Natuman congratulates Wenda on election
By Len Garae Feb 9, 2024
Former Prime Minister Mr. Joe Natuman (left) congratulates President Benny Wenda (right) while former first President Mr. George Sokomanu cements the handshake with his presence
By Len Garae
A former Prime Minister (PM), Mr. Joe Natuman whose Government had funded the first arrival of West Papua delegates to unite under the umbrella of the Malvatumauri National Council of Chiefs, to give breath to the first ever United Liberation Movement of West Papua (ULMWP) anywhere outside West Papua, has congratulated the Interim President of ULMWP, Mr. Benny Wenda, on his unanimous election by over 5,000 delegates from the seven Regions of West Papua to his present status as their President.
The President was mandated by over 5,000 of his indigenous West Papuans on his current roadmap during the first ULMWP Congress in Jayapura from November 20 to 23 last year.
In his words of gratitude, Mr. Wenda thanked the former PM as well as the country’s former first President, Mr. George Sokomanu and all other original leaders in the audience who under the late Father Walter Lini, had kept the fire burning by fanning the flame for freedom of all remaining Melanesian countries to become free from the most hated word “colonialism”.
Mr. Wenda thanked the chiefs, churches and Government and people for their steadfast stand for the freedom of West Papua.
Speaking with more confidence this time on his latest visit, Mr. Wenda spoke of Melanesian power of light at the end of the tunnel for eventual West Papua freedom.
He said through the unfailing support from the people of Vanuatu, as the President of West Papua, he is already feeling the burden of weight on his shoulders begin to shift towards brighter days coming for his people and country.
“This is why while I am here, it is a moral duty for all of us Melanesian leaders to wake up to educate the rest of the Melanesian people now while there is still time,” he said.
“We have all our sovereign documents including our Constitution to lead us to achieve our freedom.
“The world must trust us and Pacific Leaders must trust us.
“We are ready to take our destiny in our hands to govern our own affairs.
“West Papua freedom is Melanesian freedom. As long as West Papua continues to suffer, Melanesia also suffers.
“The tears of West Papua are still dropping. That is why I am pleading with you to continue to see eye to eye with us.
“Prime Minister Edison Waromi and I are handing over our Melanesian struggle to you chiefs and people of Vanuatu because our struggle is your struggle.
“Thank you SHEFA Provincial Government for adopting West Papua. I am now at home.
“I have come home to the nakamal of West Papua”.
The President said West Papua is a land filled with milk and honey but that somebody else is stealing its wealth.
Standing in the SHEFA Matnapuka Chamber, the President said with its adoption by Shefa, his country is prepared to share its milk and honey.
He described their adoption by Shefa Province as a long term commitment.
He called on Vanuatu and Melanesian Spearhead Group (MSG) to allow ULMWP full membership in line with the Melanesian spirit of oneness.
In his remarks, Mr. Natuman confirmed, “When I was Prime Minister, we funded the biggest West Papua delegates to come to Port Vila where ULMWP was born.
“When Father Lini was Prime Minister, we set up a similar body for New Caledonia called FLNKS. With the formation of ULMWP, we succeeded in setting up the second mechanism to achieve the same goal.
“Mr. Benny Wenda, I warmly congratulate you on your election.
“I am glad that your own people in West Papua have given you this mandate.
“Let me add by saying that the Indonesians were colonised by the Japanese so basically it was a Japanese hangover which Jakarta adopted to introduce into West Papua.”
Mr. Natuman reminded President Wenda of the importance of unity.
“Unity is the key. We in Vanuatu were united through unity. We conquered the Santo rebellion and achieved our sovereignty and sent Britain and France to pack up and leave quickly,” he said.