Social Concerns Notes – October 2016

Outlaw forced evictions
Post Courier October 05, 2016

HARSH and oppressive eviction on citizens is a breach of International Human Rights law which unfortunately is becoming more prevalent in major towns and cities in PNG.

United Nations resident co-ordinator Roy Trivedy expressed this concern following continuous media reports over a growing number of forced evictions, either in settlements to make way for development or of individual residents to make way for new owners.

Mr Trivedy urged the Government to legislate to protect vulnerable home owners from forceful evictions.

“The right to adequate housing, which is widely recognised under international human rights law, includes the right to be protected from forced eviction.”

Mr Trivedy said the Government has signed the Sustainable Development Goals which includes ending poverty, ending hunger, health, education, water, inclusive cities, inclusive societies and 10 others to make Papua New Guinea a better place.

“However, forceful eviction is totally against the international human rights law.”

“When people are being evicted from their comfort zones, whoever evicts them must provide necessary surviving needs such as adequate place to stay, water, power, education, job and other necessities in order for them to have a decent lifestyle. This will help reduce poverty,”

Mr Trivedy said developers of Paga Hill, Paga Hill Development Company, faced this very problem.

But they did very well in that rather than simply evict the settlers, they gave alternate land, provided financial assistance and logistics support to relocate to Moresby Northeast. Despite all the resistance (the settlers took the matter all the way to the Supreme Court), the developers persisted, providing literacy, business, and self-governance training, as well as key infrastructure of ablution blocks, power and water at the relocation site, at Tagua Village.


Internet price affects economy
Post Courier, October 05, 2016

DELOITTE manager Todd Mclnnis said this yesterday in Port Moresby when presenting the National Research Institute’s latest report on why internet rates are high in Papua New Guinea.

The report identified key issues that have caused high prices of internet rates which includes infrastructure, wholesale, regulation, retail and competition and PNG specific issues.

McInnis said that despite considerable improvements in PNG’s technological architecture including competitions, PNG’s internet infrastructure appears to be reaching its limits and remains among the lowest in the world. According to a 2013 report by the International Telecommunication Union PNG is ranked 163 out of 169 countries in terms of internet infrastructure. The findings however revealed that PNG had an entry level fixed broadband package estimated to cost a high 266 per cent of gross national income per capita. “Since that time internet prices have fallen markedly,” McInnis said.

“In 2014 NICTA estimated that the price of a 1GB (Gigabyte) package ranges from around 20-80 per cent of GNI per capita while current estimates suggest a 1GB package can be obtained for 10 per cent per capita.

“It’s very costly to do business in PNG due to a number of reasons and the high infrastructure maintenance costs which are a direct impact to higher prices,” he said.

McInnis added that another issue is reliability or the lack of it which does not have a direct impact to prices but all contribute to a higher cost environment which obviously leads to higher prices.


Jimmy Drekore honoured with ‘Nobel Prize for children’

06 October 2016

JIMMY DREKORE, founder of Simbu Children Foundation, has been awarded what has been termed the ‘Nobel Prize for Child Advocates’. The World of Children Award is the highest recognition for people who contributed exceptionally to the betterment of children and Papua New Guinea is the first country in the Pacific to receive this global accolade. Jimmy Drekore is well known to PNG Attitude readers as an entrepreneur, philanthropist and an established poet. As well as his vital work with the Simbu Children Foundation, he is PNG’s Digicel Man of Honour and President of Simbu Writers Association.

He comes from the rugged mountains of Giu-Emmai in the Sinasina Yongomugl District of Simbu Province and this internationally honour reflects his commitment to improving the lives of sick, orphaned and otherwise disadvantaged children in Simbu over the last 12 years.

Jimmy started SCF in 2004 while working at the Newcrest gold mine on Lihir Island. In May 2013, he resigned from his lucrative job as an analytical chemist to work fulltime on the foundation raising and deploying funds to help children receive specialist medical services that were not available locally.

Through Jimmy’s work, many children with heart disease have been saved by cardiac specialists from Australia who come each year to Port Moresby. SCF also addresses other health issues affecting children’s health and wellbeing like providing CT scans and preventing parent to child transmission of HIV.

“I didn’t think it was real,” Jimmy said when asked how he felt about the award. “It took a while for me to digest and when I accepted it I showed the email to my wife and we were humbled. “The Drekore family dedicates this World of Children Award to Simbu and all who have supported Simbu Children Foundation,” he added.


Wealthy Australia ‘outsourced legal & moral obligations’ on Manus

06 October 2016

‘Money, Manipulation and Misunderstanding on Manus Island’ by Joanne Wallis and Steffen Dalsgaard in the Journal of Pacific History. Download ‘Money, Manipulation & Misunderstanding on Manus

A PAPER by two Australian academics says that the impact of the asylum seeker camp on Manus has “inextricably involved a manipulation of the democratic process and the rule of law”.

Wallis and Dalsgaard write that, even though the so-called “regional resettlement arrangement” has delivered substantial funding to Papua New Guinea and, probably as a result, improved PNG’s relationship with Australia, the burden of the policy “will continue to be borne by ordinary Papua New Guineans, who already face myriad challenges exercising their democratic rights and receiving the protection of the law.”

The authors conclude that “overall, costs arising from the money, manipulation and misunderstanding generated by the regional resettlement arrangement seem likely to outweigh the benefits, particularly for Manusians [who are unlikely to see any benefits once the detention centre is closed] and other ordinary Papua New Guineans.”

They also say that the PNG government bears some responsibility. “It has both failed to live up to democratic processes in agreeing to host the centre and to legally as well as practically ensure the rights and security of those affected by it.

But they see that most of the responsibility lies with Australia, “a wealthy country that has outsourced its legal and moral obligations concerning asylum seekers and refugees.


Rehabilitation of prisoners is a challenge in our 19 jails.

Post Courier, October 07, 2016

PNG Correctional Services deputy commissioner operations division Stephen Pokanis said that the rehabilitation program must be supported for a better understanding of what to do in assisting prisoners before their release.

“So many resources are committed to looking after prisoners then on rehabilitation. There is no money for prison industries, technical and professional programs to prepare prisoners before they leave the prisons.” He said that personal relationships for each prisoner were helpful in ensuring the prisoner has good support before facing a parole board.

“When any relationship the prisoner has with his or her family is successful their report will show that, their behavior too in the prison will be considered as well. This is where prisoners many a times face issues when facing the parole board because they have no support inside or outside the prison, they are left frustrated.

We have church activities but that looks at the spiritual side of a person, you need to look at the intellect and physical aspect of any prisoner,” Mr Pokanis said. He reiterated that many factors caused prisoners to go back to jail but lack of rehab was a main factor.


Health, church to work together

October 7, 2016, The National

THE Health Department and the Catholic Church health services signed an agreement to work together to deliver services. CCHS board chairman Archbishop Stephen Reichert said the agreement would allow the department to provide funding to provide better health services, with more transparency and accountability. He said the church had parishes in all parts of the country and it would be easier to use their connections to provide service directly to the people. “By having a direct responsibility for funding from the government and the national office and CCHS, we believe that we can introduce our financial governance that will ensure accountability, more responsible use of resources and better outcome,” he said. Reichert said they wanted to strengthen governance and financial management to allow closer adherence to department and CCHS standards. “Catholic Church Health Service has a long history of providing health care to people and the majority of health care offered in remote rural areas and we already mentioned that we are committed to continue. If possible, we can expand to those areas if funding is available in future.”
Department’s strategy policy executive manager Ken Wai said since the passing of the public-private partnership policy in 2014, they had gone into partnership with  churches, non-governmental organisations and other industries to deliver services.

October 2016

PNG political parties must promote more women in politics

IT IS up to political parties to boost the number of women in parliament, says Dame Carol Kidu, a former Papua New Guinean opposition leader and minister. Dame Carol said PNG could not be called a representative democracy while half of its population only had a 2.7% stake in parliament.

In 2011, PNG passed a bill sponsored by Dame Carol to establish 22 reserved seats for women but enabling legislation was not passed in time for the 2012 election. Dame Carol entered politics in 1997 and was the only female member of parliament from 2002 until her retirement in 2012, when three women MPs were elected.

She said the chance to reserve seats for women was gone. “It is going to come back to political parties now,” she said. “It is not going to happen by legal reform anymore.”

Dame Carol said this was because an increase in the number of seats would also increase the district service funds that are distributed through MPs. The increase in funds required for 10 extra members would be large and “never get through” parliament, she said.


Six men held captive and allegedly tortured over sorcery claims
October 11, 2016

ABOUT six men are held captive, allegedly tortured and threatened with death at Rongoma village in Kagua, Southern Highlands province.  Situation is tense as the men held captive are publicly humiliated and interrogated in an open-air kangaroo court in the center of the village in the full presence of the members of the public including the police. The men are alleged to have practiced sorcery that resulted in the sudden death of one time Kagua Erave MP and peace advocator late Charles Miru Luta who passed away last month.

Late Luta as chairman of the district peace and good order committee was negotiating for peace over the vehicle accident deaths at Koali-Lombo village when he returned home, collapsed and suddenly passed away one evening last month.  Frustrated and suspicious of his sudden passing, angry relatives burnt down several houses and captured the six men suspected of practicing sorcery that resulted in Late Luta’s death. The sorcery suspects are believed to be from the Kulumbu tribe of Kala, Kunu, Koali Lombo, Rongoma and surrounding villages.  Southern Highlands Provincial police commander Supt Sibrom Papoto did say in the media that police are trying to save the men held captive as it was illegal.

An eyewitness who requested anonymity for fear of possible repercussions said the relatives have intoxicated the two main suspects (named) with drugs and forced them to reveal the names of fellow accomplices and sorcerers.  He said the alleged suspects are pierced with hot iron roads and threatened with death.  The source said police are simply outnumbered and over-powered and cannot do much to stop the relatives from hurting the suspects.  Catholic Bishop of Mendi Diocese Donald Lippert posted on his social media face book wall condemning the actions of the relatives to attack the alleged sorcerers.


Man escapes sorcery torture
Post Courier, October 14, 2016

ONE of the six men held captive, tortured and threatened with death over sorcery allegations at Rongoma village in Kagua, Southern Highlands Province, has escaped from the jaws of death.

Five others are still held captive while police are out-numbered and over-powered and cannot do much to rescue the men. The victim, Samuel Minapa, 54, of Koali Lombo village is among three others Rodney Yama, Hipson Yama and Kevin Yamo of the Molerepa clan in Koali Lombo. Mr Minapa said he is lucky to be alive after he escaped from his heavily armed captors.

He was among the three men who had their names called out by the two main sorcery suspects Roka Pola and Pendeta Kunu as accomplices in the alleged sorcery related death. Mr Minapa said they were blind-folded and whisked away last Tuesday evening, hidden and were watched by heavily armed guards.

“It was like in the movies.” He and all the three victims denied their part in the sorcery that is alleged to have caused the death of the late Charles Miru Luta, a former Kagua-Erave MP and peace advocate who passed away suddenly, last month. Mr Minapa’s denial only infuriated the kidnappers who continued to torture them and beat them up. “We were stripped naked and hung on the cross while the beating and interrogation continued,” Minapa said, showing his body and his private parts which has been burned with hot irons pierced.

Mr Minape said they were held captive for nearly a week since last Tuesday, and when word went out of their capture, police came in 10 truckloads last Saturday to the village, but did not even make any attempt to rescue them. Mr Minapa said he was lucky to have escaped from his captors after being assisted by a young man. Minapa is pleading with Police Commissioner Gari Baki to intervene and rescue the five others still held captive at the village. He said they were also forcefully intoxicated with illegal drug marijuana by his kidnappers, in order to reveal their part in Luta’s death.

Mr Minapa was treated with burns, bruises and other injuries to his body and private parts yesterday at the Rebiamul Catholic Health Centre in Mt Hagen, after he escaped by hiding in the bushes and jumping onto a passing vehicle to Mt Hagen on Wednesday evening.


HIV dilemma
Post Courier, October 14, 2016

UP TO 10,000 people living with HIV (PLHIV) face an uncertain future and thousands of women and children will be exposed to health risks after the Australian Government announced it will discontinue funding for recipients of HIV and reproductive health grants across Papua New Guinea.

The lives of the PLHIV are prolonged when they go on antiretroviral therapy (ART) as it suppresses the virus and stops the progression of the disease that leads to full blown AIDS. However, access to that life-saving treatment will end after the Australian High Commission announced its intention to discontinue funding for recipients of HIV and reproductive health grants. The discontinuation of funding will mean women and children loosing access to critical reproductive and child healthcare services, especially in rural and remote communities.

The Post-Courier has obtained a confidential Australian Government Briefing Note titled “The Potential Impact of Australian Government Funded Grant Closures on HIV and Reproductive Health Services in Papua New Guinea”, which was prepared on October 7, 2016 and contains details on 19 NGOs and civil society organisations that will be affected by the funding cut and recommends a smooth transition.

A Papua New Guinean woman living with HIV, who spoke on condition of anonymity, told this newspaper yesterday that she was not aware of the Australian Government’s funding of the life-saving medication and the discontinuation of its funding until last month. The ART has kept her alive for the last 14 years. An Australian High Commission spokesperson told this newspaper yesterday that Australia is not withdrawing support from PNG’s HIV response. “Australia is not withdrawing support from the HIV response in Papua New Guinea. All grants related to HIV/AIDS treatment will continue to the planned conclusion date of 30 June 2017, after which new arrangements will be put in place. We are working with the PNG National Department of Health and other stakeholders to help strengthen PNG’s ability to better and more sustainably deliver health services, including HIV/AIDS and reproductive health programs,” she said.

But the response from the National Government to the looming funding shortfall will be haphazard as its lead agency – the National AIDS Council Secretariat (NACS) – is currently at the center of a tug-of-war between NACS director Peter Bire and the council board. Mr Bire, whose contractor as director expired in March this year but continues to hold himself out as the legitimate appointee, told this newspaper that the Australian High Commission did not consult NACS and relevant State agencies before making its decision and the news is shocking.

The Australian Government Briefing Note states that there were 22,548 PLHIV receiving ART as of mid-2016 in PNG. The cessation of grants from the Australian government will affect 8-10,000 PLHIV.


Australia halts maternal child health initiative in PNG
Post Courier, October 17, 2016

AUSTRALIA has pulled the plug on one of its most successful health programs in PNG which helped to reduce infant mortality rates since 2011. This follows the announcement last Friday of the cessation of AusAID’s partnership with the Government’s maternal child health initiative program. Papua New Guinea Midwifery Society president and Port Moresby General Hospital maternal unit co-ordinator Jennifer Pyakalyia revealed this during the 13th PNG Nurses Research Symposium in Lae last Friday.

Mrs Pyakalyia said there are 73,000 maternal deaths per 100,000 live births in PNG, and this has been the stepping stone for the PNG Government to the MCHI program commencing with AusAid support in collaboration with the Health Department in 2011.

She said the MCHI initiative had brought 11 overseas midwives, two obstetricians and in 2015 a New Zealand midwife to further coach and train midwives and nurses at PMGH, including the building of five midwifery schools that train more than 400 midwives with an average of 80 a year.

She said however, the program ceased this year and she is appealing to the Australian Government to reconsider its decision in ceasing this partnership and continue the relationship with midwives in PNG to work collaboratively in reducing the high mortality rate in the country.

Mrs Pyakalyia said to date, Papua New Guinea tops the list for maternal mortality rates in the Pacific, and is second in the world. She said high mortality rates still remain a challenge in PNG’s health care system currently seen with 800 midwives attending to 250,000 delivery cases annually, which is not good.

Mrs Pyakalyia said the high child mortality rates can only be reduced if there are enough midwifery nurses at all health facilities in PNG.

She said the focus now to reduce infant mortality rates is to develop competent and autonomous clinical midwives to be available in all 89 districts of PNG with the vision of ensuring all pregnant women have access to a safe supervised delivery.


Election 2017: Tribalism, ‘Nere Tere’ & voter exploitation of LPV

19 October 2016

THE EMERGING hype and calculated manoeuvrings in the run-up to the coming national elections of May-June 2017 have brought to light how limited preferential voting (LPV) can be exploited.

LPV was introduced to empower voters to choose candidates without being forced to select just one who would be the favoured candidate of tribe or clan and who must be voted for as an act of loyalty.

But unintentionally, LPV has empowered shrewd voters to find a way to aggrandise themselves during those months leading to the elections. The ‘Nere Tere’ (South Simbu slang for vote selling) system, referred to in a recent article by Mathias Kin, puts venal voters in a good place. They are effectively able to sell their LPV votes. Not once or twice but thrice.

A smart voter can easily make good money given the gullibility of candidates to do anything they can to secure the chance to step into the parliamentary chamber, that which now houses the ‘Big Book’.

There are some voters who can only sell their second and third preference votes. They do not have the liberty to sell first preferences as tribal responsibility binds that one to their tribe’s chosen contestant.

But smarter voters, equipped with slippery tongues and efficient lies, can sell their LPV votes to more than a dozen candidates; praying on the credulity of power-hungry and less vigilant wannabees desperate to buy their way into the Haus Tambaran.

How much a voter earns, monetarily or in kind, is a function of geography. Voters in the upper highlands of Papua New Guinea, with their proverbial sharp teeth, are set to bite away at anything coming their way. Brace yourselves, intending 2017 candidates. The LPV has empowered voters to become selfishly corrupt. It will be an intending candidate’s nightmare but a voter’s golden harvest time. Selling those preference votes multiple times to multiple candidates can yield a rich crop.


Agency to use bicycles to boost outreach activities

October 19, 2016 The National

The Catholic Health Service in Bougainville will introduce bicycles to carry out health programmes in rural areas. The agency has purchased 30 push bikes from Australia for workers to use in outreach activities, mainly immunisation programmes.
In the past years, Catholic Health Service had low immunisation coverage with most of its 13 health facilities reporting below 60 per cent coverage monthly. They are hoping that the bicycles would boost the service. The bikes will be presented to the sisters and officers in charge of respective facilities next month during their annual meeting at Hahela Parish, Buka Island.

‘Let’s show the world we’re as good as anyone,’ says Drekore

21 October 2016

JIMMY Drekore will refer to it as “a nation’s achievement” when, next Thursday, he receives the 2016 World of Children Health Award in New York City.

“Even though it’s Jimmy Drekore receiving the award, I will be proud to represent this beautiful country,” he told the media before leaving Port Moresby for the United States with wife Merlyn In 2005, Mr Drekore founded the Simbu Children Foundation, which strives to provide hope for sick and disadvantaged children. It is a charity that funds airfares, medical costs and expenses for sick village children from Simbu Province to enable them to travel to the city and overseas hospitals for medical tests, operations and other treatments that are unavailable locally.

Mr Drekore was also recognised in 2014 by the Digicel Foundation who gave him PNG’s Man of Honour Award.

In April, he was invited by World of Children to apply for the global award, referred to as the ‘Nobel Prize for Children’s Health’. He was among more than 20,000 nominations from 100 countries screened by 39 judges around the globe. “To convince them, I think, is something this country should be proud of that we are as good as anyone out there,” Mr Drekore said.

“Despite everything else, I think it’s about time there’s a good story being told to the world that we are like the rest of the world, doing something for our people and humanity across the globe.

“All in all, it’s something this country should be proud of,” he said.


An insider’s view on education reform (and corruption) in PNG: an interview with Peter Michael Magury

By Peter Michael Magury and Grant Walton on October 18, 2016

An insider’s view on education reform (and corruption) in PNG: an interview with Peter Michael Magury

What does it take to implement the biggest education reform in PNG’s recent history? As Statistical Manager with PNG’s National Department of Education (NDoE), Peter Michael Magury – who currently works with the PNG National Research Institute (NRI) – is well positioned to answer this question. Peter was in the engine room of education reform as the Tuition Fee Free (TFF) policy rolled out in 2012. In a conversation with the Development Policy Centre’s Grant Walton, Peter reflected on the magnitude of the challenge that faced him and his colleagues, and some of the ways they coped with the complexity, long hours, and even offers of bribes, as they oversaw the roll-out of this large-scale policy.

One of the key challenges the NDoE faced in implementing the TFF was the short timeframe in which they needed to deliver it. As outlined here, Prime Minister Peter O’Neill announced the policy in August 2011, which caught the NDoE by surprise – they’d been planning to increase student enrolments much more slowly. Despite this, the response was quick: by January 2012 the NDoE had released a policy outlining how the TFF would be administered.

This time pressure jolted many in the department into action. To get subsidies for enrolled students out to schools before the start of the school year, Peter and his colleagues spent long days and nights at the office. NDoE officers took turns sleeping at their desks (often without pillows or blankets), while working through the night. While Peter sorted through payments for thousands of schools across the country, he barely saw his family. Dedication of this kind is not generally associated with the PNG public service, but on this occasion many NDoE staff went to extraordinary lengths to get funding to schools.

The tight timeline made explaining the policy to key stakeholders difficult. This resulted in confusion, particularly amongst school management and parents. Peter devoted a lot of time to explaining how the payment would be calculated and how much schools should expect. Yet a number of schools failed to provide enrolment details on which the subsidy payment were to be based, making it difficult for the NDoE to get funding out to schools. Despite these challenges, according to Peter, three-quarters of all schools registered with the NDoE had their funding delivered before the start of the school year, a figure that he claims – and the NRI and ANU’s Lost Decade? report confirms – rose through the first year of implementation (2012). With the promise of more funds and confusion about how subsidies would be calculated, some principals and school managers thought they could influence their allocation. Peter said:

There were a lot of demands coming from principals, and school’s board of management. Sometimes they wanted to get the school fee urgently. And so they would try to give you some money to speed up the process or inflate the fees, so they would get more money.

Despite this pressure Peter insists he did “not accept cash for inflating the TFF [enrolment] counts” (which would result in higher payments); however, he believes many others have been seduced by the lure of a quick kina. The revelation that subsidies worth 50 million kina were paid to ghost schools was, he believes, caused by high levels of collusion between education officials: People in the district, and the province, they knew that those schools were closed or suspended, they still submitted the census forms to get more funds. They also knew that schools without school codes are not registered schools.


Violence activist needs help
Post Courier,
October 26, 2016

GENDER-based violence survivor Joy Wartovo’s help desk needs help.

Joy Wartovo was featured in Post-Courier, in 2012 after her plight to save her two children and herself from her violent policeman husband brought a huge public discussion, including the international community on PNG’s gender-based violence.

The following year, she won the bravery and courage award from the City Pharmacy Pride of PNG Women’s awards. Joy now lives in her home in Raluana village, East New Britain, and has created an outreach program that reaches out to survivors of gender-based violence.

She is not a trained counsellor but calls herself a “brukim bush” counsellor, she’s found home to be a place full of women, girls and children in need of support. Outreach Violence Desk was set up last month.

Prior to that, Ms Wartovo has been counselling victims like close friends and giving advice to people enquiring on complaints they have that needs to be reported. She also helps the illiterate people write up affidavits and statements for their complaints.

“I have had challenges on what I was doing but I knew it was the right thing to do,” she said.

A September workshop on GBV gave her insights through networking with participants on how to help each other set up projects to curb gender violence.

She picked up lots of training on how she could educate the Tolai women and girls on issues relating to gender-based violence, human rights and child abuse, which she says is on the rise in East New Britain Province.

In the lead up to the Universal Children’s Day on November 20, Ms Wartovo is empowered and plans to further educate her community raise awareness about child abuse.

“Where do you go to report if you fall victim to any form of abuse? Who should you seek help for counseling? These are some questions we need to answer.

“We plan to use any possible venues to raise the awareness toward and celebrate.

“My aim is to educate children of all age groups on what child abuse is? Where do you go to report if you fall victim to any form of abuse? Who should you seek help for counseling?” she said.

She said education and awareness starts at home and that is the emphasis she is making.

Ms Wartvo plans to work with schools and raise the awareness with children.


Trafficking in PNG
Post Courier, October 26, 2016

PEOPLE really need to understand the meaning of human trafficking before we can talk about efforts to combat human trafficking.

“Often people think trafficking requires movement because of the name of the crime but actually people don’t need to be moved in order to be subjected to human trafficking.

The technical definition is the use of force, fraud or coercion to exploit a person for profit,” explained Ms Kreider.

“My office, they coordinate the U.S Government’s anti-trafficking efforts but then we also lead our foreign policy efforts to try to help countries all around the world to better combat human trafficking because this is really a problem that happens in every country around the world.”

I’m here this week to meet with the government and nongovernmental organisations and other stakeholders to talk about human trafficking.

“To talk about the law that was passed a couple of years ago and how those efforts are coming in to address the issue and to try help people as they make progress on combatting the crime and to raise awareness to the issue.

“The Criminal Code was amended in 2013 to add an amendment that prohibits all forms of human trafficking. “And that was the first time that all forms of human trafficking were criminalised here in Papua New Guinea.”


Special report


Cheats cheated

The National, October 25

A GROUP of Grade 12 students went on a rampage in their school after realising that the answer sheets they had bought from a man before the national examinations started last week were fake.
Eastern Highlands provincial police commander Superintendent Alex N’Drasal said police were investigating the incident involving the students from Asaroka Secondary School outside Goroka.
He said the students had collected K1000 to buy the answers sheets from the man.
They realised after the completion of the national examinations last Friday that the answers sheets were fake. “They had memorised all the answers and (used them) in their examination papers,” he said.

“So after the examination, they destroyed school properties. The principal called the police. But the students had escaped (when police arrived). We are now investigating the damage and will soon round them up.”  He said reports reaching his office indicated that many Grade 10 and 12 students in the province had been buying fake answer sheets which they thought were genuine.
Meanwhile, N’Drasal said a man arrested earlier for attempting to sell Grade 10 and 12 students at the Lufa Secondary School “answer sheets” had been released from police custody.
Margaret’s Return – Positive Initiative by Catholic Church in Enga

Margaret, from Pina in Enga, was tortured after having been accused of causing a young boy to faint. The boy on recovering said that his fainting had been caused by witchcraft from Margaret.  She was rescued by the diocesan youth coordinator and an expatriate Lutheran Missionary along with help from Bishop Arnold Orowae and Sr. John Mary, FIHM of the Catholic Diocese of Wabag. Margaret was admitted to the Yampu Health Centre with severe burns over much of her body on 29th August 2016. She was discharged from the hospital on 20th September and was given a place to stay in a community near Yampu. On 29th September there was the first attempt at mediation with people at Pina asking how they could solve the issue in a Christian way.  The Diocesan Papa Group coordinator John Yukus and the Diocesan Youth Coordinator worked together to resolve the issue. The Catholic Bishop of Wabag instructed the Catholic faithful to say sorry to Margaret on behalf of their tribe and to welcome her back to the community.

On the 23 October 2016 the Diocesan Papa Group brought Margaret to Pina. The Bishop (in his absence) sent a Deacon with the group and let them use his car. The group included

Diocesan Papa Group Coordinator John Yukus

Pompobus Parish Chairman: Joe Berom

Pompobus Parish:  Lazarus Pitu

Pompobus Parish:  James Pyarangae

Pompobus Parish:  James Pyamban

Sari Parish: Timothy Kurai

Sari Parish: John Pambu

Sari Parish and OMS chair: Anton Yongapen

Deacon Stephen Yange (Sikiro)

Fr. Louis Kandamain – Pina parish

Pina Parish:  Dickson Tanda

Pina Parish:  Andrew Lukas

Par Parish: Petrus Andanda

Pina (Lakopenda Health centre OIC): Ted Dale

At the meeting John Yukus said how he had taken care of Margaret for a month but that it is difficult because he has many children to take care of. He wanted the people of Pina, especially the Sikin clan to take her back to her community.

Anton Yongapen, magistrate with OMS told the people not to do anything against Margaret.  Any concerns should be raised before the court. He warned all people especially the man that, you will be charged or arrested if the matter was taken to court. Therefore, i encourage you not to believe any Sanguma around in your community.

The men’s group told the people at Pina not to believe in “sanguma”.  They urged the people at Pina to do away with belief in sanguma because it is a false belief.  “Our forefathers had no belief in such a thing so we should not believe in such things.”

The brother of the “victim” said sorry to Margaret for what had been done to her. He said he was sorry for what they had done to her because of the sickness of his small brother.  He joined with the others declaring that “sanguma” is a false belief. He gave Margaret one pig, and the Christian community at Pina gave her some money (K100) to support their apology. The deputy chairman of the parish apologised to Margaret for not being around when she was accused in August.  They were elsewhere attending the funeral for a catechist and were not present when she was tortured by some boys from the village.  The church leader gave her K100 along with the apology.  He said that “if anything happens to you Margaret we will die with you. Those who are sanguma believers can kill us all. “

In accepting their apology Margaret said that she had nothing to do with sanguma.  It was people who believed in sanguma who accused and tortured her. “What you did you did it to your own sister. In the eyes of God and the people of God I forgive you for what you did to me your own sister.  I forgive you and I pray that God will forgive you for what you did to me.”  After that she accepted the pig and the money. All people welcomed Margaret with tears and huge her and welcome her back to the community.

A man from the Sikin people said that they were mistaken and they had done wrong.  They conveyed also their apology to Bishop Arnold Orowae.  They asked the Bishop to forgive them and that he could come to Pina again as usual.   They concluded that belief in sanguma is wrong and that if anyone dies and they want to accuse Margaret, that they will take the matter to court. If anyone from neighbouring tribe of Pina dies and try to blame Sikin or accuse  Margaret we will take the matter to court. This warning message must clear and every people living around Aiel valley must understand the cause for the death and do not try to accuse anyone in future.

The head of the local Health Centre said that people in the village are not going to work, but they spend their days playing cards and then they complain that Margaret “did it to us.”  He warned the people of Pina not to talk about sanguma and that they should take people who are sick to the health centre for treatment. He warned that if anything happens let doctors and nurses tell you the cause of the sickness or death.

[Phone interview with Dickson Tanda 24th October 2016]

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