Porgera needs highest level of Government intervention, woman leader says

By: PNG Business News May 10, 2023

Photo: Mrs Iarume with RJI Manager Pat Niuni at the Aumbi lodge.

In a district, so fragmented by lawlessness and an absence of government service and community leadership, few individual leaders in Porgera who have been on the ground trying to maintain hope for the people are now feeling that glimmer of hope begin to diminish as community and local stakeholder efforts continue to fall over toward resolving the Nomali and Aiyala conflict.

Local female leader, business woman and President of the Porgera Women In Business (WiB), Elizabeth Iarume has called for a higher level of government intervention and leadership to resolve the ongoing tribal conflict in Porgera.

Mrs Iarume expressed this week that if there was ever a time Porgera needed real leadership, it was now.

“The fighting has escalated and guns rule by day and night here in Porgera. Innocent lives taken, communities displaced and homes and properties in the thousands destroyed, for how long?

She said despite community and stakeholder efforts such as those of the local law enforcement, churches, Restoring Justice Initiative (RJI), Voluntary Crisis Management Committee, external security deployment and others to stop the fighting and establish peace, the lawlessness continues to escalate.

“We need a higher level of leadership to come in and take control of the situation. We need the State, the Provincial Government to also come in and participate. If we want to stop this, we have to look at the root cause and everybody should be involved. The State, Provincial Government, landowners, PJV, etc.  How do we all fix this? We cannot work in isolation and try to do this by ourselves.

“We can go on fighting over the shares and benefits of the New Porgera mine  but all of these will come later or not at all if we don’t fix and stabilise law and order in this Valley,” Mrs Iarume expressed.

Similar concerns were raised by the Porgera Urban Town Councilor Peter Mark Malipu who lost his son in the tribal conflict at Paiam last year.

Cr. Malipu said the District Administration must function and be present on the ground to provide the link between the community and the upper levels of government.

“We have a leadership crisis on the ground. Instead of uniting for a common cause to fight the lawlessness, leaders are instead infighting and where does that leave the people?

“The district leadership needs to be present. It needs to monitor and report on the situation on the ground to government for us to get real help,’’ Councillor Malipu said.

Both Mrs Iarume and Councillor Malipu have acknowledged the ongoing efforts of the RJI in facilitating and providing support toward the peace and restoration efforts in the valley and for providing a sense of hope for the communities in the absence of local leadership and the rule of law.

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