Goroka tribe loses ‘fighter’ leader

Hans Fima was with Prime Minister James Marape in Goroka when he was there to hand over K1 million in September 2020.

AN atmosphere of emptiness filled the minds and hearts of the Komiufa tribe in the north-eastern end of Goroka town last May 31, 2021 as they waited for the arrival of casket of Hans Fima from the Glenrowan Funeral Home. The usually busy Village Court market and bus stop were cleaned up and remained silent in respect for the late chairman of Komiufa Resources Development Authority (KRDA) to come home. Mourners daubed in mud and black ash waited patiently up on the beautifully landscaped hill-top near the Komiufa water treatment plant, the home of late Hans. The village hosts the water treatment plant for the Goroka town. Hans was the chairman of the tribe’s resource association. The casket left the funeral home at around 4pm; a motorcade escorting the hearse went around Goroka town roads before heading up towards Komiufa village.
The entire Komiufa tribe and visiting paternal uncles from Fayantina in Henganofi district mourned; some threw themselves on the road in a showing their deep sorrow and respect to the 40-year old who hd fought for the rightful benefits of the Komiufa tribe from the Government for the town’s water. The late Hans was instrumental in establishing the KRDA and wrote the association’s constitution.

Members of Komiufa SDA Church carrying the casket of late Hans Fima soon after it arrived at his Komiufa Water Treatment Plant home.

He led association executives in fighting hard to get the Government to compensate the Komiufa people for the use of their water resource for Goroka town. His elder brother Sam Fima Jnr confirmed that his late sibling was a real fighter who believed in achieving his ultimate goals and became successful in many of these fights. Sam Jnr said late Hans had no fear or favour. He knocked on every door of relevant government authorities in his fight to get compensation for the landowners of Komiufa tribe for the use of their resources.Prime Minister James Marape favourably responded to Hans’ fight and gave K1 million. After going through the government and bank processes, cash finally became available to the villagers last month. KRDA executives and service providers withdrew K600, 000 on May 11, 2021 and were to pay the Komiufa landowners on May 12, 2021. Hans was having a betel nut in front of the Goroka National Broadcasting Corporation (NBC) office which was in fact his last moment of life. He met his fate there. Elder brother Sam Jnr said Hans was chewing betel nut 10 metres away from the vehicle road, in a safe area away from the traffic. “How the Nissan Patrol utility was maneuvered in high speed towards Hans and ran over him twice, killing him instantly remains a mystery to date,” Sam said. An official complaint was registered with the Goroka police investigators for an investigation into circumstances surrounding the killing, according to Sam. He said the immediate family and relatives are of the view that evil powers were intentionally used kill the leader because he (late Hans) was in possession of K1 million for the Komiufa tribe at the time of his death. Sam said they knew that the K1 million was in his custody which should have been distributed the next day, Wednesday, May 12.

Hans Fima (front) and Deputy Chairman of Komiufa Resource Development Authority Martin Abori at the Goroka water supply intake.

Call for peace
Meanwhile at the funeral ceremony at Komiufa, Hans’ paternal uncles from Fayantina area in Henganofi, through Ikana Avoka, president of Fayantina LLG urged the communities to maintain peace and harmony in the mourning houses. Avoka said God was the who gave life and common sense must prevail among the family, relatives and members of the tribe. “God gave him to us and he took him back, in the manner he died only God knows. I thank Komiufa people, communities, organisations, individuals and churches for supporting him in his efforts to help the community,” Avoka said. He challenged the people, especially the executives of KRDA to continue to fight for the people’s rights especially to claim any outstanding compensation payment for the Goroka town water supply from the Government. “Hans has vision and dreamt to fulfill and achieve it. Unfortunately he died. The challenge is for you to continue from where he left off,” he said. Avoka and a former councillor of Fayantina LLG Moti Mako officially handed over the casket of late Hans to Komiufa Seventh Day Adventist Church who conducted the funeral service and burial ceremony. Hans’s father Sam Fima came out of Fayantina area in Henganofi district and settled at Komiufa in Goroka many years ago, married his wife Sasha and they had two daughters and four sons. The two daughters are Susan and Helen while the sons are Sam Jnr, Tom, Hans and Franko. They all grew up in Komiufa village. The late Hans is survived by wife Cecelia and seven children.