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
| 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.
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.