By Meriba Tulo – EMTV News, Port Moresby
With just under twelve months to go before Bougainville conducts a referendum for its political future, the task of ensuring its population is informed about this important exercise has been placed on its elected representatives. All thirty-three constituencies have been tasked to ensure that they are declared ‘referendum-ready’ by December 31st this year.
For the Tonsu Constituency, the decision to declare if it is ‘Referendum-Ready’, has been left with its thirteen wards, in a move to ensure its people take ownership of this important exercise; preparations for the upcoming Referendum have begun.
Member for Tonsu, Ezekiel Masatt, spoke to EMTV News about how his Constituency is approaching referendum awareness; Tonsu has embarked on awareness at the ward level, with programs already carried out in 9 of its 13 wards.
According to Mr Masatt, given that there are still some outstanding issues regarding the referendum, the awareness exercises will be a continuous exercise for Tonsu. Mr Masatt is fortunate enough to have been part of the drafting of the Bougainville Peace Agreement, and related constitutional amendments to allow for the establishment of the ABG.
Whilst he says the Referendum exercise is being embraced by Bougainvilleans, it is also important that both the National Government and ABG work in co-operation to ensure that there is continued dialogue from now, until the referendum, and after the referendum results are announced.