Gamato appeals for calm in Hagen

Electoral Commissioner Patilias Gamato has appealed for calm in Mt Hagen and other areas, especially in the Highlands region experiencing election-related violence.

He said the proper recourse for complaints about the election is in the Court of Disputed Returns and not on the streets.

“The Commission regrets the disturbances and disruptions to the peace seen during the elections. Any violence related to the polls is unnecessary and harms our democracy and our community,” Commissioner Gamato said.

For the current incident in Hagen, he said election process has been completed and aggrieved parties should take it to court.

The Hagen treasury office was burnt down this week while the Kagamuga airport remains closed.

The violence came about as a result of 21 ballot boxes that were set aside during scrutiny in the Hagen open seat.

Gamato said the returning officer has the power on ground to either admit or reject boxes from scrutiny.

“The process must be completed. Member elect must be declared,” he said.

Meanwhile the re-elected member for Hagen open, William Duma, was also present at Government House on Friday when the PNC party was invited by Governor-General Sir Bob Dadea to form government.

Sally Pokiton