Candidates urged to control violence

Police Commissioner, Gari Baki, has called on Southern Highlands regional candidates, William Powi and Jospeh Kobol, to take control of the violence occurring in the Province.

He said this following continued clashes in Mendi, allegedly by supporters of Powi and Kobol, which have resulted in several deaths and destruction of property.

In a statement, Baki said ongoing fights and killings are not solutions for election related disputes.

“Leaders must take ownership of the situation and actively and positively contribute towards peace and normalcy,” said Baki.

“As a true test of their leadership qualities and genuineness, these two leaders must now come out publicly and condemn these killings and appeal to their people to stop any further killing and destruction.

“There are peaceful and legal avenues available to the aggrieved candidates and their supporters to pursue instead of resorting to violence.

“Leaders who continue to remain silent are actually encouraging violence, death and destruction so the onus is on you now to show your true colours. You are either for or against violence.

“Police and other members of the security forces can only do so much. At the end of the day, it is Powi and Kobol who can intervene and bring about lasting peace,” Baki said.

Clashes began during the counting period for the Southern highlands Regional Seat last month, which prompted a declaration to be made despite counting not being concluded.

Provincial Returning Officer, Robert Kurap, declared Powi in Port Moresby however, this has been rejected by Electoral Commissioner Patilias Gamato.

Cedric Patjole