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Subject: Trial Continues: Polling disrupted at Kandep, says witness


Author:
Chicko
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Date Posted: Mon, May 19 2008, 12:51:58pm
In reply to: Kandepen Opene 's message, "A. Manase vs D. Polye" on Tue, Mar 18 2008, 02:55:30pm

Polling disrupted at Kandep, says witness
By JAMES APA GUMUNO
THE trial of the election petition for Kandep Open continued last Friday, with a witness telling how polling was disrupted in a polling area.
Lawyer for candidate Alfred Manase is challenging the election of Don Polye as MP for Kandep on grounds of alleged illegal practices.
Witness Watali Mavi said election officials set up the polling area at Walupi 2 after midday and proceeded to carry out an awareness on the limited preferential voting system.
Mr Mavi said polling started around 5pm and scrutineers were told to stay 30 metres away from the polling booth but they bunched up and were merely about four metres away.
Mr Mavi said when Josephine Amuniís name was called out she asked presiding officer Lily Cletus to mark the ballot paper on her behalf.
He said Mrs Amuni told Mr Cletus to mark Vote 1 for Mr Manase, preference 2 for another candidate and preference 3 for Mr Polye.
Instead, Mr Cletus marked preference 1 for Mr Polye and this upset the scrutineers who demanded to remove her, he said.
Mr Mavi said when she refused, the srcutineers went in and grabbed the ballot box.
The box was damaged in a tussle and supporters and polling officials ran off with ballot papers.
He said there was no polling and he did not vote.
Mr Mavi said he was surprised when news came from the vote counting room in Wabag that votes for Walupi 2 had been counted.
Lawyer Ray William for the Electoral Commission asked Mr Mavi whether it was true that he was among the scrutineers who went in and pulled the ballot boxes and destroyed them. He admitted it.
When Mr William asked whether he lodged a complaint with the assistant returning officer about the incident Mr Mavi said no.
He asked Mr Mavi why he did not return the half unmarked ballot papers to the security personnel when they arrived at the scene 10 minutes later.
Mr Mavi replied that polling officials were involved in foul play and he was reluctant to hand over the unmarked ballot papers to the security personnel.
Mr William also put to Mr Mavi that the next day, July 4, a reserve ballot box # 75 was given along with 322 ballot papers for the polling at Walupi 2 and polling was conducted peacefully.
But Mr Mavi insisted that there was no polling.
The trial continues today.

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