LATE MP ENVISAGES PEACE OVER GUNS
Prime Minister, James Marape has described the late Central Bougainville MP, Sam Akoitai as “a kwila of both Bouganville and Papua New Guinea,” saying he envisaged peace over gun barrels over.
He said this at Akoita’s Togarau village in Wakunai, Central Bougainville, as he joined Bougainville President, Ishmael Toroama, Bougainville leaders and public servants, and the people for the funeral and burial service of the late leader.
President Toroama, in a moving and symbolic gesture, presented the flags of Bougainville and PNG to the son of late MP, Nathan Akoitai.
PM Marape was accompanied by Kairuku-Hiri MP, Peter Isoaimo and Moresby North-West MP, Lohia Boe Samuel, while the Opposition was represented by Koroba-Lake Kopiago MP, Petrus Thomas.
“I want to pass on my deepest condolences,” he told the mourners.
“We are here to witness the laying to rest of a kwila of both Bougainville and Papua New Guinea.
PM Marape said Akotai was one of the leaders who advocated for peace during the decade-long conflict.
“The Hon. Sam Akoitai looked ahead of that time, saying that what was needed was not fighting by guns, but peace,” he said.
“Today, I stand here as Prime Minister, to thank this leader and many others, including President Toroama, who were instrumental in restoring peace to Bougainville and Papua New Guinea so that we can live as brothers and sisters and work forward.
“I am here to give my big thank you and salute to this soldier of peace on Bogainville.
“He was among those who were very instrumental right up to his passing.
“I am here to salute and pay respect to an icon of peace, an icon of restoration of relationship between Bougainville and Papua New Guinea.
“I want to say thank you very much to the family, the clan, the district, the electorate and Bougainville.”
PM Marape recalled a recent meeting with Hon. Akoitai, at last month’s Bougainville-PNG talks in Port Moresby, during which he talked passionately about Bougainville and PNG going forward.
He said Akoitai had a close relationship with the Highlands people during his life, including late Hela Governor, Anderson Agiru.
PM Marape urged Nathan Akoitai to follow in the footsteps of his father.
“May his memory bind us, unite us as we work towards to future to find a lasting solution to Bougainville,” he said.
“May his memory strengthen us into the spaces that he would have wanted, Bougainville would have wanted, and Papua New Guinea would have wanted also.”