NEWS DESK | PNG Education News
PORT MORESBY – The former president of the University of PNG students’ representative council, Kenneth Rapa, has asked prime minister James Marape to order a commission of inquiry into the police shooting of UPNG students during the 2016 student unrest.
“As we look towards the future now with renewed hope, we ask that you heal all the wounds from the past,” Rapa wrote in a letter to Marape.
Rapa said students at that time had no personal or political agenda.
He said they had the people’s agenda to respect the integrity of the office of prime minister and restore democracy by demanding that Peter O’Neill to step down, but they were suppressed by police.
Rapa said students were a relevant voice in the country and had taken the responsibility to protest the government’s decisions that were negatively impacting their lives – mismanagement of the economy and the lack of good governance and true democracy.
“We, the students, assumed the mantle of God’s eternal purpose to be the voice of the silent majority and called for our prime minister (at that time) to be accountable to his people and to the honour, integrity and dignity of the office he occupied,” he wrote.
“We did not request, nay, we demanded, that he humble himself before the laws of our nation and yield to due process by submitting himself for questioning in relation to the allegations that were demeaning and denigrating to the office.”
Rapa said students had been shot at on roads and even inside the institution just because they conducted a mass protest.
As the student leader at the time, he felt a duty to revisit the incident and to make things right by pursuing a proper investigation into the matter.
“My team of leaders and I bear a responsibility towards those students and their parents,” he said.
“As such, we humbly request that your office and the offices of the ministries responsible carry out a commission of enquiry.”