By CLIFFORD FAIPARIK
THE Registrar of Political Parties says the use of billboards by politicians as a promotion strategy is acceptable, although it may create disputes with rival candidates during next year’s general election.
Registrar Dr Alphonse Gelu told The National said there was nothing wrong with MPs putting up billboards in public places to show that they were delivering services.
“But it is up to the people to make assessments on why the billboards with their (MPs) faces are going up,” he said.
“It’s the people who will make their judgments on these billboards. Some candidates in these electorates will not like those billboards.”
Gelu said there was nothing wrong with having the images of MPs on official vehicles bought from the provincial/district service improvement programme funds.
Opposition Leader Don Polye had expressed concern over some MPs using public funds to put up billboards with their images on them promoting their involvement in projects.
The issuing of writs next April will mark the start of next year’s general election. It will be followed by the nomination of candidates, election campaign, polling and the counting of votes. The Electoral Commission has warned intending candidates not to conduct campaigning before the official date.
Dr Gelu said he did not see anything wrong with billboards and vehicles showing MPs’ images which was now a common sight in public places around the country.
“It is not unusual as there is no rule at the moment to condemn this practice,” he said.
He also did not see anything wrong in vehicles bought by MPs for service delivery in their electorates issued with Government number plates.
“I’d say that the Works Department must issue a Z-plate for these vehicles bought for schools, ambulances or even churches,” he said.
“Currently, we don’t see that. We only see the face of an MP on them.
“And when we see the MP’s face, we know that the MP has used public money to buy that vehicle.
“I think it will make it better and will not create suspicion if Z-plates are fitted on these vehicles.”
Electoral Commissioner Patilias Gamato also expressed similar sentiments on the issue.
When asked for a comment on the matter, the Ombudsman Commission referred The National to the Electoral Commission.
By CLIFFORD FAIPARIK