Simbu residents want recount venue changed

People from the six districts of Simbu Province are calling on the Electoral Commission to change the venue of the court ordered recount from Lae to one of the Highlands provincial towns.

They have camped outside the Police station, preventing the Electoral Commission from moving the ballot boxes to Lae for counting.

The people of Simbu are yet to receive an official response from Electoral Commissioner, Patilias Gamato, from a petition they presented last Monday, demanding the change of recount venue from Lae to either Jiwaka, Goroka or Mount Hagen.

The National Court ordered the recount to take place outside of Kundiawa town. Disgruntled supporters presented a petition to the election manager in Kundiawa, demanding the change of venue.

People from the six districts of Chuave, Sinasina, Kerowaghi, Gumine, Karimui-Nomane and Kundiawa-Gembogl are protesting against the removal of containers containing ballot papers out to Lae, in Morobe, for the recount of the provincial seat.

They blocked the removal of containers containing ballot papers, and are currently camped outside Kundiawa Police Station in protest, blocking off the entrance and demanding the Electoral Commission to adhere to their petition.

Attempts by this newsroom to get comments from Commissioner Gamato were unsuccessful.

The Waigani National Court upheld an election petition filed by former Simbu Governor Noah Kool against the win of Michael Dua in the 2017 national election and ordered for a recount.

Governor Dua won with a margin of over 11,000 votes in 2017, and remains governor pending the recount.

(Picture courtesy of Victor Lee Williams)

Sally Pokiton