By LARRY ANDREW
THE body of late statesman and the Kwila of Morobe Sir Jerry Kasip Nalau was finally laid to rest in the afternoon of Friday, May 21 at his Nasingalatuc village alongside his wife Lady Gimao Yaengayamo as rain showers indicated nature’s way to farewell the great leader.A short funeral service was held at the family residence before the casket was transported to the cemetery for the burial. It was quite moving.Pallbearers from the PNGDF Igam Barracks, in slow march carried the casket to the grave site and before it was lowered into the grave, a three-gun salute was accorded to Sir Jerry who is known as Kwila of Morobe and the papa who stood with his brother and Dregerhafen school mate and first chief minister the late Grand Chief Sir Michael Thomas Somare to lead PNG into independence.Nephew Manau Saki said of late Sir Jerry on behalf of the family that he was the true kasiga (chief) of the Yabim people and the name kasiga was not of the church but referred to a tribal leader. “As songan is known in Kotec, in we in Yabim call it lumuki. That is different but kasiga is a tribal leadership. The last kasiga we had was when the word of God reached the shores of Finschhafen. He was Kasiga Ovoko, who was tough and fearless and his grandson is this man. He was the reason why Lutheran Church was delayed for 13 years without baptism.
“So when the church went into study to find why there was no baptism to convert people into Christianity they found out that Kasiga Ovoko was the reason in delaying the baptism. His jurisdiction is from Bonga to Foapeles and everybody listened to him and for the church to move they had to capture Ovoko. His fearlessness and strength is seen in the late Sir Jerry and with this kasiga down I don’t know when will we have one like him again.”Saki said even though he retired from active public servaice and political life whenever he called for a meeting everyone came to listen to him. The nephew said the problem now was to find the next kasiga and from this generation he has not seen one that could fit into the shoes of Sir Jerry, stating further that maybe two or three generations later someone like Sir Jerry would be found.Sir Jerry Kisap Nalau was no ordinary leader. The man dubbed the “Kwila of Morobe” was known for his strong and decisive leadership, Lae MP John Rosso said.The Minister for Lands and
Physical Planning made the remarks to the students of Dregerhafen Secondary School when paying his respects to the late Sir Jerry, 83, whose body was returned to his beloved Finschhafen district to be laid at his home in Nasingalatuc village on May 21.“As everyone knows Sir Jerry was not just a normal person, most say he was the Kwila of Morobe. He walked the talk and he actually inspired, he made decisions and didn’t back down to anyone and what he said he got,” Rosso said.“Sir Jerry didn’t hide his piece of mind when he spoke. He spoke from the heart and didn’t mince words.”Rosso said Morobe’s current crop of leaders needed to follow Sir Jerry’s example and focus on good leadership and not too much about politics.“We should imitate people like Sir Jerry. Too many times we think about our politics and we do not think about the right thing to do because we’re afraid to lose our jobs.”Rosso said he hoped someone could rise up and replace Sir Jerry as a champion Morobe and it was incumbent upon all who called themselves leaders of the province to strive for that goal.Bulolo MP and Deputy Prime Minister Sam Basil said Sir Jerry had left a legacy of great leadership that all could be proud of and emulate.Basil agreed with Rosso’s reflections on Sir Jerry.He said Sir Jerry was decisive and did not waiver when it came to making decisions that were for the good of his people regardless of the political consequences to him.Basil said this was the sign of a man who was not worried about his own career or personal benefits but rather someone who was selfless and for the people.“He made decisions for the good of the province but not for the good of the voters; that is why he didn’t get the support to come back and continue his leadership.“We leaders of today must not forget what he has done for Lae city. Where he has left we must pick up and move on. We must not fear the voters but we have to do the right thing for our province,” Basil said.