‘Bar public servants’

National, Normal

The National, Monday July 9th, 2012

TWO candidates for the Bulolo open seat in Morobe want public servants in the district to be barred from the counting of ballot papers.
Deputy Governor of Morobe Morokoi Gaiwata said church pastors should oversee the counting process for transparency reasons. 
He is also a candidate for the seat.
Gaiwata and independent candidate Leonard Brian called on returning officer Raune Jombat to seriously consider their suggestion.
MP Sam Basil is among the 19 candidates contesting the seat.
Jombat said he was approached by the candidates last Friday and had made changes to the counting team line-up.
He said he would retain a few presiding officers, assistant returning officers and public servants.
Jombat said he had also engaged “neutral people” from NGOs, businesses and churches. 
Counting was to have started today, but that has been deferred until all counting officials had been briefed on their tasks. He said the briefing could take two to three days.
Meanwhile, Gaiwata also questioned why Basil was still making payments for projects in the district well after the issue of writs.
Attempts to speak to Basil were unsuccessful.  But a spokesman from his electoral office said “until the return of writs, he is still the Minister for Planning and Member for Bulolo hence is only doing what is required of him.”