Gloomy Polling In Wewak

Day 2 of polling in Wewak Urban electorate for the PNG National General Elections began with a downpour.

However, after some hours, the clouds moved and the rain stopped, but there was a gloom that continued in the hearts of the citizens who would not be voting to fulfill their democratic rights, because their names weren’t on the electoral roll the officials had.

It was on the first day, Tuesday 5th July when voters were turned away at the polling sites.

Sadly all across the Wewak Urban LLG, the absence of names of eligible voters in the electoral was topic of the day and a source of distress and disappointment, which angered the voters and officials as well as authorities.

Many people who had voted in the past and had lived in Wewak Urban said they are surprised that their names are not in the common roll and it is such a disappointment. It was all over the township at every polling site.

We met up with Ward 14 (Perigo) Councillor, Wewak Urban LLG, Michael Murika. He expressed disgust at the whole process of carrying out the elections in the LLG and Wewak Town.

The polling area of Perigo was within the premise of the Boram Correctional Institute and Murika complained about many of the people from the neighbouring communities as well as the CS community of CS officers and long-serving convicts whose names were not in the common roll.   

He claimed that he had checked the names of his constituents in a copy of the electoral roll, updated in 2021 and they were all present but now the officials were using another one, which just came out early this year so the names of those people were not included.

Murika also complained that the officials were not trained properly, enough for them to respond to queries that arose from the faltering in the casting of votes due to no names in the roll.

He stated that, he would not be surprised if this election will be declared a failed election.

According to Perigo Ward 14 Presiding Officer, David Kowor, having no name in the electoral roll was the common issue but they were able to resolve it as they explained to the voters that the matter was beyond their influence and power.

Kowor mentioned only four male inmates were able to cast their votes because their names appeared but there were others who could not vote. None of the female detainees voted.

Frieda Kana