The National, Tuesday 10th July, 2012
MILNE Bay election committee chairman and provincial administrator Henry Bailasi has expressed concern at what he calls the imported style of campaigning in the national elections in the province.
Bailasi said unlike past elections, the 2012 elections would be remembered for candidates spewing out racist comments about rival candidates, buying votes with cash in full public view, making unbiblical financial commitments to churches, campaigning on personality rather than on issues and witnessing hundreds of eligible voters being turned away from polling booths.
He said the nature of campaigning reflected the diverse backgrounds of candidates.
“We welcome the diversity but detest the style of campaigning,” Bailasi said.
“They are bringing into Milne Bay campaigning techniques that are offensive, divisive and in some cases downright criminal,” he said.
“Milne Bay is known for its tolerance of other ethnic groups, unity and peacefulness and its respect
for law and order.
“I do not want Milne Bay to lose those virtues,” he said.
Bailasi said one of the sad things about the election was the hundreds of eligible voters who were turned away from polling booths because their names were not on the common roll.
“It is the (electoral) commission’s own inefficiencies that omitted names of eligible voters from the roll and deprives people of their constitutional rights,” Bailasi said.
He said the common roll updating must start from the return of writs and must be finalised six months before the issue of writs for the next elections.
Bailasi thanked the provincial election team headed by manager Dagu Daga and his four returning officers.
“We now go into counting mode and I expect you to be vigilant against foul play so that we maintain integrity to the electoral process to enable people to elect their preferred leader to serve them,” he said
Bailasi warned Milne Bay people to maintain the virtues of tolerance for other ethnic groups and maintain peace and unity in the province.