Bougainville says no to independence consultation
27 August 2022
The autonomous Bougainville government said ratification of the 2019 referendum on independence will be done by the national parliament and doesn't require PNG citizens to be further consulted
| Radio New Zealand
AUCKLAND - The Bougainville government has rejected a call from the Papua New Guinea government to hold for a nationwide consultation on the Bougainville independence referendum.
PNG prime minister James Marape proposed the consultation earlier this month.
But the autonomous Bougainville government (ABG) said ratification of the 2019 referendum on independence will be done by the national parliament and doesn't require PNG citizens to be further consulted.
Bougainville's Minister for Independence Mission Implementation, Ezekiel Masatt, said there was no legal basis for the proposed nationwide consultation.
He said the ABG and the national government are the only two parties to be consulted over the overwhelming 97.7% vote for independence in the 2019 referendum.
Masatt said the Bougainville Peace Agreement was negotiated to promote peace by peaceful means and to address Bougainville's political future, with independence being a constitutionally guaranteed option.
Under the Era Kone Covenant both governments have committed to a pathway which will see the referendum results brought into the national parliament for final ratification.
Masatt said it has been agreed that independence will be no earlier than 2025 and no later than 2027.
"Let me make it absolutely clear that Bougainville will be independent," he said.
This week a prominent political group in Bougainville threatened to withdraw its support for president Ishmael Toroama after he removed portfolios from two members of parliament.
A group calling itself the Northern Bloc has produced a petition threatening to stop supporting independence as well withdrawing support for Toroama.
The PNG government must accept the timeframe agreed upon and move forward to reach the goal and accept the outcome of Bougainville gaining independence.
Bougainville's independence is a foregone conclusion already decided upon so PNG shouldn't continue to waste time.
There are so many pressing issues that the government needs to focus on rather than spending time trying to delay Bougainville's departure.
Posted by: Wills Motz | 29 August 2022 at 09:46 AM