April 6, 2022
Prime Minister James Marape and Bougainville President Ishmael Toroama have signed the Era Kone Covenant which now paves the way for ratification of the 2019 referendum results leading to Bougainville’s independence.
The Era Kone Covenant is a significant milestone in this journey for both governments as it captures all aspects of the 97.7 per cent referendum results and the post-referendum consultations.
The decision to initiate the Era Kone Covenant was agreed last December by the Autonomous Bougainville Government and the National Government for it to guide the process for the results of the referendum and the joint consultations.
Mr Toroama said at the signing yesterday that the covenant now give effect to Section 342 of the National Constitution and thanked Mr Marape for the National Government’s commitment in this regard.
“I want to express my very sincere gratitude for your undivided leadership, perseverance and commitment on this journey in giving effect to Section 342 of the National Constitution which commits both governments to consult on the referendum result,” he said.
He expressed the intention to bring the Era Kone Covenant and the referendum results before the 11th parliament next year 2023 given the political tenures of both governments.
Mr Marape noted in agreement the importance of the Era Kone Covenant and pledged the support of the PNG government
“I reaffirm our agreement to determining a political settlement for Bougainville earlier than 2025 and no later than 2027 and that the Era Kone Covenant sets the pathway and acts as the indicative guide toward the political settlement for Bougainville by the 11th National Parliament” he said.
Following the covenant signing both parties will endorse the covenant through the respective executive councils and then the technical teams from both governments will draft the constitutional regulation which will carries the road map towards independence.
Mr Marape reassured Mr Toroama that despite the national elections coming up, the Era Kone Covenant now tied any PNG Parliament from hereafter to continue addressing the Bougainvillea referendum.