SHP leaders call for boxes to be counted

Local leaders from Southern Highlands Province will be presenting a seven-point petition to Electoral Commissioner, Patilias Gamato, to undertake before counting for the regional seat resumes.

The leaders, who travelled to Port Moresby to deliver the petition, said counting has been marred by the illegal conduct of unauthorised individuals, which has resulted in violence and destruction.

The leaders claim that out of 648 ballot boxes counted so far, only 462 were legally counted, 84 boxes illegally set aside, and 101 boxes counted by an illegal Returning Officer, Francis Akol, appointed by David Wakias.

The leaders called on Gamato to have the remaining 83 boxes counted and the purported 101 illegal boxes disregarded.

Patrick Rama, Chief of the Rakili Multi Tribe, said they want a representative on the floor of parliament, and it does not matter who wins the seat.

However, they want a fair and transparent manner in the counting process by the authorised persons.

“Elektorol Komisina ino givim apointment lo makim wanpla man lo rausim narapla man lo wok. Em disla pawa stap lo Mr Gamato. But iligoli, ol i makim disla man, Francis Akol, lo kisim ples blo Jacob Kurap, na mipla filim olsem, displa ol box ol kauntim em iligol,” claims Rama. (The Electoral Commissioner did not appoint someone else to make appointments on his behalf. That power lies with Mr Gamato. But illegally, they appointed Francis Akol to replace Jacob Kurap, and the boxes they counted are illegal.)

Meanwhile, the Electoral Commissioner has written a letter dated Monday 21st August to David Wakias advising him that he is no longer the PRO.

Gamato said any administrative arrangements he facilitated were illegal and that he was refrained from conducting any further activity.

Gamato said Steven Kaupa was the duly appointed PRO and would preside over the count.

The Commissioner is yet to respond to the other petition points.

Cedric Patjole