Category Archives: PNG NGE 2017

Elections Review: Highlands Region

Journalist Freddy Mou witnessed firsthand the volatile situation of elections in the Highlands.

This is his summary of elections in the Highlands.

The campaign period in the Highlands region is always a time to showcase the sort of leaders a tribe has.

This is when pigs, cows and other livestock are slaughtered, with celebrations after celebrations held at various campaign venues by candidates to try and lure voters.

As described by bishops and Diocesan Secretaries of the four Highlands Dioceses in their Annual Regional Secretaries Meeting earlier this year, elections in the region have never been free, fair and transparent.

The people of the region have suffered and many have been routinely denied services.

Only a minority have benefited while the common people struggle to make ends meet.

While elections in the Highlands is known for its fiesta, mandating a leader always involved violence and corrupt dealings, requiring more security.

Security personnel engaged for the elections were mainly focused on the Highlands.

Police Commissioner Gari Baki, in a meeting with government departmental heads before the campaign period, said there were still issues in the Highlands which needed close attention.

He cautioned that for the past five years, provinces such as Southern Highlands witnessed peace but this did not mean there would be no threats or disruptions during the election period.

As reported, no election related violence occurred during the campaign period but a large sum of cash was involved.

Heading into and during polling, a lot of issues were raised by concerned candidates and supporters.

These involved the electoral roll update, polling venues and others.

Bulk voting and underage voting was also witnessed in some parts of the Highlands region.

Even though security personnel were present at the polling venues, nothing was done to stop such practices.

A candidate in the Goroka Open seat posted pictures on social media alleging that people were voting at will, without any control from the polling officials.

However, Provincial Election Manager Steven Kaupa brushed aside the allegations.

Kaupa, when asked about the claims, said the presiding officer, at that time, allowed that to happen in order to complete polling on time.

Furthermore, the rugged terrain of some remote areas in the Highlands region is always a challenge to the Electoral Commission when conducting polling.

Most of the provinces in the region did not complete polling on time as scheduled because of such.

An issue that grabbed the public’s attention is now before the court: Sunday polling.

Prime Minister Peter O’Neill’s Ialibu-Pangia electorate was one of the areas implicated in this.

However, Ialibu-Pangia Returning Officer Michael Ariando explained that due to time constraints, he had to allow for Sunday polling with the advice from Election Manager David Wakias and Electoral Commissioner Patilias Gamato.

Counting was also one of the scrutinised areas where candidates and scrutineers were on alert.

Rumours of election officials allegedly being bribed during counting was the ‘talk of the day’.

However, despite criticisms, Tari-Pori electorate in Hela Province was the first to declare its MP.

Returning Officer for Tari, Jack Walara, declared James Marape at 11:30am on July 9 in Tari, Hela Province.

Walara confirmed that Marape reached the absolute majority of 50% + 1, collecting 30,192 votes.

One of the counting venues that had raised its standards, in terms of security, was the counting venue for Eastern Highlands Province. The area was fitted with surveillance cameras all around the centre.

Declarations have been made on time for most Highlands provinces but only a few that were marred with election-related violence were prolonged. These provinces include; Kandep Open in Enga, Kundiawa in Simbu, Eastern Highlands regional, Southern Highlands regional and Simbu provincial.

Wabag town in Enga Province turned into a battlefield one Saturday morning on July 22, when supporters of two candidates confronted each other with high-powered guns. This followed the attempted murder of Kandep district returning officer Ben Besawe and other officials.

Eyewitnesses and security personnel said Besawe and two other election officials were shot at in front of a guest house at Wabag town.

This occurred while they were preparing to make their way to the counting venue at Wabag Primary School.

The incident led to a clash between supporters of two candidates from Kandep, who have been at loggerheads over election-related matters.

In Kundiawa, Simbu Province, three people are dead and several others hospitalised after a riot broke out in the counting centre. The incident occurred at around 7am on Sunday, July 30, 2017.

It was alleged that supporters of incumbent MP Tobias Kulang tried to enter the counting centre when they were stopped by members of the public, which then led to a big fight.

Many election related incidents have occurred in other areas but have remained unreported.

Now that all declarations have been made, except for Southern Highlands regional, and MPs elect have signed the declaration of loyalty to serve the people and the Independent State of PNG, election petitions will most likely increase to challenge the victory of the elected leaders.

(Loop file pic of protest in Enga)

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New Members of Parliament undergo induction programme

            Main Stories

PARLIAMENT held this week a five-day induction programme for newly-elected MPs.
Acting Clerk to Parliament Kala Aufa said 53 MPs, including a few of the returning ones, attended.

 
On the first day, parliament management and staff briefed the PMs on the parliamentary services, including the chamber and administration.

 
There were also presentations by the Ombudsman Commission, Constitutional Law Reform Commission and Transparency International.
Various government departments and representatives of the business community also addressed the MPs.

 
Yesterday, the MPs toured the PNG LNG processing site at Papa Lealea.
Today, development partners, led by the Foreign Affairs Department, will address the MPs.

 

mps

http://www.thenational.com.pg/new-mps-undergo-induction-programme/

Court Reserves Ruling On Gumine Case

Sally Pokiton

 

The Waigani National Court has reserved its ruling on two applications that was moved this afternoon surrounding the legal declaration of the Gumine seat.

Presiding judge, Justice Collin Makail this afternoon heard the two applications that was moved by lawyers representing Dawa Lucas Dekena and Nick Kuman.

The case returned following the restraining orders that were issued on Aug 2, stopping Kuman from making the declaration of office taking part in the election of the Speaker and Prime Minister.

However, the restraining orders were not served in time to the Speaker and Clerk of Parliament, in order for it to take effect against Kuman.

The orders were issued at 11:50am, Kuman made declaration at 12:03pm

Dekena’s lawers submitted in court today that the original writ that was issued by the Electoral Commission on April 20, was signed by Max Yomba, the appointed Returning officer.

It was also put before the court that another writ, issued on April 26, was the one issued by Freddy Yuan.

Lawyer for the Electoral Commission told the court that the application by Dekena’s lawyers should be refused in order to maintain the status-quo, as Kuman has already made the declaration of office.

Kuman’s lawyer at the same time this afternoon, also asked the court to dismiss the case, sighting unreasonable cause of action by Dekena as his client has already been sworn in.

His lawyer said that the case is an abuse of process now that a member has been declared and the only way to challenge the result is by way of election petition.

But Greg Egan, who represented Dekena said it is important that the duly elected member for Gumine represent them on the floor of parliament.

He also asked for an expedited hearing of the case.

Counting for the seat ended on July 26, however the declaration was made two days later on “different results”.

 

 

http://www.looppng.com/png-news/court-reserves-ruling-gumine-case-64878

Ialibu-Pangia Deferred to Sunday

Report from Pangia

Election polling dates have been deferred in Ialibu-Pangia due to discrepancies where one of the five LLGs was discovered to have been left out from the 2017 Electoral Commission list of polling locations in the PM’s electorate.

Kuara LLG is one of the five LLGs in Ialibu-Pangia, that includes East Pangia Rural, Ialibu Urban, Kewali Rural and South Wiru Rural, that was left out from the Electoral Commission’s listing of polling locations in 2017.

Candidates contesting for Ialibu-Pangia Open have agreed to the decision for Electoral Commission to print a new list that includes Kuara LLG prior to the commencement of polling tomorrow Sunday July 2, 2017.

The end

NCD Polling Officials to be Paid First

PNG Electoral Commissioner Patalias Gamato said the reason for the delay with polling in NCD was due to outstanding payments owed to polling officials in the capital.

He said polling officials refused to start work and demanded payment of their allowances first before polling that caused disruption through the city this morning.

Electoral Commission intended to pay the polling officials today and differed the polling date to Friday 29th June 2017. Further confusion spread in the city after NCD police confiscated K184,300 in election polling allowances from NCD Election Manager, Mr Terence Hetinu after he was suspected by police for carrying cash without any security escort in Port Moresby this morning.

Apparently, polling in one part of the city went ahead on schedule before a decision was made later in the day for polling in NCD to be postponed to Friday. About a thousand ballot papers were confiscated and taken to Boroko Police Station under the watchful eyes of NCD Deputy Election Manager Ms Roselyn Tabogani and also assistant North East Electorate Returning Officer.

Mr Gamato appealed to people in NCD to remain calm and wait until Friday to cast their votes.

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Gamato: Ballot Papers and Confiscated Cash Legal

Electoral Commission Mr. Patilias Gamato confirmed during press conference this afternoon that all ballot papers and cash confiscated by police from Electoral Commission managers in Port Moresby were legal and part of the Commission’s internal operations.

Mr Gamato explained that K184,300 in cash confiscated and counted at Boroko Police Station were payments intended to pay polling officials working at various polling locations in NCD.

He also confirmed that over a thousand ballot papers used at a polling location in NCD was legal, however were confiscated and taken to Boroko Police station after the announcement of deferred elections for NCD was moved to Friday.

The End

All polling materials delivered!

Charles Yapumi 

Sensitive polling materials have been airlifted to all provinces in the country a week before the polls.

“All sensitive election materials are now in the provinces and being sorted out for distribution to each electorate, LLG and ward in preparation for polling,” says Electoral Commissioner Patilias Gamato.

These include ballot papers, candidate posters, polling schedules, CUG mobile phones for polling teams, indelible inks and electoral rolls.

Non-sensitive election materials such as polling kits, voting compartments, seals and stationery were sent via shipping to all provinces earlier.

Sensitive election materials for New Guinea Islands, Momase and Southern Regions were dispatched the previous week while the exercise for the Highlands Region started on Friday and was completed yesterday (Saturday).

“As of yesterday, Saturday 17 June, the last sensitive election materials were dispatched by the Australian Defence Force (ADF) C-130 military aircraft,” Gamato said.

“Yesterday, there were three flights out of Port Moresby from the PNGDF Air Transport Squadron by the ADF C-130 aircraft – early morning flight delivered sensitive election materials for Jiwaka and Chimbu via Mt. Hagen.

“The aircraft then returned before midday to pick up materials for Eastern Highlands and Hela.

“The last delivery yesterday afternoon was to Tari and was expected to have arrived by 2:30pm.

“In total, the ADF moved 45,661 kilograms of sensitive election materials over the last seven days from Port Moresby to provincial centres nationwide.”

The 14 days of nationwide polling will start on June 24.

(File picture)

 

http://www.looppng.com/elections/all-polling-materials-delivered-61111

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