West Papua International Secretariat Headquarters in Port Vila, has confirmed that former President of United Liberation Movement of West Papua (ULMWP) Provisional Government, Mr. Benny Wenda, has been re-elected to his former post by over 5,000 ULMWP delegates at its Congress at Port Numbay on mainland West Papua.
Following his election, Mr. Wenda said, “I am greatly honoured to have been elected as President of the ULMWP Provincial Government at the historic Congress that has just concluded in Port Numbay. I have spoken to Mr. Edison Waromi and know that he is overjoyed to have been elected as Prime Minister.
“We take our mandate from the people very seriously; together, we will continue our work to free our people.
“The Congress is the highest body according tour Constitution. It represents the people’s will, as well as the democracy that we will create once we have liberated our country. I am ready and willing to work with everyone, inside and outside West Papua, including the National Committee for West Papua (KNPB), the Alliance of Papuan students (AMP), all church and religious leaders of every denomination, all our solidarity groups in Indonesia and around the wo4rld, and of course our three founding fathers, the Federal Republic of West Papua (NRFPB), National Coalition for Liberation (WPNCL) and West Papua National Parliament (PNWP).
“As Prime Minister, Mr. Waromi, will work with the seven Regional Executives according to our Constitutional setup. We will also work with our military wing towards a peaceful self-determination referendum mediated by international mechanisms: ultimately, this is the only lasting resolution to the Papua conflict. Together, we will implement our Constitution and peacefully gain our freedom. Our strength comes from our unity: one people, one soul.”
President Wenda continued, “Observing the Congress in Port Numbay, I am reminded of the Papua People’s Congress in 2000. I was present at that extraordinary event, working to mobilise the people. For my actions I was put in prison. I was able to escape – but many of our leaders, including Theys Eluay, were killed or imprisoned. We failed to win liberation, but our mobilisation was a major step forward. Our struggle must recognise and celebrate all major congresses in our history: 1961, 2000, 2011 and now 2023. As the first Congress in the history of the ULMWP, this is an historic milestone in our journey towards sovereignty and statehood.
“As the highest body in our Constitution, the Resolutions issued by Congress supersede and dissolve the previous legal basis of the ULMWP. They must be respected by all parties. I welcome the Congress Resolutions, including the important recommitment to our roadmap of securing a UN visit to West Papua and gaining full membership of the Melanesian Spearhead Group (MSG). Our mission is clear and our spirit is strong. We are getting closer to achieving our goals, and I welcome the Communiqués supporting a UN visit issued by the Pacific Islands Forum (PIF), Organisation of African, Caribbean, and Pacific States (OACPS), and most recently the MSG. We will work together with every group, especially the KNPB and Alliance of Papua Students to find a solution.
“I call on all West Papuans, whether in the cities, the highlands, in prison, exile or living as guerillas in the bush, to support our Congress and support the ULMWP and achieving our goal of peacefully winning our freedom.”
Confirming his reappointment, Port Vila resident West Papuan Head of Foreign Mission, Mr. Freddy Warome said what this means is that the recent ULMWP Summit in Port Vila, which elected its new Executive headed by Mr. Manase Tabuni to succeed Mr. Wenda as the next President, is now null and void.
The Head of Foreign Mission said all seven regions of West Papua were not happy when they learned that members of the former Executive unilaterally invited a group of Indonesians to attend the Melanesian Arts Festival in Port Vila without any knowledge of the ULMWP Executive in West Papua, and that on their return home, the newly elected Executive led by Mr. Tabuni, spent two weeks in Indonesia.
Speaking from London, Mr. Wenda assured the Vanuatu Government, National Council of Chiefs, SHEFA Council of Chiefs and Provincial Government Council, Vanuatu Christian Council, Vanuatu Free West Papua Association and people of Vanuatu that all institutions of support for the West Papua Struggle for Freedom, are back in place.
Ni-Vanuatu Deputy Foreign Affairs Minister of ULMWP, Mr. Morris Kaloran remains in his post.
Mr. Warome said if it is true that the West Papua flag is no longer flying opposite the SHEFA Provincial flag then it is his hope that it will be hoisted again to confirm the Melanesian relationship agreed to by the two sides.