Long-serving taxman John Lohberger dies
PNG's ill-prepared election has a shaky start

Election: “Highest level of incompetency!”

The elections in Papua New Guinea have barely begun and they’re already in big trouble. But when that trouble reaches into the national capital itself, the venerable PNG Post-Courier newspaper goes ballistic

Tari officials check two ballot boxes arriving in Tari from Komo-Hulia District (Miriam Zarriga  PNG Post-Courier)
Tari officials check two ballot boxes arriving in Tari from Komo-Hulia District (Miriam Zarriga,  PNG Post-Courier)

| PNG Post-Courier

PORT MORESBY - The headline of this editorial, ‘Disgrace!’, we believe, expresses what every eligible voter, business house and candidate in the nation’s capital feels towards the Electoral Commission of PNG.

To make a decision like this, the deferral of polling, at the very last minute on the day when this important event is to take place is absurd.

Cover of Thursday's PNG Post-Courier - 'Disgrace!'It’s costly and creates an impression that our electoral process is dysfunctional in the eyes our citizens and the international community.

The explanation by the Election Manager for National Capital District, Kila Ralai, citing interference from candidates and their scrutineers on the deferral is very weak and doesn’t hold water.

He was quoted as saying: “Unfortunately in that process there was interference, by the candidates and the scrutineers who came to over-rule the administration of the electoral process that has prolonged the election operations.”

However, he goes on further and says: “We need to maintain our integrity, we need to maintain that integrity and the efficient process of the elections, so that we can deliver the elections to our voters.

“It is not good that we will push when the systems are not in place when the process is not prepared, we need to have all these before we conduct elections for NCD.”

Our question is: So what systems are not in place and whose job is it to prepare so that the integrity of the election is maintained?

The excuse made for the initial deferral from July 4-6 and now from 6th to maybe 8th of July is completely unacceptable.

And we endorse the sentiments of NCD Governor Powes Parkop and many other candidates who said: “Securing counting venues and preparing polling officials, ballot boxes and ballot papers are basic outcomes that the Chief Electoral Commissioner and his staff should have sorted out well before the 4th or 6th of July.

“These are basic issues they ought to have templates and be experts in these areas by now.

This basic failure shows the highest level of incompetency and someone should be brought to account for this level of incompetency which is bordering on stupidity.”

This basic failure shows poor level of leadership, poor planning and total incompetency on the part of Chief Electoral Commissioner and his officers.

They ought to hang their heads in shame!

For our capital city to be continuously subjected to such basic problems is totally unacceptable! It reflects badly on the Electoral Commission, our capital city and our country.

The Electoral Commission had four years and then a number of weeks due to deferral of the Issue of Writs and then two more days and they are still unprepared.


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Arthur Williams

I mention what is happening to folk here and they don't really believe me.

Mind it is not only the 3rd world. Read an article today on what happened in Texas earlier this year as they prepare for the mid-term elections. here are some snippets:

2022/07/15 Another threat to 2022 elections - A lack of paper in Texas for new Forms in time for (mid-term) elections by Aaron Mendelson www.publicintegrity.org

Shortages have already affected voter registration efforts. Could they impact the midterms?....................

A lack of paper forms is no trivial issue in Texas, the nation’s most populous state without widely-available online voter registration.

Only when updating their driver’s license or state ID information can Texans register online.

Otherwise, prospective voters have to fill out paper voter registration applications, then mail them to their county elections offices....

Elections have become more paper-based (I recall the advent of the paperless society!) in recent years, not less, driven by the surge in mail voting and efforts to ensure that elections are secure. Snarls in the supply chain have pushed up costs — by 40 percent, one industry executive told a congressional committee in March — and delayed production times for paper....

The machines that tally votes can require paper of a specific thickness, smoothness and weight.....

Wilhelm ToVaira

The incompetence shown every election year is just disgraceful. The ignorance of all parliamentary leaders past and present in not rectifying these issues every five years is driving this country into the ground.

We'd hate to imply or to think PNG is fast becoming a failed state, but don't you think that elections deemed to have failed the proper democratic processes of holding a competently run general election clearly isn't always a good sign.

And when the capital city begins to face problems such as these, it is painfully unacceptable.

As for the candidates who come out of these elections victorious - won't their legitimacy be questionable?

This country has had enough of questionable leaders. We need to start doing things the right way.

Raymond Sigimet

The headlines (both the Post Courier and PNG Attitude) sum up the polling week.

I don't like the blame game but it seems the highest constitutional office that is tasked to safeguard and allow citizens to exercise their democratic rights has failed yet again. And yes, they (the Electoral Commission) had five years!

There's frustration.

Where has all the funding gone to for this election? This is just acceptable.


Lindsay F Bond

OK, blame, but not only the Chief Electoral Commissioner and Electoral Commission officers, it is likely to be found the outcome of five years of neglect or wilful abandonment by the present politicians and parties.
Question is now to what extent the people of PNG will honour any announcement of result of this election.

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