By JAMES GUMUNO
JIWAKA businessman Jim Kuk is happy to carry an extra load on his shoulder – for his people’s welfare.
He is the new council president for the Kudjip local level government in the South Waghi district of Jiwaka. Jim, from the Mamulka ward, defeated two candidates in a secret ballot for council president last Friday at the Kurumul provincial headquarters. He polled 10 votes to Cr Peter Wiwa’s eight and Cr Jeff Mur’s three.
Jim, 38, is married with four children. He attended the Papen Community School in the Anglimp-South Waghi district from Grade One to Grade Three. He moved on to the Kindeng Community School to do Grade Four, Five and Six.
He reached Grade Eight at the Kombolopa Secondary School in the Mul-Baiyer district of Western Highlands in 1993 but could not continue onto Grade Nine because of tribal fights in the area.
In 1994, he got bored doing nothing in his village and went to Mount Hagen to work with a company. He worked there for nine years before returning to his village to start a trade store.
He later formed a company called Paks Supplies in 2014 selling fresh fruits and vegetables to Hides Gas in Hela. When the business grew, he bought a container truck and started his own trucking firm called Mala Transport Limited, contracted to carry frozen goods to Hides Gas.
He managed the two companies by himself making sure all orders were delivered on time.
His interest in politics started in 2013 when he contested the president’s seat for the Anglimp local level government. He lost.
When the Electoral Commission stopped people from electing council presidents this year, he decided to contest the council seat. He won by a big margin. Of the 3500 votes cast, he polled 2800.
“I now have a big responsibility to my people and will make sure that the new Kudjip LLG is up and running.”
He is confident that his involvement in politics will not affect his business. He plans to budget his time equally between the two: leading the 22 councillors and running his businesses.
“My first task is to find land to build a new council chamber for meetings.”
He also plans to help councillors develop their wards by spending ward grants wisely.
He will incorporate the LLG’s development plans into the district’s five-year development plans so that MP Joe Kuli can also counter-fund some of the LLG projects.
He sees a big task ahead and will discuss with the councillors what projects and development plans to pursue first.
He also will not favour one councillor over the other but work equally with all to deliver goods and services to the people.
“I want to thank my people and councillors for electing me as their president. I will not become their boss. I am their servant and will serve them.”
By JAMES GUMUNO