Law and order issues continue to be a deterrent to development in many parts of the country.
In Southern Highlands, one person has taken the initiative to broker peace between two warring tribes in the Mendi Muihui District recently,
Local businessman, Peter Nupiri negotiated peace in a tribal conflict in the Lai Valley area.
The Larop Pei and Sonk Soka tribes of the Nol Council ward in Lai Velley, Southern Highlands Province were involved in a conflict for four years.
This fight has caused extensive damage to public utilities like schools, health centres, markets and people being cut off from basic services.
The fight also claimed lives of 7 people.
After months of negotiating peace between these tribes, a peace agreement was signed last month when the parties came together, laid down their differences and made peace.
A statutory declaration was also signed between the tribes confirming their stand for peace and that parties would not enter into another conflict in future. It was signed infront of district officials, peace and good order committee members, the district magistrate and police personnel.
During the peace ceremony, Nupiri told the people, there was no winner in a tribal conflict – it only brought misery and pain to the lives of the people and disharmony amongst members of the community.
“ Bihain Bihain, tingting pastaim before you wokim action. Husait champion long displa pait? Husait win? Thompson yu win or Samuel yu win, husait win? Yupla kism wanpla medal tu ah? Wanem medal yupla kisim ikam? Displa kain longlong tingting I mas stop insait long komuniti.”
(In future, think before you take an action. Who is the winner in this fight? Is it Thompson or Samuel? Did anyone receive a medal for this? What kind of medal did you receive? This community has to stop displaying crazy-type attitude.”)
As a start to the restoration process, he secured K100, 000 funding from the Mendi Munihiu district for the people to start building houses and to come together and live in harmony.
“Displa mani, ol inap long usim long narapla samting. Buildim wanpla skul or wanpla samting. Bikos long longlong blong yumi long yumi statim pait, sot kat pasin blong yumi long hapim bus knife nating, yumi spendim mani long mekim narapla development long hia long traim long settleim displa ol manmeri husiat ol I displaced,” said Nupiri.
(“This money should have been used for other purposes like building a school. But because of our crazy attitude to start a fight and taking short cuts by using knives to cut people, we are now spending money that should have been used for other projects, to settle displaced villagers,” said Nupiri)
He also challenged the warring parties to change their attitude and start rebuilding their lives and to prioritize their children’s education.
Local leaders also urged the people to lay down arms and owners of factory made firearms were also warned not to hire out their weapons as the factory made weapons caused massive destruction compared to traditional methods of fighting using traditional weapons.
The Southern Highlands Provincial Government also committed K50,000 towards to restoration exercise.