Enuma: Criticism sets basis for better elections

National, Normal

The Nationa, Monday July 16th, 2012

TOP soldier Col Walter Enuma says the country has defied all pre-election predictions of failure, thanks to a major role played by the disciplined forces.
Enuma, chief of operations for the Defence Force, paid tribute to the security personnel involved, saying a continuing safe and democratic elections was due to their hard work.
Enuma said many had expected this year’s elections to be marred with violence and intimidation.
He said the threats that surfaced before the elections were scrutinised and operational planning was designed to ensure people could vote fairly and without intimidation.
Enuma, who flew into Goroka late last week with Joint Force commander Col Gilbert Toropo to witness the final leg of the security operations and to witness polling in Goroka and Kainantu, said there had been much criticism, both within the country and abroad stating that the region was heading towards a failed general election.
He called on all personnel tasked with providing security during counting to be vigilant, focused and neutral ahead of the return of writs in two weeks.
He urged contesting candidates, polling and counting officials and all Papua New Guineans to respect government processes and let counting continue peacefully without violence, bloodshed, intimidation and corrupt practices.
“This year elections are very important as there are lots of huge resource development projects to roll out which are expected to bring huge economic benefits and the country needs good leaders to be chosen by the people,” he said.
He praised the security task force comprising Defence Force members, police and the Correctional Services who had worked tirelessly to minimise the escalation of a number of elections-related violence and intimidation.
“It is tiring, demanding and laborious in such operations with security personnel going through rough conditions, sleepless nights and extreme danger to ensure the people of the five highlands provinces and the country experience a safe and free election.”
Enuma commended the PNGDF commander, the police commissioner and the CS commissioner for working hard with limited resources to deliver a successful elections despite heavy criticisms and other minor disturbances during polling periods.