Momis: ‘Panguna will be reopened by force’

momis panguna

President Chief Dr. John Momis has dropped a bolt from the blue with his recent remarks in Tabago of Buin in South Bougainville. Speaking at the ordination of a Catholic Priest last Sunday, President Momis let in on what would be significantly his most controversial move as President. “Panguna will be reopened by force” said the man whom on the other hand has always said he believes in non-violence.

Attending the ordination were many dignitaries who without a doubt heard the President’s remarks on this most contentious and controversial issue. What was certainly surprising for all was, beside the fact he dropped the bombshell at an occasion where it was not expected, the ABG President has proven his commitment to making sure the mine will reopen, by any means necessary.

He further went on to criticize the Panguna Landowners Association for being unreliable in fast tracking the process of reopening Panguna, and that so much resources and trust has been put on the association all to no avail in terms of outcome.

Most attendees were shocked to hear their President’s remarks and they could not grasp the intention of making such comments at an occasion that was not appropriate for it. If the region’s President has the intent to reopen the mine by force, this will definitely throw the whole region back to where it was 17 years ago – knowing that most factions have not given in their weapons. This will undermine the painstaking peace and reconciliation process that is already taking longer than the given time.

Much reconciliation is yet to be done throughout the island and yet President Momis is pushing for the mine to be opened without looking at the possible consequences. Even yet, mining consultation has reached a stalemate due to the Bel Kol controversy. The containment of weapons by peacekeepers was not successful and many factions continue to hold their weapons exactly for the reason of another situation such as what the President mentioned during his speech at the ordination.

What also came out clear is the President’s technique in creating division within the region by saying different things to different audiences. Not so long ago Dr. Momis was addressing the Panguna Landowners Association at their Inaugural Forum where he had not a problem with the members of the association which he has criticized now in Buin.

If this is going to be the intent of the Autonomous Bougainville Government, then it surely has defeated its purpose when it was first created. Chief Dr. Momis is now undoing the work of his predecessors. Moreover, though claiming to have achieved more than the previous two ABG presidents, Bougainville has become even more reliant on aid and grants from outside. The autonomous region’s economy is becoming highly dependent on aid and there is no alternative income generating avenue for ABG, something the Momis government has miserably failed upon due to all the resources put into one potential basket, the mine reopening.



Filed under Human rights, Papua New Guinea

5 responses to “Momis: ‘Panguna will be reopened by force’

  1. Ana's Outlook

    I suspect this report is total ‘bull’. How can PNG Mine Watch allow the publication of defamatory material like this? Take it down!!

  2. The mine re-opening is a peoples issue. And who is people? We have created our mouth piece through the democratic means. Which is voting via ballot box. Why not we raise our views via our members??? Why are we popping up as individuals to air our view which may be false or interpreted wrongly. We must be very careful when posting our comments in the public which may create inconsistency and false alarms to the public. There are still more to be done in terms of information channeling. If the issues at hand are meant for ABG parliament discussion, it is not for us to publicize in the public forum. We have created our COEs where every chiefs and village elders are equally invited to have their say. Why not we help in that sense to make our community a more participating partner in the building of the Bougainville government. Most of us are standing and spectating to find issues instead of helping to solve issues. Let us be together as one Bougainville to move forward.


  3. Pingback: Charting Momis’ undemocratic turn | Papua New Guinea Mine Watch

  4. clara itamai

    Mining can start mine and compensate the 2000 lives lost during bougainville crisis.
    Nothing wrong with re-opening of the mine as far as I concern, mining is belong to all bougainvillians.

  5. Pingback: Momis blames ‘tok ples’ for misunderstanding over use of force | Papua New Guinea Mine Watch

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