Head teacher in election-related conflict

The head teacher of a primary school in Finschhafen District, Morobe Province, is currently in the middle of an election-related conflict.

Just this month, the Electoral Commissioner revoked the appointment of Esia Batu as Finschhafen’s Returning Officer (RO), and replaced him with the head teacher of Ogeranang Primary School, Kawage Mesere.

Since this month's revocation of Batu, 26 out of the 27 Finschhafen candidates and their supporters have been disputing the change, claiming it to be foul play and in the interest of one of the candidates.

The candidates have been meeting with officials at the Morobe Electoral Commission office since last week to air their grievances.

Morobe’s Election Manager, Simon Soheke, said a team left Lae today for Port Moresby to discuss the situation with the Electoral Commissioner, Simon Sinai.

“We’re working around the clock to make sure we resolve this issue,” Soheke stated.

“Our Commissioner is already aware of this issue.”

On Thursday, June 23rd, Soheke had met with the two Finschhafen ROs, where he said an understanding was reached that they will abide by whatever decision the Commissioner makes.

“We’re praying that the Commissioner na ol hetman blo em bai i gat gutpla tingting long mekim disla decision so that yumi mekim disla ileksen lo Finschhafen especially em i fri, fe na seif lo olgeta.” 

Carmella Gware