Autonomous Bougainville Government (ABG) President Ishmael Toroama says this general election will be the final election that Bougainville will take part in.
He said Bougainville was preparing for the final political settlement (not before 2025 and no later than 2027) in its quest for political independence.
“This election is very crucial to the future of Bougainville and who we elect as our representatives in the National Parliament will determine our future based on their loyalty to Bougainville and commitment to serving our wish for independence that was expressed in the 2019 Bougainville Referendum,” he said.
“I urge every Bougainvillean to look beyond the campaign promises of monetary gain and delusions of grandeur that is evident during any election.
“We must vote for a person who will represent Bougainville to be the voice of the ABG and the people in the 11th Parliament of Papua New Guinea.
“I urge you all to vote for a leader who will not compromise our political resolve for Bougainville; a leader who is not afraid to stand within the halls of the National Parliament and fight for Bougainville’s independence as a sovereign nation.
“We need leaders who will not succumb to the pressures of party politics and comprise Bougainville’s independence aspirations.
“We need leaders who can proudly say the word ‘Independence’ without looking over their shoulders.
“We must honour the Bougainville Peace Agreement and the memory of the 20,000 lives lost during the Bougainville Civil War by electing leaders who will work with the ABG and truly represent the felt needs and aspirations of our people.
“I must also remind our people to maintain civility during the election period and to respect the electoral process.”
Meanwhile, Prime Minister James Marape has called on the people of Bougainville to have the 97.7 per cent referendum result for independence in mind and cast their votes with purpose.
Marape, who is also the Pangu Pati leader, said the two Pangu men and incumbents Peter Tsiamalili Jnr (Bougainville regional member) and Timothy Masiu (South Bougainville MP) were the bridge between him and Bougainville that must not be cut.
He said this when launching the Pangu Pati’s campaign in Bougainville last Thursday.
He visited Buin, which is the place of Pangu Pati’s first leader Sir Paul Lapun in 1967, before the official launch in Buka.
He said Tsiamalili and Masiu had stood firm and spoken about the independence of Bougainville in Parliament and Cabinet respectively hence they were needed in the cockpit with him (Marape) to steer the Bougainville agenda forward.
“The next five years is very critical to defining the destination of Bougainville,” he said.
“The talk and wish for independence for Bougainville shown through the ballot is clear and cannot be removed by Prime Minister or MP,” he said.
SOURCE: THE NATIONAL/PACNEWS