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Reports of major election failures in Hela Province


EYEWITNESSES REPORT THAT history has repeated itself in the southern highlands elections in the new Hela Province, getting Papua New Guinea’s national election off to a very bad start.

Ballot boxes and voting papers have been hijacked, destroyed or signed by candidates and supporters, who have been filling them out at will.

Security personnel are too thin on the ground, fearful for their own safety and obviously useless.

The new province will now be under the control of crooks and thugs, not properly elected leaders.

This is a disaster for the people of Hela. They must take responsibility for what happened but it is a very sad day for Hela.

The Hela poll must now be declared a failed election and the province prepared for proper by-elections later in the year.

How many other highlands provinces will also be like this? This is the failed 2002 national elections all over again?

People did not vote in Hela and certain candidates and the PNG Electoral Commission must be help responsible for the poor planning and conduct of the election operations.


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Peter Aimos

Hello, Damien old mate. Good to know that you're in Brisbane If you are undergoing treatment due to some ailment, then I wish you speedy recovery.

You have been one of the quiet achievers and have always been a strong advocate for the granting of provincial status to Hela.

I understand your hurt and shame about what has happened there.

I do pray that any unfair act that has taken place be dealt with decisively for the sake of the majority of decent Hela citizens including yourself. God bless.

Damien Arabagali LM

The end does not justify the means. We fought 36 years for a province where there will brotherly concern for each other.

I am in Brisbane Prince Charles Hospital and I am ashamed that greed has taken over my people.

There must be a by-election if rights of a single voter have being denied to vote freely.

Bernard Yegiora

Such is the beautify of social media. You can tell a rosy lie and people will buy it.

Harry Topham

Matata - Reassuring to know that the authorities have learnt from past mistakes and have put security systems in place to circumvent possible electoral fraud but remembering that old adage, “what man makes, man can break”, requires reinforcing the new systems with prosecutions when any fraud is detected.

To your comments regarding hysteria emanating from the news media and commentators it would seems that the only hysteria than seems be to surfacing at this stage seems to be coming the pollies themselves.

David Kitchnoge

PNG will not be held back by stupid and animalistic behaviour of a few hooligans.

We will proceed with our elections and these guys can sort their electorate out once they are done with killing each other.

What's the point of all this madness!

Phil Fitzpatrick

Apart from the establishment of an independent and strong anti-corruption body, the ending of money politics, particularly during election campaigns, is maybe the one thing that will get PNG back on track.

Abolish the pollies discretionary fund and make it illegal to throw money, booze and anything else around - both during normal times and particularly during elections.

Matate Morola

The electoral commissioner has reportedly stated that ballot papers have multiple security features and therefore fake ballots can be detected and weeded out.

Hopefully this is both true and effective. No doubt there will be a lot of disputed returns and some by-elections will be called after the results are announced.

Overall though holding elections is a good thing and as long as the courts are free to adjudicate post election the majority of seats should have a fair result.

No election in any country is perfect. It is easy to get trapped in a cycle of negativity which does not allow us to focus on the positive aspects of democracy in action. The media and commentators should refrain from inducing hysteria when it is not justified.

Lessons need to be learnt and the focus for the future needs to be on reforms to eliminate as many of the imperfections in the election processes as possible.

Hopefully by the next election technologies such as biometric identification will be available to improve things.

The money politics also needs to be stopped by the introduction of restrictions on campaign funding, and by the formation of a strong and independent anti corruption body.

Colin Huggins

I agree Harry. However, I don't think it was only Qld politicans. Rocket science has nothing on these shenanigans.

Reg, mate. You would know, was this Jeffrey Nape in Copenhagen 2009 also? This dishing out of "government loot" to be re-elected is bordering on the blasphemous.

It was good to see that in the Editorial of the Australian, the second article was on "PNG's Fresh chance of stability" took precedence over the third article, "Black Caviar did us proud". I bet pounds to peanuts that more people will read the third article and completely dismiss the second.

I tried this out today, showing friends at my "watering hole" the editorial. Ah they all said - "Yep she, Black Caviar did us proud". Not one mention of article #2.

Unfortunately people down here, only know of PNG from the Kokoda Track. If they can trek it, well that is a feather in their caps. Otherwise, they fly over PNG enroute to Japan, the Phillippines, Hong Kong, the PRC to view tombs and walls, and South Korea to Seoul, where the flights from Seoul to European destinations are cheaper than using the Singapore or Bangkok alternatives.

Good luck Reg, mate. You'll need plenty of it to get a decent result. Just keep us all updated with what is REALLY happening. Observers or no observers from Commonwealth nations. Seems strange no UN observers.

Harry Topham

Reg - Not rocket science if at counting there are more votes cast than there are eligible voters then if not possible to validate legal votes then a by by election should be called.

As a former Qld politician once said- We will keep on having elections till they get it right.

He was not referring to improprities but being cynical that the voters must re-elect his government.

Reginald Renagi

There are some credible local reports coming in now that Jeffrey Nape has been dishing out an average of K200,000 hard cash per council ward in the electorate. The public institutions that are supposed to curb such illegal practices all seems impotent at this stage to even make some noise or take the required enforcement action.

Reginald Renagi

40,000 illegal ballot papers brought in under current MP ordered from China, busted by PNGDF at Lae Wharf on Friday, could be tip of iceberg n other desperates doing similar. More irregularities and illegal activities brewing in the highlands. Source: John LP Schmidt on Face Book's Sharp Talk forum.

Reginald Renagi

Like every election every five years, this sorts of incidents happen in parts of the highlands region. The RPNGC and the PNGDF are very thinly stretched on the ground and can't be everywhere where there may be incidents like this happening. The one day polling is not a very effective way to ensure the elections are fair as many thousands of people will still miss out and more blame will be placed on the Electoral Commission. Well we just have to wait for what the news papers will say on the polls update in tomorrow's papers.

Reginald Renagi

The national general elections will not be a free and fair elections by any means...electoral officials and security forces will still be bribed as this is a very high stakes games and certain candidates and their supporters will stop at nothing to get their crooks into the house. Regardless of what the EC or other government authorities will say, there will still be instances of widespread electoral fraud in the 2012 national general elections. The EC and the government has to date not yet solve what has happened in previous elections before and will happen again. For example, illegal block voting is happening now and the security forces are hamstrung by resource constraints to be everywhere to monitor all polling stations.

Harry Topham

Reg - Might be a rather naive observation but surely the simple check balance of ensuring that election voting papers are initialed on the back of paper by the returning officers prior to lodgement in boxes.

If so done then it would not be too difficult the to identify bogus voting slips and any voting papers not duly countersigned would be judged to be invalid?

I also recall reading that the PNG electoral authorities were also going to have voters finger marked to prevent double dipping, is this the case?

Colin Huggins

"Not good reading is it, Reg? Bits and pieces of coverage is reported here on the initial results, I
guess things will "hot" up soon.

It will all get some coverage as the elections proceed in the Australian press and TV. But what can Australia do, but look on. I would think that former Administrators of PNG before Independence, former Australian Ministers for Territories (most are now
dead), and Sir John Guise, the only one who really deserved a Knighthood must all be spinning in their graves!

What happens if this is PNG-wide? I don't suppose there are UN observers to see what is happening, and if so what will happen?

I think the root cause of all this shenanigans started due to the delegation of 40, under the Somare regime, to Copenhagen. I don't think the PNG delegation was too interested in climate change, just advice from the likes of Mugabe, who from memory was shunned by the Western world leaders, but Somare had a few meetings, didn't he?

Just read it all here.

Note the final piece. "Read the entire news summary from Business Roundtable in Beijing here". Beijing eh?

And aren't the Chinese (PRC) with their mining contracts etc. still polluting PNG?

Also, I think the "infamous" Falcon 900 executive jet appeared on the scene just after Copenhagen. Climate change be damned, for some it was on "how to hang onto power".

There are Commonwealth election observers present in PNG and no reports of election disturbances from anywhere else in the country - KJ

Paul Oates

Martyn Namarong is reporting on his blog that these are just rumours circulating Moresby on social media. Police on the ground in Hela have no such reports.

Who do you believe?

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