Time to end tribal fights in highlands

Letters, Normal

The National, Tuesday, May 10, 2011

I AM a highlander and I support your editorial (Ap­ril 27) regarding the tribal fight between two warring tribes in Southern High­lands’ Kagua district where peace mediators and police personnel were told to back off.
They wanted to be left alone to slowly decimate each other.
But these people failed to realise the destruction they are causing to properties and government ser­vices such as schools, aid posts, health centres and denying children a chance to go to school and get an education.
This is the way of life in most places in the highlands region and I want all tribal fights to end for good.
But for it to happen, stakeholders, elites, go­vern­ment institutions and lawmakers must come up with necessary policies and strategies to curb such practices so that people would appreciate and respect the services and live a happy and meaningful life back in the villages.
A couple of options were suggested in the editorial which I support and they include denying government services in future if they had have been destroyed through tribal conflicts and as highlanders are known for demanding excessive compensation, they should also pay monetary compensation to the government for the destruction of established government services in their respective areas.
No compensation, no services – this is fair.
Our parliament should enact strict laws to put the so-called tribal leaders who encouraged young men to take up arms and kill be­hind bars and keys thrown.
Most fights erupt be­cause these tribal leaders instigate others to do their dirty work.
They operate from the back and let the young men charge from the front, resulting in many young people being killed.
The Law and Justice Sector should concentrate not only at the national le­vel but go down to the village level by conducting awareness and educating villagers on the consequence of tribal fights.
The highlands’ elite must also play their part to change the attitude of their villagers when they go back home.
We are now living in a civilised world umi mas lusim olpela pasin bipo na bihaenim gutpela na nupela rot long sindaun gut nao na bihaen.


Peter T Thomas
Port Moresby