The National, Monday 06th Febuary 2012
By ISAAC NICHOLAS
A MAN is fighting for his life in hospital and a family home was destroyed following a tribal fight over land in Hela.
The home belonged to Tari-Pori MP James Marape.
Last Thursday, his cousin Andigi Akope was seriously injured after he was attacked with bush knives and axes in the land dispute.
Akope is in a critical condition at the Tari General Hospital attended to by MSF (doctors without Borders) doctors.
Marape’s clansman wanted to retaliate but he stopped them because of his strong stand against tribal fights in Tari.
His first activity as member of parliament in 2007 was to bring together factions involved in more than 20 tribal conflicts in Tari. Since then, violence among the tribes has been greatly reduced.
“Therefore, as a leader I cannot allow for fights even to the cost of personal and family losses for instance the burning of my parent’s permanent family home of over 30 years,” Marape said.
“I am among few Hela leaders who have permanent family homes in Hela. And to witness the burning of your own home you grew up in is painful.
“Yet as a national leader I must allow personal sacrifices to be made for the betterment of my people in Hela, a region that will become the economic hub of PNG into the next 30 years.
“Hela people and Tari people must now realise we live in the 21st century world where today PNG LNG is at their doorsteps.
“And Hela province is a reality. People and leaders attitude will ensure people capture maximum benefit from this important impetus for change with this generation of people.
“We cannot afford to repeat practices of yesteryears such as tribal fights. Let me appeal to people in Hambuali and others around my Paibali village who are influenced by intending businessmen and village leaders who are causing this unnecessary fight.
“I know of some potential candidates for Tari-Pori and Hela regional going very low in supporting clans for fights in my village.
“Please do not go that low, show a higher leadership standard. Beat the standard that I have set for Hela politics. Do not come and get low in little clan issues in my village.
“My clan has the arsenal to fight, however, as people of a responsible leader they have respected my directive for no fight.”
He said people who failed to heed his warning would eventually face the full brunt of the law.
“I appeal for calm and peace to be restored. Today my people responded to my call to get together all clans and resolve the issue,” Marape said.