Candidates slam misreporting

Three of the top five candidates in the Southern Highlands Provincial Seat are calling on media in the country to be fair and accurate.

Jerry Kiwa, Ps Bernard Paul and Joe Kobol say media plays an important role in disseminating information and must respect its editorial guidelines of reporting facts and balanced stories.

The leaders’ comment came after a wide publication on radio, television and the two daily papers that 5 men were killed over an election riot in Mendi last Friday.

The stories stated that supporters of William Powi and the other regional candidates fought violently as the Provincial Election Manager, David Wakias, disrespected the direction of the Electoral Commission to count the 84 boxes (believed to be from the Nipa-Kutubu electorate).

However, the candidates explained that only 18 boxes were put aside as tampered from election irregularities, and not 84 as reported.

They revealed this in a press conference held in Mt Hagen on Tuesday.

Meantime, Wakias, in a separate media conference in Mt Hagen, echoed similar sentiments.  

He said in an email, he advised the Electoral Commission that only 18 boxes have been permanently set aside by the former Provincial Returning Officer Jacob Kurap and the scrutineers, which are at the Mendi Police Station.

He clarified that at count 84, former PRO Kurap intentionally hijacked the normal process by declaring Powi as Governor re-elect in Port Moresby.

He added the PRO used the photocopied writ to declare Powi while 151 out of 648 boxes were yet to be counted.

Wakias further confirmed the 18 boxes are from Kagua-Erave and Mendi electorates, not Nipa-Kutubu alone, as was previously reported.

Salome Vincent