Ioro people fed up with contentious mining debate on Bougainville


Source: Bougainville Special Correspondent via PNG Minewatch

The Ioro constituency covers the entire Panguna area and has its administrative borders at Kieta, Bana and Torokina. On a recent occasion a few weeks ago, chiefs, clan leaders, and other respected leaders and public servants in Ioro convened in a rare event to look at potential leaders who will represent them.

With the ABG elections just around the corner, the people of Ioro do not want to go to the ballot, instead they want to declare one leader who they feel can truly and fairly represent them. The intention of the meeting was simple, the mining issue, the burning issue that the people of Ioro are fed up with, the tug of war between the minority pro miners and the majority who have had enough of talking about it.

At the end of the meeting the chiefs all agreed to endorse one candidate for Ioro, surprisingly most of the other potential candidates decided to stand down and allow one contender for the seat. The chiefs and clan leaders are also appealing to other intending candidates in Ioro to stand down and allow one capable person to take up the task of representing them.

The populace now is eyeing a leader who is Baka’oboring. Someone who has brought himself to holistic self-reliance and at the same time knows the issue of Panguna inside out. The person people of Panguna want has to fight independently for his people and the independence of Bougainville.

Mr. Martin Miriori the man who was in the thick of bringing Bougainville crisis to the global village’s attention, is the person who the people of Panguna are eyeing. Community and clans’ leaders called the meeting to affirm their support for him. This rare occasion was witnessed by almost all chiefs within Panguna

“Niike tasipampiri otong da Francis Ona e makirung waitari bikano bera taungbesi memurinang. ABGke tasipuiotong. Da otoaungdei Peace anauko otoarupeu’. (We know well that Late Francis Ona had tasked you with finding means for peace at the international level as you were one of the few educated leaders at the time. ABG also knows the role you have played defending the Bougainville fighters by bargaining for parole. If it was not for Miriori we would not enjoy this peace today)”

The Ioro constituency is the heart of the Bougainville crisis; it will now use this ploy to decide their new member. The village chiefs have come together to call all the population in the constituency to declare one leader into the seat in order to put an end to the debate on the mining issue which has caused much contention.

Even the public servants confessed during the meeting that blame for the instability in Bougainville has been blamed on the people of Panguna. Thus, they have stated that Ioro people are ready to take on the fight with a credible representative and carry on with the fight for independence.