By JIMMY KALEBE
VILLAGE court magistrate Lume Rese wants to see peaceful co-existence and order reign supreme in the Sialum local level government of Tewai-Siassi, Morobe.
The father-of-three has held the position since 2000 and thanks God for assisting and guiding him every day.
“I always put God first, the people and my family. I fight hard to see peace and order in the community.”
As the deputy village court chairman, Lume has resolved many fights and difference in opinions among the people.
For example in 1992 there were killings in the area which died down only to return in 1996. Most were related to sorcery, land rows, and sex-related offences.
“Since 2000, we at the village court have been playing our part but need the support of the people.”
There was a lot of fighting mostly ending in the loss of lives and properties.
He blames those holding positions before in the village courts of failing to effectively address the problems then and allowed them to worsen.
“When a case come to the attention of the village court, we register it and recommend a follow-up which in most cases is not done. Perpetrators were allowed to walk free. Victims on the other hand feel the pain.
“When a problem is not properly resolved, it leads to another problem, then another, then another.”
Since he became a magistrate in 2000, he had to deal with six land disputes which caused fighting among villagers and clan members. Lives were lost, properties destroyed and homes torched.
He tried his best with his colleagues to resolve the differences and maintain calm and peace among the people.
His biggest challenge is the lack of financial support for the village court administration system.
“I use my own money to provide stationary needed to carry out village court duties and other expenses. I just do it out of my heart for my people.”
Lume is paid a monthly allowance which he divides between his family and his work, especially transport costs.
Lume deals directly with offenders on the ground, a job more appropriate for trained personnel in law enforcement agencies.
The villages in the Sialum LLG are Onoka One, Onoka Two, Jepa and Mide. They each have village courts looking after hundreds of people.
“ I always put God first, the people and my family. I fight hard to see peace and order in the community.”
His motto is to serve the interests of others first.
“I will give my best to ensure the Sialum people change for better when leaders of the communities work together with authorities to weed out law and order problems.”
He welcomes the initiative taken by leaders in the 19 wards of the Sialum LLG in forming a peace and good order committee to deal with the law and order problems they are facing.
He accompanied committee members who brought five murder suspects from Sialum to the Lae police station this week.
He sees it as a big achievement but there is more to be done.
“Deep down in my heart, I believe in serving others. It drives me on despite the challenges I face.”