By Meriba Tulo – EMTV News, Port Moresby
In what has been described as a huge step forward in preparations for the upcoming referendum on the political future of Bougainville, a hardline faction has now resolved to be a part of this process. The Mekamui, a group once feared on Bougainville, and as well as the outside world, was not a signatory to the Bougainville Peace Agreement but has in recent times made known their intentions to work together with other groups for a successful referendum.
Mekamui Defence Force General, Moses Pipiro, recently participated in the Joint Weapons Disposal Secretariat Meeting in Arawa and spoke to EMTV News.
General of the Mekamui Defence Force, Moses Pipiro, a man once feared throughout the Island Region, has in recent times come out in public to make known the Mekamui’s position on issues affecting Bougainville. Most recently, he was invited to be a part of the Joint Weapons Disposal Secretariat Meeting – a historic occasion for the weapons disposal efforts, with the Mekamui now openly stating their commitment to laying down their arms.
According to Mr Pipiro, the decision by Mekamui to be a part of the official process is to demonstrate their support for a United Bougainville.
The process of having the Mekamui Authority come into the official process involving the ABG and the National Government has taken some time – but according to Mr Pipiro, since 2015, the Mekamui have slowly prepared for the referendum process – with their own electoral roll updates, and weapons disposal programs already having commenced up at Panguna – a Mekamui stronghold.
Despite the fact that the Mekamui Authority did not sign on to the Bougainville Peace Agreement, they have taken the lead in preparation for the upcoming referendum – signalling their willingness to be a part of this process.
This is being demonstrated by progress in electoral and weapons disposal activities already carried out in areas where the Meklamui have influence.