monday, 25 November 2013

Anthony Reagan—The Economic Hit Man

Leonard Fong Roka

What game is Anthony Reagan playing on Bougainville for Bougainvilleans?
When the Panguna people fought against the brutal exploitation of Bougainville wealth to built Australia’s buffer state of Papua New Guinea that hosted a people that were not ethnically and geographically relatives of Bougainvilleans, Australia was up against the Solomon Island people of Bougainville and supported the PNG people.

Bougainvilleans stood up to shut the Panguna mine that was building PNG and not Bougainville. The analogy is that Bougainville was rich in the media and the few urban centers but in reality, Bougainville was the poorest island with no infrastructure, proper government system to sustain progress. Bougainville was marching to its grave yard festooned beautiful flowers.

Australia and PNG loved the pre-crisis Bougainville direction of development that was based on exploitation that was sustained by institutional indoctrination to subject the Bougainville nation into a field of genocide.

The pair proofed it when the Bougainville people revolted since 1988.

Australia and PNG had the dream to eradicate the people of Bougainville in their 10 year total blockade on Bougainville to take control of the massive seven mines that Bougainville is sitting on. Since Panguna mine was the financial river of PNG, it indicated that the next 6 mines were as positive in terms of profiteering for Australia and PNG.

But Bougainvilleans stood to the harsh Australia and PNG rage against them.

Thus reaching a moment in the life of Bougainvilleans that their tiny island states like Solomon Islands, Vanuatu with the backing of only one responsible state in the Pacific, New Zealand; other humanitarian organizations like churches and individuals of the Pacific and the international community began advocating for peace in the midst of the divided Bougainville people that were fighting each other whilst the Australia armed PNG army turned into a sitting logistical provider.

Peace did not suffer resistance for the island since Bougainville was a nation that people knew and accepted each other. So when Bougainville kept their guns away and peace slowly wrapped the island making Australia thinking.

Australia is a hegemonic state in the South Pacific. It cannot let go its status that easily to another rival state, for example, China and be seen as a bystander in its own doorsteps from exploiting the tiny Pacific island states.

Thus Australia dived into the peace effort on Bougainville under a new skin of friendship for the post-conflict Bougainville population to welcome it as a big brother. Of course, it is the regions big brother, but no state or person enters into a partnership without its interest to get its slice of the cake.

With all care, Australia helps Bougainville create the Bougainville Peace Agreement (2001); Australia support Bougainville creates it autonomous government system and so on. But as it stands behind Bougainville, Australia is seeing that Bougainvilleans turn to built laws that will deter or narrow its interest on Bougainville.

To this, an academically well versed Anthony Reagan comes into play.

Consider this and look at Mr. Reagan and the Autonomous Bougainville Government (ABG) of the day: ‘Experts at the banks will come after you. It’s their job to punch holes in your forecasts—that’s what they’re paid to do. Making you look bad makes them look good.’ Confessions of the Economic Hit Man by John Perkins (2004: Page 17).

Anthony Reagan is punching holes in Bougainvillean psyche and achievements making the ABG look bad and making outside interest and directive  look beautiful thus ABG is backing outside interest and not a Bougainville oriented approach to development of Bougainville.

Such a trend paves way for exploitation. That is Bougainvilleans still will not own the land they died for since ABG is vowing to foreign interests that the very good examples on the ground are Anthony Reagan and Lindsay Semple.

Recently in Bougainville Forum (Facebook) Anthony Reagan preached all his credentials of working on Bougainville and admitted that, ‘It’s true that AusAID has paid for my work in Bougainville.’

In this day and age, political leaders are puppets and the real decision makers in politics are the financial institutions, multinational corporations, and so on. So we have to ask as Bougainvilleans how many financial tentacles has AusAID has? BCL and Rio Tinto are both Australian multinational corporations!

So nothing is hidden when Anthony Reagan is struggling hard to influence and mould the outcome of the Bougainville mining bill.

Panguna Mine Affected Landowners Association (PMALA) chairman, Lawrence Daveona, emailed his executives that, ‘we must collectively defend the "Stolen Rights" for our people. We must remember that Blood has been spilled in our struggle for Land rights. You all know the rest of the story. It is now or never as long as people like Mr. Tony Regan and Professor Cieran who are on the payroll of AUSAID as advisors to ABG keep carrying on their misguided information to us under the cover of "Workshops" for us the Landowners.’

People are seeing and feeling the whole problem Bougainville is now faced with: the reckless roaming of an economic hit man to kill Bougainville ownership of the land and its livelihood. They are here to put foreign interest ahead of Bougainville’s loss of 15 to 20 000 of its innocent people that perish under Australian support of its friend, PNG and its brutality on the island.

Another American sympathetic to Bougainvilleans, Dr. David E. Martin of the University of Virginia wrote in Inverted Alchemy blog that, ‘In an elaborate scheme reminiscent of the first theft of Bougainville’s assets, Mr. Regan has complied with the wishes of his paymasters and drafted a new mining bill that preserves nearly all the abuses embodied in the 1967 Act. To add insult to injury, his proposed bill reinforces the corruption quotient by burying in Clause 26 the nullification of the over 200 provisions with the simple empowerment of the Autonomous Bougainville Government to act unilaterally and without consideration of any law as it wishes. Using his “constitutional” expertise, he’s taken to the U.S. government’s definition of Constitutional Law – if it is expedient, do it and tread on the Constitution to get what you want.’

The ABG’s mining minister, Michael Oni from Panguna, is now a puppet in the House of Representatives. He has no ownership of the bill played around by Anthony Reagan. It was not Michael Oni that presented the bill in parliament but Anthony Reagan.

In such a rush Anthony Reagan also abused the Bougainville Constitution twice but nothing has being done by the ABG.

The Bougainville Copper Agreement 1967 that allowed the exploitation, indoctrination and genocide of the Bougainville people is now trying to come back with the blessing of the ABG and the economic and political hit man Anthony Reagan.

Bougainville’s Contesting Resource Bills

Leonard Fong Roka

In June 1967, the mining policy created by the colonial administration, the Bougainville Copper Agreement gave Australia's CRA 53.6 percent ownership and most of the profits from the Panguna mine. In 1964 an Australian administrator told local people they would get nothing from the mine. This led to the 10 year civil war and the Australia-back PNG blockade of Bougainville since 1988 that led to the death of estimated 10 to 20 thousand Bougainvilleans.
In 2005 after years of peace negotiations Bougainville was granted a high form of autonomy, under the Autonomous Bougainville Government (ABG) within the state of PNG. It is now able to make its own laws as it prepares for a referendum between 2015 and 2020 as catered for in the Bougainville Peace Agreement of 2001 to decide its political future.

With this though, Bougainville is financially depended on PNG and other donors with its internal revenue generation still staggering. This situation has driven the leadership to pursue the re-opening of the Australian Panguna mine that was shut in May 1989 for its exploitation of Bougainville resources and suppression of its people.

To improve internal revenue sources the Bougainville government is focused on the re-opening of the Panguna mine through the creation of new laws in the Bougainville parliament. This parliamentary exercise of creating laws over the resources rights in Bougainville has now turned into a contest spilling beyond the House of Representatives in Kubu, Buka causing fear and doubt to many Bougainvilleans.

Since November 2006, the PNG government agreed to transfer mining, oil and gas powers to Bougainville and since then the Bougainville government was at work trying to mitigate its economic loopholes.

The late Joseph Kabui’s house got tangled up with controversial Australian businessman Lindsay Semple creating the Bougainville Resource Development Corporation (BRDC) that was to give 70 per cent of Bougainville resources rights to Lindsay Semple. The current Dr. John Momis house had got Bougainville dealing with BCL to get the Panguna mine running to free Bougainville economically.

Despite the Lindsay Semple deal blasted in parliament around 2008 contributing to the death of Joseph Kabui and its setback, it had made a come-back under the skin of Morumbi Resource Inc. running around Bougainville secretively trying to gain ground with potential resources sites and owners. On the same issue, the current Bougainville government house under Dr. John Momis is also engaging with the CRA subsidiary company, BCL and other stakeholders in a not-so-transparent pursued of the development of Bougainville resources.

Both regimes are fighting each other to get the Bougainville government to get their own bill to be the law overlooking resources, especially mining, but this is causing trouble for people running the negotiation of Panguna mine.

The two contesting bills, ABG’s Transitional ABG Mining Bill has Anthony Reagan as the architecture that is said to be backed by BCL and so pro-BCL and not much Bougainvilleans. Whilst the next bill known as Bougainville Resources Owners is backed by Lindsay Semple through Sam Kauona, the former Bougainville Revolutionary Army (BRA) strategist.

An officer in the Panguna Mine Affected Landowners Association (PMALA) who asked to remain anonymous stated that as a body representing mine affected people they do not like both the ABG-Reagan and Kauona-Semple bills.

In the ABG-Reagan bill there is transparency in the Bougainville administration side. People know what they are doing but at the political level Bougainvilleans know nothing. Bougainville knows there are hidden agendas now in the BCL-Reagan-ABG relationship.

Recently the first draft of that bill abused Bougainville parliament by not getting endorsement and going in for the first hearing. During the ABG president’s daughter’s funeral Anthony Reagan was disrespectful of Bougainvillean customs pushing the parliament for another hearing of the bill.

It is obvious the ABG-Reagan bill does not want to change the old parasitic Bougainville Copper Agreement for it is profitable to them and this is where the landowners will not entertain that bill since the BCA did exploited and suppressed Bougainvilleans for the good of BCL and PNG thus leading into civil war and death of 20 thousand Bougainvilleans.

With the Kauona-Semple bill, Bougainville Resource Owners, the officer said it has few positive areas like 100 per cent right by resources owners to exploration license and so on. But this ‘100’ is not positive for Bougainville in other areas of the bill.

All Bougainvilleans suffered during the war and so in every resource development project the ABG must be the partner in ownership with the immediate resource owners. This is catered for in the ABG-Reagan bill but not in the Kauona-Semple bill.

Also, the Kauona-Semple bill exposes resource owners to reckless exploiters like Semple himself. They would not be immune since that law says it is their resource and it is they who decide.

Both bills are still contesting for acceptance in parliament with Bougainvilleans confused and watching.

The PMALA officer said that Bougainville must not entertain both bills but get the positive provisions out of each and built its own. The ABG must have priority set of guiding laws with the on-going negotiation to protect Bougainville with the influx of investors most of whom are parasitic.

Wednesday, 20 November 2013

A fighter’s call of responsibility

Leonard Fong Roka

He was one of the men who ambushed and killed 8 PNG soldiers in late 1992 outside Arawa; he was wounded in the former Kieta port area by the redskin enemies of Bougainville in mid-1993, and he recently acted as a Bougainville Revolutionary Army (BRA) sniper in the Bougainville movie, Mr. Pips.
Kevin Paibaku and his wife and children today live a calm life at his Bomena hamlet at Pidia village of Kieta, Central Bougainville taking up opportunities that reaches him with openness and a positive mind.

‘We all have suffered in the 10 year war for independence,’ he told me, ‘but our struggle is still going on. We have yet to reach the destiny we fought and died for and that is freedom from our own selfish leaders, the cruel PNG government and its people, and the Bougainville Copper Limited (BCL) and its friends that are still running around to exploit us again with old laws.’

He joined the BRA in 1990 angered by the reckless PNG army and their patrol boats that came and regularly shot at and threatened his villagers with their huge guns.

According to Michael J. Field’s 1998 historical timeline entitled, Chronology of Bougainville Civil War (online), the PNG government, after failing in 1990 to end the BRA rebellion in Panguna and withdrew, it had its National Intelligence Organization (NIO) to create a confidential plan to re-take Bougainville with Australian input in April of 1990. The plan had two strategies: (1) a total blockade and (2) deliberate setting of Bougainvilleans against each other on geographic/ethnic terms.

All these worked out on Bougainville and Paibaku know for sure that Bougainville was and is still trapped in this PNG and Australia set-up.  

In early 1992 when the reckless PNG army began intensifying their attacks on the coastal villages, the Pidia people began slowly moving their families into the inland areas of their hinterland. As they moved to safer refugee camps their village went up in flames on the dawn raids.

So it was now the responsibility of young people like Paibaku to patrol the Pidia Peninsula with guns. They had also the role to contain the PNG army camps at Kobuan and Kieta that regularly attempted ambushes on their narrow trails of entry into the Pidia peninsula.

It was these duties that one day got him engaged in a gun battle with the foe that had him wounded in 1993. His unit of BRA patrol was trying to block a PNG army team foot access into the Kieta port at the Premier Hill when they got engaged.

After facing a brutal guerilla fire power of the BRA on the Arawa-Kieta access road without any gain, the PNG army patrol broke up and sent a unit further into the ridge overlooking the Premier Hill in the cover of night.

Early the next morning Paibaku and his old team of mates from where they rested for night in the jungles of the Pidia peninsula came to have a look at the previous confrontation spot. There they discovered a section of the divided PNG army patrol scavenging and encircling a point on the road that they were positioned the previous day.

Paibaku and his men did not waste a moment but started shooting at them from the rear. In joy of the scene of panicking Australia trained PNG soldiers, a few forgetting their weapons, darting into the roadside slope into Kobuan, Paibaku and his team exposed themselves to the PNG army unit positioned on the ridge above them.

They were about to pick a few dropped and forgotten PNG government weapons on the road when the uproar of gunshots from above them got them in shock. Four of his friends got shot but they still manage to help each other and move away from the line of fire.

Paibaku was trying to get a good shot at the ridge positions of the PNG army and a stray bullet bounced off a metal frame he was hiding beside and reaped through his buttocks. He was a experienced BRA man thus the tiny sting he felt meant a bullet and reaped through him thus he ran down hill into the former Kieta township and made it for the Karakung villages without checking his back.

As he reached Karakung, he ran out of blood and collapsed as he met friends who immediately carried him further inland.

His wounded life threatening so soon after he was shouldered by locals from Karakung to Koromira area where the BRA boats transported him to Choiseul province; this is a journey the saw him undertaking a life saving medical operation in Honiara.

Soon after his treatment he returned to keep fighting. In his return he was braver to fight the invaders of Bougainville.

But with the peace process he had not a chance to fight the shameless PNG government that came to fight to re-take Panguna mine. But he thinks peace was a positive development for Bougainvilleans to be united and get rid of PNG that had destroyed Bougainville land and people for years.

‘Peace was good since our kids are now in school as our leaders are fighting the war on the table,’ Paibaku told me at his Pidia village. ‘But peace again has sadly created irresponsible and corrupt Bougainville leaders who had forgotten our struggles since the 1960s.

‘The BRA leaders are worst. They had forgotten what we fought for and now they are running after money. They have also forgotten us the soldiers who actually suffered to earn them the reputation they have as our leaders. They are recklessly running after money with threat to the civil society after ordering us to contain our weapons.’

His recent role in the movie, Mr Pips, as a BRA rifleman was a moment of pride to his life as a fighter for Bougainville freedom struggle.

‘The New Zealanders has helped us make our story be felt in the wider cinema world,’ he said, ‘where people will know at least we had suffered in the hands of redskins from PNG who did wanted only to rob us our rights and dignity.’

Saturday, 26 October 2013

The Arawa’s facelift is painful to a few

Leonard Fong Roka

After the devastating setback of the 10 year Bougainville crisis from 1988, the once booming provincial township of Arawa is getting back to the appreciative status in terms of its economic and social activities.
This month it had hosted Bougainville wide soccer tournament where soccer teams of both man and woman teams from across Bougainville came flocking in for some 9 days of games. It is fast becoming a center of Bougainville activities; or for travellers, a transit point. With banking services by the Bank of South Pacific (BSP) established, most central and south Bougainville people do business here. Business activities had increased and non-Bougainvillean population is rising and getting old Ambrose Taruko worried.

There are now a number of Asians and a handful of redskins (erereng) that Taruko really is not interested in for he and his family did suffer on their hands before 1990 where the Bougainville conflict kicked them out of Arawa to their relieve.

Of the nearly 55 residential areas of the former Arawa town, the areas known as Section 17 (host to former Arawa General Hospital), Arawa High, Section 19, Section 37 and Section 35, Taruko is known to be the majority traditional landowner.

In the post conflict Bougainville, such landowners like Taruko are respected by the government but before the conflict the Bougainville Copper Limited, the PNG government and the provincial government paid no heed to them.

Far worst, to Taruko, the erereng illegal visitors brought in by the BCL and the PNG government robbed them their life and it was the Bougainville crisis that rescued them from extinction so he has respect to the late Francis Ona and the young former combatants.

‘Me and my family were saved by the war,’ he said, ‘from losing all our land. The little we had after the PNG government and the BCL robbed everything, was being taken over day by day by the reckless spread of the slums by the erereng.’

He is more worried not of Asians but of the increasing erereng population.

‘The Asians,’ he said, ‘dwell in the urban areas and do their business activities that help us but these erereng they are like the flood that runs everywhere. This town had seen a number of them being killed recently but they are coming; they are shameless.

‘There is a couple who are renting a house in this section and selling their goods, mostly secondhand clothing in the Arawa market nearly every day. But our people are running after the Chinese well the real enemy that destroyed us is here; they are coming as teachers, missionaries, contractors and our students going outside to study in the  universities are bringing them here in marriage.

‘The good comfort one feels here and tells his villagers back home will bring the whole tribe into Bougainville. That is the trend me and my family suffered in the past.’

In the 1960s Taruko was a young man and watched the development of the Arawa town. It brought in many companies and all these contractors brought in the erereng to work and not Bougainvilleans, the owners of this island.

The few erereng then brought in their relatives or few married into the local population. In a few years, the township of Arawa was not a town on Bougainville but a town in some parts of PNG. To Taruko history is repeating itself.

He said with frustration, ‘When the BCL began to built the Section 35, the moved us further away; satisfied in number of years, they came for more area thus my family have to move further away. They did not respect us as humans.

‘Later they brought in the erereng illegal settlers. These people took over our gardening land with threat and intimidation. Every day they claim a land area, I went to draw a line that they should not cross. But the next morning they unrooted the sticks I buried and slashed them to pieces.

‘When I went to see their leader and settle the dispute, they terrorized me with knives or they went more reckless. They stole our cocoa and coconut plantation and raped our women. They also looted our gardens and fruit trees, too.’

Taruko and a few other landowners of Arawa are worried. The Bougainville government is not concerned about the welfare of the Bougainvilleans. It is not creating a conducive environment where Bougainvilleans can advance themselves without the infiltrating erereng people.

To them the Autonomous Bougainville Government (ABG) has gone off track from the very reasons why Bougainvilleans had gone to war and died. To them, the current kind of leaders must be changed for the betterment of Bougainville people.

Wednesday, 23 October 2013

Homeward Bound #Poetry

Leonard Fong Roka

 Rivers flood a brawl but they ease a peace

Somewhere where the road is matured a bloom in the sun

For not all seasons are rocks

That smiles away the rage of the winds.

Thus I am not a boulder to sit idle in the strangeness of Madang

To be robbed by street thugs that civilization

Had forgotten…

I am not an insane to be intimidated by a Madang man

That say he cares for me as if I got no Bougainville to call home

That is mine since I paid for it with pain and loss

Under the PNG blockade of exploitation and cruelty

I am going home…I am going home…

To my freedom land Bougainville

The island in the Solomon we died for so that the world

Know it was our island...

Our island in the Solomon

I am going home; home sweet home

Bougainville, with my heart in peace

And my hands on the flag of my Bougainville

And this light knapsack

For my Bougainville…

A wind of joy to see Bougainville

Leonard Fong Roka

Away from home for almost 9 months in the Madang Province of Papua New Guinea has being too much pain of home sickness for Timothy Poroda, a 21 year old student from Malasang village on the Buka Island of Bougainville.
Mr. Poroda completed his secondary school at Hutjena Secondary School in 2012 and currently is a first year student in the Department of PNG Studies and International Relations at the Divine Word University on a degree programme that goes on for 4 years. This means Poroda will be flying in and out of his Bougainville for almost four years till 2016.

Timothy said he really enjoyed the year making new friends in the school. ‘Divine Word University is a small university thus everyone nearly knows who is who here,’ he told me. ‘I know most students here like every boy-girl relationships here is a public knowledge; nobody hides.’

He said he enjoyed the year from the start but in the middle of the year he began to turn lazy at school work. ‘That is the trend,’ he laughed, ‘we are humans and tasks like studying for example makes us weak and turn lazy. But we need to work on for that is why parents exhaust themselves sending us here.

‘We got no choice, when the Bougainville government cannot build us a university, we will forever run to universities and colleges in PNG to be educated.’

The student body of Divine Word University sat for their examination since last week and this was the last week of the two weeks. Most were looking forward to going home next week but the university surprised them over the week end that they were now going home.

Timothy was roaming all over the dormitory area with the Bougainville flag attached to a stick.

He packed his belongings and traded the rest for other goodies to bring back to Bougainville.

Early yesterday at 6:30 AM Timothy Poroda and other Bougainvillean students left Madang transited at the Port Moresby’s Jackson Airport and arrived in Bougainville’s Buka airport at 10 o’clock.

Monday, 14 October 2013

Bougainville Manifesto 9: Ona-Kabui Power play

Leonard Fong Roka

The late Francis Ona’s will to reign over Bougainville met disaster early in 1990; and the BRA strategist, Sam Kauona’s smell of Bougainville’s political jeopardy, was too late to rescue the then 100 000-plus people of Bougainville with the Panguna brothers, the late Joseph Kabui and Martin Miriori, included.
But in this chaos, two figures stood out over Bougainville and outside of the island as the key leaders of the Bougainville rebellion. But each leader’s introduction into the crisis and the overall responsibility and view of the conflict were not that harmonious between the two Bougainville crisis-time leaders. This did greatly affect the Bougainville people.

Each leader saw different events unfolding around their personal lives as Samuel Kauona of the BRA and Leo Nuia of the PNG government signed the ceasefire (Niugini Nius, 1 March 1990, pg 1) that is worth an analysis to glean where and why the whole political struggle and division should have had originated from.

The now late Joseph Kabui got into the wheelhouse of the provincial government in 1987. He may have not seen a milestone of his leadership when the year 1988 brought challenges with militancy against the Panguna mine and the PNG government apart from the arrival of the MV Sankamap, a coastal passenger trawler that was to serve the Bougainville Atolls and Torokina.

From late 1988 his office was flooded with letters or proposals from Bougainvilleans and non-Bougainvillean ordinary people and leaders and national government leaders seeking help, compensation on personal properties and harm or ways to address the conflict situation on Bougainville. With these responsibilities for decision making weighing on him, he took his first brutal bashing up from the PNG police on the very first day of July 1989 whilst returning from a church service in Arawa (Niugini Nius, 2 July 1989). But he staggered on.

Furthermore, with the reaching of the ceasefire on 30 January 1990, saw a stream of compensation claims for damages and so on to the premier’s office by the 4000 Bougainvilleans who were now returning home from the care centers where they were ordered to by the PNG government.

But the PNG’s NEC suspension of the North Solomons provincial government on the 29 August 1990 might have relieved Kabui, but angered by the PNG’s Australia supported total blockade that was known about in May 1990.

In the weeks leading to Sam Kauona’s invitation, Kabui and his elder brother, Martin Miriori were subjected to a number of BRA harassment and looting resulting to a formation of a BRA contingent from his home, Tumpusiong Valley, to protect him.

On the other side, Kabui’s counterpart, Francis Ona, was a hero. He deserved no flood of claims to his Guava village. People saw him to have had a divine right to liberation and rule of Bougainville.

After the 17 May 1990 UDI, Kabui was in action as the vice president of the BIG (Bougainville Interim Government). The BIG soon established its Honiara office with Martin Miriori heading it. At home, the BIG was equipped with the Radio Free Bougainville that was donated and set with some Australian sympathizers to spill its political discourse.

Without the presence of the BRA supreme commander and BIG president, Francis Ona, Joseph Kabui attempted to establish order on Bougainville. There was a police establishment; a military academy, known as the Erama Barracks, where young men were trained by Bougainvillean former PNGDF soldiers.

But all these developments were happening without Ona and with other popularly BRA greats like Ishmael Toroama, Glen Tovirika, and Chris Uma and so on had already created their private little armies executing their own rules in the name of Francis Ona.

According to the Australian government appendix D article, Outline History of the Bougainville Conflict (n.d.), in July to August 1990, Joseph Kabui led BIG to sign the Endeavour Accord with PNG to restore services on Bougainville; in 1991 January, Kabui led BIG to signing the Honiara Accord, again on PNG to allow services into Bougainville. And in August 1991, he led BIG to the hearing of UN Committee on Rights of Minorities and Indigenous Peoples’ Rights in Geneva, accusing the PNG of atrocities.   

In his return, he did an all-Bougainville speech tour; they did the much of Central and South Bougainville where he was being attacked by people for not being capable of delivering services. The North was not toured since the invading PNG army was there in most areas.

All these BIG achievements was without Ona who always maintained that such was the roles of the vice president and often accused Kabui of trying to betray Bougainville; often leading to heated debates in the 2-way radio networks the BRA/BIG had.

As the vice president led, the PNGDF also snailed closer to the heartland of Bougainville politics, Kieta and the civil war began nastier and nastier whilst Ona kept silent. He never came public on the Radio Free Bougainville; the little secessions he made were all have to be recorded in his Guava village and brought to where the broadcasters were stationed. 

In October 1992, when the PNG army landed on Tunuru and the Morgan Junction, Kabui had a two-front political war to wage; he was attracted more to ‘peaceful means to address the conflict’ because there was disorder in the BIG/BRA and there was also the problem of getting the founding master of the conflict, Francis Ona, to get out to the midst of the people and lead.

Kabui travelled from village to village in central Bougainville encouraging people to stand firm in the moment of PNG attacks and fear. In all these tours he had to call in at Guava to brief the ‘boulder’ that never moved where often his entourage when hungry because of no proper care was given (personal experience in 1992).

Thus Kabui was lured by engaging in peace with the Australia-backed PNG government. This led to the Honiara Talks between Sir Julius Chan and Sam Kauona in September 1994 where an agreement on ceasefire was reached and pavement for further talks set later leading to the formation of the Bougainville Transitional Government (BTG) in April 1995. All these of course in slight isolation of Francis Ona.

The moment of shock for Francis Ona came in September 1995 when the BRA/BIG and the BTG met in Cairns, Australia. He began to set his teams on speech tours throughout BRA controlled areas of Bougainville especially inside Central Bougainville.

He even began to engage in his own international deals and also began paying visits to communities outside of his Guava village. In one of these tours he visited Oune village, where he attacked the peace lovers with Kabui as ‘betrayers’ of Bougainville.

His men led by his commander, Moses Pipiro, also terrorize people from the Panguna area who were going seek vital services like health and education; or get a share of the Red Cross supplied basic household goods in Arawa.

Following this political nightmare, where his vice president and most of his best BRA commanders had isolated him, he formed his Meekamui Government and Meekamui Defence Force. He was also got himself a radio station then known as, Radio Meekamui that aired from Guava.

After the successful BRA defeat of the PNG’s military operation to neutralize Central Bougainville of the BRA, Operation High Speed, the BIG/BRA established their base just next to the former Aropa International Airport in a place known as Kangsinari in 1997. The spot was easier for negotiations with PNG controlled areas like Arawa and travels across to the Solomon Islands in the peak of negotiations and peace talks.

With Francis Ona’s anti-peace campaigns gaining momentum in Kieta, and leaders like BIG leader, Premier Theodore Miriung and peace negotiator, Thomas Batakai, being murdered by the PNG government,  the BRA/BIG called for a meeting with the Meekamui to reach a common ground for a better Bougainville.

The talk was held but, like in 1988 or 89, Francis Ona, was not that satisfied and walked off. Thus the break-up of the Bougainville leaders into Meekamui and Bougainville People’s Congress that was pro-peace, is so often locally referred to as the Kangsinari Coup that happened in around 1997.

Francis Ona protested influencing the likes of Chris Uma and Moses Pipiro to his side and strengthened his Meekamui Government and Joseph Kabui went his way with his sheep behind him pursuing his peace efforts on Bougainville.

Saturday, 12 October 2013

Combatant: We need to steer ABG the Bougainville Way

Leonard Fong Roka

On the shimmering streets of Arawa, jubilating were a bunch of former BRA fighters last Saturday (12 October), reading Wednesday (9 October 2013) Post Courier article entitled, Asians warned to leave (pg 23) in the Bougainville Today section.
So joyous was Francis Duaung (pictured) who is known as the only wounded fighter in the early 1990 dawn raid on the former Kuviria Detention Center 30 kilometers north of Arawa that saw the killing of six non-Bougainvillean warders and their family members in January 1990. Duaung was shot in the head in action and survived in Honiara, Solomon Islands, after a medical operation to remove shotgun pellets stuck in his skul.

In the Post Courier story, the Bougainville Veterans Association, that is an umbrella body made up of ex-combatants from North, Central and South Bougainville who have fought in the Bougainville ten-year civil war, called on the Asians operating business singly or in partnership with locals to pack up and leave from Bougainville.

The story said, ‘The foreigners, especially Chinese nationals, were involved in retail, wholesale, and fast food, which local businessmen were in. The association said this posed a threat to the peace process because locals tended to take sides—some with foreigners while others opposed foreigners. This has brought instability to some parts of the region, especially in Central Bougainville.’

The veterans like Duaung are now joining hands with local businessmen of Bougainville claiming that the Autonomous Bougainville Government (ABG) since taking office had let Asians and other foreign business to rob Bougainvilleans and give back nothing just like what the Bougainville Copper Limited (BCL) did.

In the paper the association is said to pressure the ABG, in its October 15 deliberation, that it must look at and pass the following as reserved business activities for Bougainvilleans. As listed, businesses that the ABG must protect for Bougainvilleans are:

·         Retail trading, including trade stores, canteens and takeaway food bars or eateries;

·         Supermarkets, liquor supply and import including brewery and distillation of liquor;

·         Guest houses and hotels up to three star status;

·         Wholesaling and merchandizing in any white goods, consumables and building hardware materials;

·         Fuel supplies and fuel stations, including import of oil products

·         Alluvial mining and gold trading,

·         Commodity exports of cocoa and copra primary and secondary products;

·         Cocoa and coconut plantations and other cash crop development;

·         Dealings in handicrafts and artifacts including the export of such items;

·         Timber production and exports;

·         PMV and freight transport including trucking and earth moving

·         Marine products extraction and exports;

·         Fisheries and fish exports;

·         Tourism and tour operators;

·         Any manufacturing, including cottage industries with cash capital value of K100 million or less is also prohibited and exclusively reserved for Bougainvilleans; and

·         Partnership and joint ventures in any of the above activities is prohibited.

The fighters have called on the ABG not to issue any trading license to Asians and other foreigners in any of the said activities and also said that all Asian and foreign businesses must shutdown and moved out of Bougainville.

According to Duaung, the main concern is that the ABG is really not protective of Bougainville. ‘The ABG knows we fought and died,’ He told me, ‘but it is not interested into upholding the reason our 15 000 people died for. We died for independence and that means we must be self-reliant and not be like PNG that these Asians now control; and this drive aims to protect Bougainvilleans to teach themselves how to do business and be self-reliant to built our country.’

To the many people like Duaung, the ABG is selling Bougainville away to the dogs by fearing the few foolish people on Bougainville as threats and not recognizing the strength it has with the majority of us it has behind it. Political creativity is a lack in the ABG that could make the government maneuver through loopholes using the threats as opportunities for Bougainville.

Now that the warring combatants of Bougainville, Ishmael Toroama, Chris Uma, and so on had reconciled recently, veterans say the ABG is now safe.

And according to the Panguna man Francis Duaung, the veterans have more plans to save Bougainville: ‘We have presented these demands to our government. Once done, we will then remove the Asian and other foreign parasites from Bougainville; the next lot to pack and leave are the redskins that are coming searching for jobs shamelessly as if they had compensated us for killing us on our island and blockading us for ten years as if we were destroying some parts of their country.’

Francis Duaung lost his blood brother and three other cousins to PNGDF bullets and says he is not satisfied with how Bougainville has being driven by the ABG and PNG.

Friday, 11 October 2013

My Country Solomon #Poetry

Leonard Fong Roka

The PNG constitution tells Bougainvilleans they are not Solomon Islanders. 24/7, a Bougainvillean is told to accept himself a citizen of PNG; he is told not to be racist or undemocratic, the very acts that would unfold the reality of PNG indoctrination of Bougainvilleans.

But stand a Bougainvillean and a PNG man together and ask ‘Does their skin color look the same?’ Do New Guineans dance the kovi and sing the siriroi so common across Bougainville and the Solomons? Stand on the Lontis Point of Buka Island and look out to the sea; do you see any PNG islands? Stand at Deuro Ridge and look beyond the plains of Olava, what do you see? A mat of a hundred islands of the Choiseul Province and Western Province kissing with the south Bougainville coast!

This is the real Bougainville!


One day sitting lowly on Deuro road

I watched the calm sea before me

Smeared by a hundred dots of pure green

Those pure green islands where my progenitors

Departed from to conquer my Bougainville from the gods

Those islands were my ancestors’ roots and inspiration for ages

To cut this cruel sea before me to colonize my Bougainville

But now colonization prevents me to love you dearly

I know my skin color and songs but the aliens say

My eyes and grandpa had tricked me long

Long by feeding me charcoal to hide

My true colors and songs

But why these islands

Kissing my Bougainville always?


Kavarong: In Search of my bed #Poetry

Leonard Fong Roka

In the 1960s when BCL landed on Bougainville, the Kavarong River sucked all the dirt created upstream in Panguna. In million tons per day it went down the river altering it old beauty and bed. After the Bougainville conflict that shut the mine, the river is now eroding its siltation in search of its original river bed as we watch. In doing so, however, the Kavarong is changing the Banoni coastline from Matupina to the Koiare area.

Sand and dirt of the white-man I sucked 24/7

To fill the belly of the red-man from PNG and not my Solomons

I could be proud if it were the Malaitans

That traded me duku for my daughters

And dig my gems for the grooms in San Cristobal.

But my sons fought the looters of PNG and saved me

From the aliens that raped my virginity to a village spittle

Thus I am recuperating from agony of my lover’s rejection

Day by day I am weeping in search of my bed with my children

The sun pities me as I rummage the gravel lawns of mystery

The rain cries in mercy and my children help me

To search for my bed

Where I could rest forever and bless my people

Who have suffered and died for me

But we are digging and digging

Shipping the affluent to Marau that is crying

But I tell her not to cry; I will free myself and help her out; so

Days and nights, we are digging history

Discovering new worlds that suffered

From the raping by aliens

We are digging

In search of my bed.

Combatants and Politicians are Liars and Cheats #Poetry

Leonard Fong Roka

In 1988, the BRA stood to fight for Bougainville freedom; but then divided Bougainvilleans, so Bougainvilleans fought each other for the good future of Bougainvilleans on both side of the conflict. When peace dawned, the combatants forgot the cause of their recent past and run after money! They want to be paid for their efforts during the war. Why did they con us, Bougainvilleans? We watch as they disturb the peace and social, economic and political recovery of our Solomon Island of Bougainville.
They—Bougainville Revolutionary Army and Bougainville Resistant Forces and politicians—are liars and cheats!


Bougainvillean combatants and politicians

You go reckless after the government for money; money

For the days you fought each other,

Yet you said you were fighting for the freedom of all Bougainvilleans.

You go insane corrupt neglecting the promises you gave

The Solomon people of Bougainville; what does the San Cristobal

Fellow say to you? He calls you

A liar and a cheat to his brothers and sisters of Bougainville!


Bougainvillean combatants and politicians

You make Bougainville sick in shame;

You deny our land the freedom it deserves after ages of adversity

In the days you fought each other, you said

You fought to liberate Bougainville from suppression and exploitation but

Now you are the suppressor of Bougainville and the rest of Solomon.

You are the robber, looter…you are the corruption

You are the warlords of disharmony and violence; a

Liar and a cheat to the Bougainvilleans!


Shame, shame, shame…Shame on you!

One Way to Peace and Prosperity in Papua New Guinea

Leonard Fong Roka

When the sun rises in the east, every citizen is thinking about what the day has in store for him or her. And what do you think the day has for him or her PNG? Every day life is a search and clash for all citizens in PNG.
Across the land and seas of this beautiful country, there is the scurrying, rollicking and blustering wind of inequity and inequality that is widening the social, economic and political gap amongst the populace in every village. So, all in the house of piercing commotion of the periphery, look to the seats of political setups in desolated portions of the country’s core as the sole sources of livelihood.

Thus every man, woman and child rummage the country looking for green pastures leaving their backyards to dereliction. In their new land they become the dirt and cruelty to the indigenous fellow citizens there; they are the injustice and exploitation, in the name of that freedom granted upon them by the strange Eurocentric state belief Melanesians were not with, before colonization.

That canoe, PNG, has paddled idly and ignorantly through the tempestuous sea of globalism too far; the shore is far, and the horizon is far. Thus, let her reach out to both sides of her journey to help her keep afloat and move with the current below that is heading away from the shores.

Since time immemorial in PNG there were independent tribes, clans and family networks. These establishments were sovereign; they had territorial integrity, they had laws, they pursued trade and diplomatic relations. There was order and those orders were sacred to the man and beneficial to the land. Thus harmony and survival were sustained within the territory.

The key for survival was respect and enrichment of inter-clan or tribal relationships.

But the tide of modernization has disrupted the epistemological world of PNG. The barter system of trade is no more; a marriage for peace is no more; a feast for land dispute settlements is no more; a pig as a token of appreciation is no more; grandpa-children storytelling is no more, since all now needs money to give service to a fellow PNGeans.

As a state PNG was founded on sand and without a clearly defined political roadmap; most state strategies are created from foreign advice or guidelines that does not reflect any PNG relevance or reality. Therefore, in PNG every new government equals new policies that kill the former into oblivion and finally, fate.   

In doing so, the state creates its own enemies; the very people that mandate it to power turn against it with dissatisfaction, then they run back to the old Melanesian institutions as boundaries to disrupt modernization and cause injustice on their own people and country.

Citizens harming citizens and country in PNG clearly show the broader confusion of people who are surprised by the clash of their not-lost Melanesian imprints and the Eurocentric modernization with its enforced ideologies and institutions.

PNG is country that cheats itself with all the imported ideologies of politics, economics and society despite the fact that such institutional norms clash with Melanesian realities. But the elite PNG minority benefit thus PNG had to be tethered for them. 

Intellectually PNG was not prepared to be a country in the Eurocentric world order; and its celebrated founders, were Melanesians engulfed by the sweetness of turning PNG into a state in the western world concepts. Thus they were blinded to see the massive tasks of dragging with them tribes of conflicting dreams in that canoe they built in 1975.

In so far, development in PNG has become the exploitation of PNG by its own arrogant and selfish elite! Massive foreign own investment energize corruption; and the social, political and economic breakdown for the majority of the citizens whilst the few elites bag the wealth of the country from their urban safe havens.

This leads to the citizens seeing peaceful and harmonious life in the struggling urban communities of PNG and with their Melanesian ways; they are sucked into the cities and towns, causing more harm to the ecology of societies and the state system.

A peaceful PNG shall be reached with the calm and open amalgamation of the Melanesian Way and the introduced Eurocentric norms that a now part of the global system. Both realms must be engaged for a mutually acceptable and respectful manner for the betterment of PNG to run parallel to globalization.

In the pre-contact Melanesian world, territorial integrity was the fundamental norm; no one came into a territory (land, river or sea) without any advance notice. For example, for land use for garden purposes, the intending user gave notice to the owner and uses the land temporarily.

After usage, like garden harvesting, a gesture of thanks like a bundle of a first ripe banana and some meat then was given to the landowner first, and then the user continues harvesting for self. This was respect within the society and people.

But in modern PNG, the few elite law makers laugh the old ways as barbaric! But in reality, there is good for the modern PNG canoe.

PNG today, need to revisit all provinces and re-draw all colonial boundaries. This time it has to isolate every single tribe or clan networks and their territory under the dictates of all myths and oral histories in existence; then search for the related neighbor (s) and group these into districts (if too small) or provinces.

Waigani should be the umbrella government keeping the states overseeing mostly international obligations and defense of the PNG canoe.

This done, the next move is to class all related provinces into federal state governments with the highest forms of autonomy endowed with controlled freedom of movement and all other powers and functions. That is all these states must have in place strong vagrancy laws right from the provincial level of government.

Today, the PNG canoe needs a little pain to create long term happiness for the country.

And for the PNG canoe, the states are all obvious. They are the Papua, Highlands, Momase and Islands. However, the present need some re-structuring since there are loopholes, example, the Siasi islanders are culturally more aligned to West New Britain then Morobe thus they had to be returned.

With this the old Melanesian rule of territorial integrity is back and people are safe within and respected from outside because the state government is bold with the autonomous powers and functions.

 After this, the next step is to adopt the most realistic models of Eurocentric development for each state according to the needs of the people within and not the entire PNG canoe.

As seen from a Google PDF article entitled, Six Development Models, the Human Capital Theory that states that ‘improving human capital (education, health, fertility rates) is necessary pre-requisites for economic growth’ in collaboration with the Welfare Concept of Development that says that ‘true development does not consist in increasing the amount of consumer goods but to provide for everyone’s needs for good health care and education and protection from crime’ is the best approach and strategy for all states of PNG.

And these two models are the bases for sustainable development where there is harmony between the man and the resources for the long term benefit of all present and future generations of citizens.   

This is tangible with the little income PNG is and will be generating in/with the mining and petroleum and gas boom currently underway; supplemented by cash crops from the local citizens and nationalization of all firms buying cash crops that rob farmers.

Such a step increases local incomes for villages and increases their buying power thus leading them to progressive drive for positive change. This individual change spreads from the tribe to the province then onto the state.

In doing so, we uphold the old Melanesian concept of utilizing whatever resources available to us for our survival. And when there is a lack in the district, we forge trade relations with the next district; if there is still scarcity, the province come into action by trading with another province within the state; and if one state cannot, then we go to another  state.

This strengthens the domestic economy of the PNG canoe that has long being lied to and robbed by the parasitic concept of ‘no man is an island’ that is suitable for the First World and a few stable countries who have healthy and sound foundations for their countries.

Here PNG’s four states should meet all the needs and wants of their citizens. If they grow peanuts let them process tinned peanuts; if they have cocoa, let them produce cocoa powder for the PNG Highlands state; if they grow coffee let them manufacture coffee for the island, Papua or Momase states.

Where one resource, example timber, is equally distributed across PNG, let the central government distribute product items that a state must work on so that the flow of the domestic market and trade is not disrupted. Having in mind the need for export earnings as well where surplus is attained in production.

Waigani should always be proactive in managing the four states for it is the strength of the four states that strengthens it politically, socially and economically.

All states should have own education systems, too, to create citizens that know the strengths, weakness, opportunities and threats of their respective states. Each state must have own tertiary institutions with laws that have its citizens to graduate and serve his or her own district or province for a period of time then decide seek employment in another province, state or overseas.

Citizens need to know their states well so as to be good decision makers in their respective state governments and society. Such could have each state knowing which state to look to when need arises before looking overseas.  

With such we hold the will to defend our own territories or states as our progenitors did for their territories in the dream times.

In summary the re-creation of the PNG canoe with a safe and empowered tribal and clan systems; we hope for a stable provincial governments that bind together to form powerful federal state systems for a harmonious and peaceful PNG where equity and equality should rule.

 All four PNG states ought to be autonomous in their social, economic and political decision making for the good of their citizens; this creates free and satisfied PNG citizens who care for each other, their province, their state and their PNG at large.