The National, Wednesday July 17th, 2013
By PETER ESOP WARI
THREE ballot boxes in the Ialibu Basin local level government, Imbonggu, Southern Highands, are being disputed by two candidates.
LLG presidential candidates Wini Yopolo and Steward Tawa alleged the three boxes – from the Kapola-Popile, Bibino 1 and Bibino 2 wards – had been hijacked and brought to the counting venue at 9pm on Monday.
Tawa said it was suspicious as the boxes arrived late.
He said the boxes would be put aside when counting started.
He said although they were aware of police presence in the area, the three boxes would still be disputed.
Yopolo said returning officer Peter Terema was aware of the situation and counting at Walium Junction would continue with the three boxes.
He urged provincial election manager David Wakias and returning officer Peter Tereme to put aside the three boxes and proceed with the others.
In the Imbonggu LLG, a box from Lagop ward 3 was disputed after a voter destroyed ballot boxes when he was stopped from voting a second time.
In the 19 wards in the Imbonggu LLG, 15 councillors were declared, while declarations were yet to be made for another four wards.
For the Ialibu Basin LLG, Punelama ward box 5 has been disputed following a change of location.
Candidates from the area said their pervious place of voting had been Punelama.
They said choosing a new polling location at Kero village was unusual and the boxes from there would not be counted.
Unfortunately, many ballot boxes in the Lower Mendi LLG have been destroyed by voters and the exact figure and the ward names could not be confirmed.
Many intending candidates for the council wards were angry that their boxes were destroyed by supporters of candidates for the presidents’ seats.
Attempts to get comments from the returning officers and the provincial election manager were unsuccessful.