The National, Wednesday July 4th, 2012
FOR two years, I was an election committee member at the UPNG Students Representative Council (SRC).
The PNG Electoral Commission (EC) ran the elections with our supervision.
We struggled to get students, the so-called educated elites of PNG, to follow simple rules and processes that were in place.
It was a nightmare as students would insist on voting without proper identification and supporters of rival candidates would try to sway voters or intimidate them.
There were many unruly groups who wanted to have their way and there was always potential for things to get violent.
I know how much pressure electoral officers had to endure in a simple student council election within a university.
To run a national election would be an utter nightmare.
I take back every undue criticism I had made against electoral officers in respect of running national elections.
If we struggled to reason with educated elites in a university, how could they reason with uneducated villagers who want nothing but to have their clansman or tribesman in parliament?
And so, I have come to appreciate how hard they work and I am reluctant to condemn them when things go wrong.
Papua New Guineans are also not the easiest people to manage.
Things are bound to go wrong in a country such as ours, with people such as ourselves.
What we can do is manage those difficulties the best we can and support the officials .
They are under extreme pressure and do not need our constant criticisms and complaints.
The electoral process is a difficult one but an extremely important one too.
It is worth our time, sweat and tired legs in long queues.
It is worth skipping a few hours of work or even a day or two.
We will not be doing it again for another five years.
Let us value this process and the people who have volunteered to manage it.
They may not be adequately compensated for the efforts.
The least we can do is show them some support instead of beating them while they are down.
Ganjiki D Wayne