Today is the 14th Anniversary of the passing of the late Hon. Joseph Canisius Kabui, the first President of the Autonomous Bougainville Government.
I pay tribute to a Bougainvillean patriot, a hero of the revolution, and a political icon of Bougainville.
The Late Hon President Joseph Kabui was a man who committed his whole life to serving Bougainville and its people as a leader. He was a champion of indigenous rights and political freedom for our people. He embraced this as a vocation and he undertook it with complete dedication throughout his life as Premier of Bougainville, revolutionary leader in the Bougainville Revolutionary Army High Command and the President of the Autonomous Region of Bougainville.
As a political leader his lasting legacy will be the peace Bougainville has come to know after a bloody 10-year civil war and the brave steps he took as the inaugural President of the Autonomous Bougainville Government. He was a key figure of Bougainville who negotiated peace for Bougainville with the National Government of Papua New Guinea. He was the foremost signatory of the Bougainville side in signing the Bougainville Peace Agreement which guides us today towards independence. As a man of peace he encouraged peace by peaceful means that formed the basis of peace on Bougainville through reconciliation and forgiveness.
As President of Bougainville I pay tribute to the Late Hon. Joseph Canisius Kabui, who gave all his life to Bougainville until his dying breath. I pay tribute to my political mentor who taught me that the will of a man fighting for justice and freedom is far greater than any oppressive force.
In remembrance of the Late President Hon. Joseph Canisius Kabui, God Bless Bougainville.
Hon. Ishmael Toroama, MHR
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