By OGIA MIAMEL
Papua New Guinea has never had an election audit since 1977, says political scientist Joseph Ketan.
Presenting his discussion paper on this year’s elections in Western Highlands, Ketan said:
“In Government policy you do a financial audit so why don’t you do a return audit, it’s for governance and accountability purposes so we know people are not cheating and they are not winning the elections by fraudulent means.
“Did we have a financial audit? Goodness sake, no. To this day we don’t know exactly or precisely how much money we’ve spent on elections since 1977.”
Ketan said PNG’s democracy had eroded through malpractice, fraud, violence, intimidation, bribery and corruption.
“The lack of integrity at all levels of state society relations, with loss of trust in government institutions, is a cause for concern.
“It is also worrying to note the escalating cost of elections – not only the election administrative and security costs of running the elections in this socially and geographically challenging country, but the additional cost such as legal costs to the PNG Electoral Commission and candidates in disputed election returns.”
Ketan said democracy was very fragile and may take hundreds of years to restore as people had grown thick skin and were tolerating it.
He said the only hope for the country was to teach the younger generation not to carry on this cycle of corruption so they could teach their children and the generations to come.
By OGIA MIAMEL