About Early Election Campaigns
There are smart people here on Facebook who say there is no law against early campaigning. They say that it is not a crime to conduct early campaigning and so Facebook and even Sharp Talk is rife with early election campaigns some of them disguised as public awareness posts on matters or law etc.
As a fellow administrator of Sharp Talk, here is my view on early campaigning.
First, I see it as an offense against good order and I think this is punishable under law at least under “disturbance of the peace”.
Now on to the good order which I think early campaigning disturbs:
In every Commonwealth nation, a system of law and good order is established so that people are able to interact together in a civilized manner.
Elections for instance are a time of inter-community struggle for political power and therefore are only conducted after the issuance of writs by an appointed authority which in Papua New Guinea is the Electoral Commission.
Some observers claim that Electoral Commissioner Patilias Gamato, has no mechanism under which he can prosecute political parties and their members for early campaigning. This is wrong. Of course he can prosecute.
An election period is a special period and the Electoral Commissioner would be expected to be able to lay criminal charges under the criminal code.
Should the Electoral Commissioner, feel that the carriage of his duties have been severely hampered by acts of early campaigning, he would be well within his rights and powers to charge political parties and their members even for treason, under :
PART II – OFFENCES AGAINST PUBLIC ORDER.
Section 44 of the Criminal Code:
44. Definition of seditious intentions.
Subject to Section 45, an intention –
(a) to bring the Queen and Head of State into hatred or contempt; or
(b) to excite the disaffection against –
(i) the Queen and Head of State, the National Government or the Constitution as by law established; or
(ii) the Parliament; or
(iii) the administration of justice; or
(c) to excite the inhabitants of Papua New Guinea to attempt to procure the alteration of any matter in Papua New Guinea as by law established otherwise than by lawful means; or
(d) to raise discontent or disaffection amongst inhabitants of Papua New Guinea; or
(e) to promote feelings of ill-will and enmity between different classes of the inhabitants of Papua New Guinea,
is a seditious intention.
Tok Save Tasol
NOKEN SURUKIM BAUNDRI TUMAS ..!
Issue of Writs is on Thursday 20th April 2017.
Happy, Vigorous National Elections to Papua New Guinea.
Please remember to struggle according to your own legitimate expectations but within your fullest rights and limitations as a Papua New Guinean citizen.
Martin Maden via Sharp Talk April 13, 2017 11.08 am