|Sir Nagora among other AHI candidates from Butibam village with their petition to the PNGEC.|
By Sylvester Gawi
I am not an expert in political commentary,but it frustrates and saddens me as I witnessed polling unfolds in my hometown for the 2017 National General Election.
Almost half of Lae's eligible voters did not cast their votes this election. Some of their names were not included in the common roll book,while some were turned away at the polling booth due to time factor and shortages of ballot papers.
At the University of Technology, where intellect and professional people are, 1500 unmarked ballot papers were burnt and destroyed. Who could have done that senseless act of burning ballot papers? Who would have wanted to capitalise on shortages of ballot papers to disrupt polling for civilised people? Its common knowledge that most university students are tourists in Lae. They dont normally spend three or four years or more to be guranteed a legitimate citizen of this electorate. So why would someone just confronts the polling official and grabs the ballot papers and later destroy the papers?
Sir Nagora was the then Chancellor for UNITECH and has recently criticised and gave professional analysis of the state of Papua New Guinea's economy. Sir Nagora has shifted the blame on the current government for mismanaging the country's economy. Sir Nagora is part of a political party in the Opposition which is bidding to form the next PNG government. Certainly he will be the person that the ruling PNC Party will try to counter his election into parliament.
On polling day at Sir Nagora's home village at Butibam, most of his relatives and families names were not in the common roll. Even the families of former Lae MP Bart Philemon. A minor error by the presiding officer not sealing the ballot box properly is a major upset for the Butibam community.
His base voting areas of UNITECH and Butibam may have somewhat being targeted. The same with urban communities which he has campaigned at. Ballot papers shortages and or names ommitted from the common roll together with one day polling.
This election seems to be a failed one from the onset, but Sir Nagora is unlikely to dispute this in court.
As a senior statesman, he is disappointed to have seen the PNG elections being downplayed to suit the best intesrest and rights of citizens.
Candidates will need alot of money and evidences to take this matter to court. It is a lenghty and expensive process and can be easily played down by the PNC~Government who have the upper hand with millions of kina.
Lets hope for the better if the PNG Electoral Commission learn from its mistakes plan ahead for a free,fair and safe election for all.