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30 April 2014


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I have a better idea. If the houses were destroyed by BRA elements why don't we get them and their commanders to rebuild them as part of the much talked about reconciliation process. In that way we can get them to feel and take responsibility for their actions. Empty words won't restore the victims to the position they were so for reconciliation to have real meaning to victims the perpetrators must do something tangible for their victims. But of course the government can assume responsibility for the excesses and unlawful acts of its agents.


I am always bemused by the way chiefs always readily assume or are ascribed as Paramount Chiefs , so much so that in a single COE, COC or even a village you would find several Paramount Chiefs from one major clan. My understanding of the term or title is that such person is the Chief of other chiefs as it were. Ideally then one can only qualify to be a Paramount Chief if you have other chiefs under you. For instance, of the major clans in Buka such as the Naboin and Nakaripa which as we know have numerous sub-clans and lineages under them, if there was an acknowledged overall chief, then such a person can rightly be called the Paramount Chief of all the Nakaripa or the Naboin as the case maybe. If there is no such a person then you are simply an ordinary chief of your sub-clan or lineage.

Take a cue from the Trobriand Islands where the Paramount Chieftaincy system is practised. The islands are matrilineal like most of Bougainville. They have matrilineal clan chiefs but they only have one Paramount hereditary Chief and basically every other chief owes his allegiance to this one man.

Perhaps the time is ripe for us to correct this practice of conferring customary title that has obviously gone wrong or misapplied in the recent past. Otherwise we will end up having too many paramount chiefs without any under-chiefs. Samting blong yupela ol chiefs long tingim na stretim.

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