Polye refused interim orders

The Supreme Court has refused to order that certain ballot boxes be admitted or rejected from counting in the Kandep Open seat in Enga.

The court today heard an application by lawyer representing incumbent Kandep MP, Don Polye, asking the Supreme Court to admit two ballot boxes and refuse nine from being counted. 

The two ballot boxes are from the Kanian and Kinduli polling areas and were set aside from counting by the returning officer, without any objection raised, the court was told.

Polye’s lawyer John Napu asked the court to allow those two boxes to be counted and reject the nine ballot boxes from the Imipiak area alleging they were not cast at the designated polling venues before brought to the counting centre.

At the time this application was moved in court, 11 days gone since the application was filed, and counting had proceeded to elimination for the Kandep seat.

Justice Stephen Kassman said Polye came to court in a haste.

He was not satisfied that Polye was serious with the Supreme Court reference.

The Supreme Court was of the view that the National Court did have inherent powers or could exercise its powers in relation to the issue of the ballot boxes in question.  

Justice Kassman in refusing the orders sought by Polye said the electoral process must be completed and proceed to a declaration.

He said Polye has recourse in the National court, where he can file an Election petition challenging the outcome of the election.

The case will return to court on August 7 for directions.

In the meantime, the reference seeking interpretation of section 50 of the Constitution (Right To Vote And Stand For Public Office) and section 153A of the Organic Law on National and Local Level Government Elections (Excluding Ballot-Box From Scrutiny) remains.

They will be asking the court to interpret if the returning officer has limited powers to refuse ballot boxes from being counted.

Before that reference can be heard, the issue of standing, or if Polye has the right to bring such reference before the court, will be heard by a three-judge Supreme Court bench before the court can hear submissions questioning the powers of the returning officers, as per section 50 of the Constitution and section 153A of the organic law.

Sally Pokiton