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Date Posted: Tue, Jul 24 2007, 02:25:15pm
Hold post-mortem on Kandep results
DON Polye’s win in the Kandep seat, with over 70% of the votes and only 47 informal votes, is an amazing record in PNG’s political history, particularly for an Open seat.
He polled 21,820 votes, whilst his nearest rival, Alfred Manase, collected 3,149 votes.
The nation is watching very closely on who else would score such an amazing number of votes in the first count in the current counting process across PNG.
Polye’s landslide victory created the perception that he was very highly favoured despite stiff competition given him by 16 other candidates.
It is also interesting for a Highlands electorate to be declared days ahead of all other seats.
This is supposedly a relief for the deputy prime minister, who did not have to go through the elimination process under the limited preferential voting (LPV) system, which other candidates are subjected to.
The runner-up, Manase, is one of the nation’s leading lawyers.
Herman Anep is a prominent public servant, who worked as a planner for Morobe for well over 20 years and a successful businessman. He scored only 1,730 votes.
Jimson Sauk, who has been in Parliament for 15 years until he lost to Polye in 2002 with a difference of 1,500 votes, scored a mere 943 votes in this election. This is despite the popular support Sauk enjoyed during the campaign period.
Be Pepo, who is a successful businessman, and a major contractor to Porgera Joint Venture, ended with 408 votes. This is also surprisingly contrary to the support he had prior to polling.
Michael Marabe, who was once a deputy governor of Enga, and prominent leader of Kandep and Enga, polled 833 votes.
Peter Mision, a former managing director of Post PNG, received 373 votes.
Kenneth Andrew, another popular candidate, scored only 478 votes, which was also far less than the support he had during the campaigns.
James Tumbin, a Lands officer, who consistently enjoyed popular support over the last two elections, scored only 833 votes.
Paul Itogen, once the chairman of the Civil Aviation Authority and an academic at Unitech and UPNG, scored only one vote.
Despite their personal integrity, the outcome of the election process simply tells the voters, as well as the rest of the nation, that these contenders were not serious in their campaigns, although it is public knowledge in Kandep that they were serious contenders.
In addition, it is an indication that these candidates, including Manase, had no backing from their tribes and associates, which is a normal prerequisite to anyone considering candidacy in any election in the Highlands.
The three independent candidates mysteriously scored no votes, while four others scored 49, nine, eight and two votes respectively. What kind of candidates were they?
It is uncommon in Highlands politics to score as low as those witnessed in Kandep under normal election situations.
Thus, it would be proper and wise if the PNG Electoral Commission conduct a post-mortem on the elections in Kandep electorate in particular.
It should include the following issues:
*Transportation of ballot boxes and ballot papers;
*The status of ballot papers in the night prior to actual voting;
*The handling of ballot papers and boxes whilst dispersing into polling areas;
*The return of ballot papers and boxes;
*The deployment and conduct of security personnel;
*The relationship between the sitting member and the returning officer along with other election officials:
*The manner in which the election officials were appointed by the returning officer;
*The conduct of the returning officer and the election officials,
*The amount of time allowed in voting; and,
*The whereabouts of all leftover ballot papers when voters and polling officials were forced to stop voting only after about 20% of the ballot papers were allowed to be marked following voters’ choices.
For example, in a polling booth with 1,000 eligible voters, less than 200 people voted. The rest were unmarked and taken back, claiming that time was up. The papers were taken away with the respective presiding officers following the ballot papers.
Whilst counting at the counting centre, certain boxes were disregarded from inclusion in the counting by the returning officer. Whose base votes would these be?
At the conclusion of counting, Polye’s declaration was made under extra-tight security.
This was later shown in the EMTV news.
How could this be if Polye is the electorate’s hot favorite and if he is the proactive leader that he claims to be, based on godliness, honesty and transparency as uttered in his victory speech?
Interestingly, the arrest of the district returning officer immediately after the declaration of Polye signals a lot of fraud issues (eight counts as indicated so far) surrounding the conduct of elections in Kandep.
Apart from these, it has been alleged that Polye nominated outside of the normal nomination processes and the allegations that he was almost assassinated in the electorate are still pending.
Taking all the above into account, this particular election in Kandep was unprecedented in the level of foul play, vote rigging, fraud and other corrupt practices, to influence the outcome in favour of the sitting member as it indeed happened.
The onus is now upon the Electoral Commission, National Research Institute, Ombudsman Commission, Transparency International and other agencies concerned with transparency and good governance to revisit this electorate to conduct the post-mortem.
A concerned Kandepen
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