More awareness needed for the Bougainville Referendum 2019

Many people in the Autonomous Region of Bougainville lack the understanding of Bougainville Referendum set for 2019.

The road map to referendum was the hottest topic raised during referendum awareness undertaken by Bougainville Electoral Commissioner (OBEC) and the PNG Electoral Commission (PNGEC) last week.  

Bougainville Electoral Commissioner, George Manu, said the awareness drive covered Central and South Bougainville.

Manu said his team also delivered copies of the Bougainville Referendum primer and flyers to those that attended these sessions at Arawa and Buin Markets.  

The production of this technical primer and flyers, which is a product of close and collaborative efforts between OBEC and PNGEC-as the agencies primarily responsible for the referendum, contains first lot of information on the electoral processes of conducting the referendum.

These awareness materials were produced with assistances from the International Foundation for Electoral Systems (IFES), an organization that is currently providing technical advice and support to these two electoral authorities.

Manu sympathized with the people and admitted that it was true that most people are still in the dark on issues associated with the referendum.

“OBEC and PNGEC will continue to facilitate its referendum awareness programs until such time when the Bougainville Referendum Commission (BRC) is fully established and staffed to carry out its mandated responsibilities, including the facilitation of its own awareness activities,” Bougainville electoral commissioner said.

BRC is the independent agency that both the Governments of PNG and the Autonomous Bougainville region have agreed to conduct the referendum.

Charles Yapumi