Avoid corrupt practices: Soheke

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MOROBE election manager Simon Soheke is reminding citizens that casting a vote without a name is the start of corruption.
He said this following reports from many polling sites that voters whose names were not in the 2022 common roll voted using any name.
Soheke, while accepting the issue of a non-updated common roll being the failure of the Electoral Commission, reminded people that it was everyone’s responsibility to fight corruption.
“The proper process is to check your name and vote,” he said.
“Electoral managers or management of election removing names from the roll is corruption; likewise, voting in the absence of your name is corruption.
“As much as possible, we should have avoided that.
“ We all should be working towards a free and fair election,” Soheke said.
The National received reports from across Morobe that many names were missing from the common roll.
Lack of awareness and information dissemination were causing confusion among registered voters.
The National also noted complaints by workers in Lae, Wampar and Nawaeb Urban missing out on the one-day polling due to it not being a public holiday.
Police also said some people were trying to cross over to other polling stations to vote again.
Soheke expressed gratitude to voters who had understanding of the issues.

‘Double voting’ a security concern in Lae, Morobe
Chris Kunyanban
A member of the security team at a polling site in Lae on Monday. – Picture courtesy of Mosley Bala

PEOPLE living in illegal settlements in Lae city are providing a huge challenge to security during one-day polling for Lae open, an official says.
Lae Metropolitan Chief Supt Chris Kunyanban said people squatting illegally on state and customary land wanted to carry out illegal activities during the polling on Monday.
“I have been in the past speaking to the media in Lae, raised concerns to the appropriate authorities to address the issue of illegal settlements that are booming in Lae,” he said.
“Now we have proved it that it has actually caused issues during the polling period.”
Chief Supt Kunyanban said some voters in Lae were trying to vote twice allegedly resided in those illegal settlements.
“They tried their best to go to all polling booths in the city to cast their votes when they actually were not on the common roll.
“Maybe because they had just arrived,” he said.
Another issue that security personnel identified at the polling sites was that many eligible voters were not on common roll and missed out on voting.
There were also typing errors of names in the roll as well.
“The Electoral Commission now has to prioritise common roll update in advance in preparation for the General Election in 2027”.
Chief Supt Kunyanban said the common roll issue put a lot of stress on security personnel and polling official on Monday.
“When people have no names on the common roll, they started arguing with the security personnel and the polling officials.
“After all, the problem was not created by us.
“It was the doing of the EC,” he said.
Chief Supt Kunyanban said on Monday, drunkards at the Omili Primary School polling booth and 3-Mile Police Station where a police vehicle and a policeman were stoned caused trouble.

Morobe’s assistant election manager to fill in RO role

MOROBE assistant election manager Fredah Joses says she will fill the role of Finschhafen Returning Officer (RO) in General Election 2022.
She said both appointments of Esia Batu and Kawage Mesere had been revoked by the Electoral Commission.
“I have been appointed and gazetted as the assistant provincial returning officer along with election manager Simon Soheke, who is the provincial returning officer,” she said.
“Based on our gazettals and respective roles, I can fill in where there are issues or there is a need.
“With this recognition, I will now be moving to Finschhafen to help oversee, facilitate and for everyone to see and know that there is someone neutral who is trying pull together the election.
“But otherwise, all our officials (assistant ROs) on are very experienced and more than capable.
“They have been briefed, they know what to do and they have the equipment.”
Joses said while the electoral office was only a facilitator, the success of the process depended on the voters, officials, candidates and scrutineers.
“We cannot allow a handful of people who are willingly, knowingly breaking the law to take advantage of the whole system and hold all of us at ransom,” she said
“I highly discourage anyone who is trying to manipulate the system.
“If you have a problem, there are procedures in place to express your grievance.”
“All disciplinary matters happening currently are not light matters. But these are by a handful, the majority of the people in Morobe are good people.”
Meanwhile, Soheke confirmed that all issue with the Finschhafen returning officers had being dealt with.

Morobe polling teams facing transport problems

MOROBE’S two districts are struggling to send election materials and polling teams to polling areas that are far away from the districts stations due to transportation problems.
Returning Officer (RO) for Wau-Waria Fidelis Harissol said teams that were supposed to be transported with election materials to one of the polling areas in the Waria local level government (LLG) are still at Garaina Station waiting for a helicopter.
“The helicopter pilot refused to take all the teams due to limited space and selected the presiding polling officer, assistant polling officer and a policeman only.
“It is a two-day walk to the location of the polling area where all teams needed to be dispatched together because of their safety,” Harissol said.
“But we cannot do much because there’s only one chopper.
“So we’ll have to wait at Garaina station and look for other options.”
Harissol said, despite hiccups, the polling in Wau-Waria was progressing well because issues were being addressed properly.
He said that Wau urban started the polling yesterday and expected to complete it by tomorrow, and for Wau rural the poll would be completed today or tomorrow.
Tewae-Siassi returning officer Lancelot Kamake said polling in the district was supposed to be on Monday, but due to transportation issues with funding, it was moved to yesterday.
Kamake said that for Sialum LLG: “Ground logistics are the problem where there is no car and chopper to transport the election materials from Sialum station to Masa, ward 18 and 19.
“Polling teams have been transported now in a car with the election materials.
“The car will leave them somewhere and they’d walk to the wards.”
Kamake said they were expecting to complete polling on Monday.
Because they will be starting late, counting would be on Wednesday or Thursday next week.
Kamake added that the Sialum LLG had police personnel already for the polling and counting.