Peaceful Bougainville campaign winding up
Four weeks of campaigning for a critical election in Bougainville comes to close with voting to start on Monday.
As Bougainville heads into a key election from Monday, a leading figure in the aid community says the four weeks of campaigning have gone very peacefully.
From the 11th May until 25th May the autonomous Papua New Guinea region is holding just its third general election since the Peace Agreement was signed in 2001.
The head of the Leitana Nehan Women's Agency, Helen Hakena, told Don Wiseman the focus is on the need for the people to choose quality leaders.
HELEN HAKENA: A quality leader is someone who is transparent and accountable to the people someone who has a heart for the people. Someone who does not do corrupt things or bribe people. Someone who has worked with the community for a longtime. Who is concerned for the people's welfare. That is quality leadership that we really would like to be. Somebody who is good in good governance and leading our people in the right way.
DON WISEMAN: It would seem it is quite likely there's going to be an early resumption of mining. With your knowledge of the province, do you think that is going to be accepted?
HK: Most people are saying that, you know the mining issue should be left untouched. Because things have not been resolved. There is people who support that reopening of the mine because we need finance to support whatever move the government is doing. But there are so many other people who think that mining should not be reopened at this time.
DW: Those people think that eventually further down the line when those matters are sorted they would be happy to see a resumption of mining at that stage?
HK: Yes, yes. If all other issues like removal of guns and issues of reconciliation are sorted out and the mining policies then there will be a resumption. People are happy to see the resumption of the copper mines because they want development to happen in Bougainville. And they want the government to get revenue, somewhere to get money from to support the administration of Bougainville.
DW: The reason that the outgoing government is supporting that, is because it says this is the only means by which they can generate income quickly.
HK: That is right.
DW: So, so not many people support that view in your view?
HK: We can reopen the mine, but there has to be more consultations. There were forums, mining forums held in the three regions of Bougainville. But there has to be a transparent manner, people have to see what is in the mining policy that was passed by ABG (Autonomous Bougainville Government) in November last year. People still talk about there is a lot of hidden agenda inside the mining policy. They still believe there could have been more consultations with the people before the policy was passed by ABG people should have been gathered to view the policy and to question the articles in the policy.
DW: There are some areas where I understand it is still going to be difficult for people to vote. That there's various rebel groups going to stop them from voting. Is that a major issue or is that just something that locals can work their way around. It is something that locals can work around because there are so many ex-combatants contesting as well so they will make sure that people come out of those isolated areas to vote because it is a one two three so they will be bringing people out they will not block people because they will want to get some votes as well.
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