Papua New Guinea
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No to cemeteryland requests

Motu Koitabuans, the traditional landlords of Port Moresby, have been over generous.

They have already ceded enough land for the development of the capital of Port Moresby.

Their generosity has been mistaken as a weakness and abused by foreigners who continue to steal land that belongs to the locals, either by force, illegal land grabbing or purchasing land at well below market price through cohesions or outright threats.

Squatter settlements have overtaken their gardening land, illegal shacks and sheds have popped up from under shrubs on MK land, and the NCDC, police and Lands Department have turned a blind eye to the plight of the traditional landowners.

The MK people are helpless as they watch their children’s future vanish to an expanding overpopulated and violence wreaked city, which is surprising touted as Amazing Moresby.

Last week, the MK landowners received a rather absurd request: give us more land to bury the dead citizens of Port Moresby.

It seems the 9 mile cemetery has run out of burial plots. But where are the dead from? And what was their contribution to the nation for them to be buried in the city?

The yielding of more land from the MKs should be conditional. The MK leadership should by now wake up from the Hiri Moale slumber and really analyse where they are now and where they are heading as far as their future generations are concerned.

The answer to the NCDC’s request should be a firm NO! Yes, we have reported enough land theft in our paper, of MK people being misappropriated of their land by corrupt government officials working the kick-back scam with foreigners.

Now is the right time for MKs to rise up and take back what is rightfully theirs. Consider Moresby as a gold mine.

The landowners should rightfully own and operate all the business spinoffs in Port Moresby, from taxies, buses, security services, tucker boxes to secondhand clothes and so on.

They have the chance now to put their foot down and stop any more land grabbing.

The deputy Governor and son of Motu Koita Dadi Toka Jnr should bring the following demands to the attention of the Prime Minister and the NCDC Governor Powes Parkop.

And we consider the following requests as fair considering how badly the MKs have been treated on their own land.

We believe that after nearly 50 years, it’s time for a greater portion of bus services should be given over to MKs. Security services, tucker boxes, second-hand clothing should at least have partnership with MKs.

And the most important stand to be taken: to ease pressure on burial cemeteries, foreigners including Papua New Guineans from other parts of the country, should consider cremation as an alternative source.

If these option is not considered, then the government must seriously re-enact the Vagrancy Act and remove all unnecessary and unemployed people from Port Moresby.

The MKs have had enough. It is time for the government to listen to their side of the story.

Should the government not consider their dilemma, then the MKs should own and operate public cemeteries and put a price on burial plots.

That is a fair bargain, it is their land after all!