THIS IS A CLASSIC: I KNOW THE CROCODILE PRIZE AWARD ENTRIES ARE CLOSED – BUT KEITH YOU GOTTA CONSIDER THIS. THIS IS MY BLOG POST OF THE YEAR. COMRADE NOU I BOUGHT YOU BIG ROOSTER ALREADY SO NO SPECIAL AWARD FROM ME LOL _MN
I read with interest “Motu Koitabu people staring down barrel of a gun” by my very good friend Oala Moi. Excellently written but I had some certain reservations about how the story left me feeling.
In 2007 my clan campaigned for Powes Parkop for NCD Regional in the General Elections. In 2008 my clan campaigned for Miria Ikupu for the Motu-Koitabu Assembly Elections. Both Powes and Miria have failed us. As I write this I risk being quarrelled at in the village by Miria supporters. Well, quarrel all they want but let me say as an educated Motu-Koitabuan living in the heart of the village of Elevala-Hanuabada (not the classy high covenant houses in the mountains but in the environmental disaster zone) that both Powes Parkop and Miria Ikupu made many promises to the Motu-Koitabu constituents, and by and large both Miria and Parkop have failed us.
The view from my house
When talking about politics in Motu-Koitabu we must be weary of creating heroes out of people who have failed the Motu-Koitabu people. I’ll save this rationale for the last part of this piece.
But there is a danger that the truth about Motu-Koitabu, in this age of information, will be forgotten by grand delusions, and grander still generalisations. You have to be in the village, be in the heat of the buai stall nohobou, to understand where I’m coming from. Miria Ikupu promised change for Motu-Koitabu in 2008 in his successful effort to be elected Chairman of the newly legislated Motu-Koitabu Assembly. I remember that powerful rally, where at the end we all sang Eda Tano, and my heart grew heavy with pride; that this was the time Motu-Koitabu would rise. We sang the opening line “Papua oi natumu a haodia…” and I could feel tears in my eyes. It was a plea for the people of Papua to awake and arise. Miria Ikupu, we thought, surely Miria Ikupu was the man who would lead the emancipation of Motu-Koitabu.
By 2011 ordinary Motu-Koitabuans had grown sick of what they saw as the arrogance of a motuan elite, calling the shots as they pleased, to the disdain of Motu-Koitabuans everywhere.
I accept Miria Ikupu’s reasons for running for Moresby North-West. There have been legal arguments made for and against. I did some research and concluded that it was a case of uncertainty against uncertainty, and at the end, it was the gray areas, much to the delight of the legal professionals that were paid handsome sums with the People’s money for their opinions, that skewers the legal arguments in favour of Miria Ikupu. Right now the man is on leave of absence from a statutorily enacted sub-legislative and executive body; a quasi local-level Government. He is on leave from an Office he was elected to represent for 5 years, and he is trying to run for another elected Office.
Hanuabada today. The dubu and the carton
We understand from chatter with members of the Motu-Koitabu Assembly that he will resign the Chairmanship as soon as he wins the Moresby North-West seat. If he loses it will be business as usual at MKA for the Chairman. But insofar as MKA’s relationship with the people in the villages goes, it isn’t business as usual. The villagers are being given contracts to clean the villages. MKA middlemen are on the ground urging people to take care of Motu-Koitabu and remember Motu-Koitabu and that it is important to believe in the Motu-Koitabu dream in Parliament. Turn the clocks back 2 months ago, you wouldn’t see these middlemen preaching the Motu-Koitabu gospel with packets of “contract-payouts” to spare.
I will not support Miria Ikupu just because he is a Motu-Koitabuan; indeed from history I have learnt that someone’s being Motu-Koitabuan doesn’t miraculously make him a defender of the Motu-Koitabu people; in fact what I have mostly seen as a motuan villager is Motu-Koitabuan elites screw their own people over. A riddle from Abisiri Clan where I live: What’s worse than having your land stolen by a Highlander or an Asian or a corporation? The answer: Having your land stolen by another Motu-Koitabuan.
Governor Parkop is no different. He came in through the carnivale that was Governor Wari Vele’s campaign in 2007, and came across as someone sincere and ready to fight for our land rights and to open up business interests. He wasn’t asking us to be the Lakatoi Captain which was Vele’s main plea; he was telling us to think of our little brothers and sisters and our Children. And we did – we ate the cake and the elaborately prepared beef stroganoff from Wari Vele’s 2007 campaign, but we voted for this human rights lawyer who came and campaigned in beat up tip trucks and spoke to the heart of the matter. Since then, we haven’t seen the agenda that he said he would pursue for us be pursued on the floor of Parliament. We saw a giant Turtle at Koki, and we saw a recreational Park where Lakani Toi prepared to give up his life to protect the first London Missionary Society missionairies from Motuan spears and curses.
We haven’t seen a safe future.