ENGA Governor Peter Ipatas has described Electoral Commissioner Andrew Trawen’s decision to hold the Kandep by-election in November as “highly suspicious”.
“The Electoral Commission’s decision to expedite the Kandep by-election is highly suspicious. We want to know whose interest Mr Trawen is trying to serve,” he said.
He said Mr Trawen’s priority should be to deal with those implicated of wrongdoing in the 2007 general election before talking about any other issues with respect to the court’s decision to nullify the election of Don Polye.
“The biggest problem which the highest court established with respect to the Kandep election dispute has been a widespread instances of corrupt practice,” he said.
“Therefore, the Electoral Commission’s priority would have been to uphold the court’s decision by dealing with those government officers who were involved in ensuring the assault which was inflicted on the constitution of our nation.”
Mr Trawen had announced last week that the writs for the Kandep by-election would be issued on Sept 10.
He said the by-election must be held early as the commission would be focusing on the 2012 general election next year.
Mr Ipatas said the commission’s plan to expedite the by-election was not in the best interest of the people of Kandep, Enga and the country and that it would serve only the interest of one person without addressing the underlying problems.
“The commission and other relevant government agencies must be cautious about protecting the Constitution, mainly the laws which are there to ensure that such elections are carried out in the best democratic means possible,” he said.
He said the commission’s second priority would be to engage professionals to analyse the court’s findings as the implications were detrimental to the newly-introduced limited preferential system of voting.
“If the court’s findings were totally contrary to the electoral commissioner’s self-promoting words about the 2007 election, he would have given a second thought on addressing the problems identified by the court as they directly affect the voting population in the country.”
Mr Ipatas said it would have been prudent also for Mr Polye, who was the deputy prime minister in 2007, to assist the commission in addressing the problems identified by the court first before talking about a by-election.
“He has to apologise to the people of Kandep, Enga and the country and try to work with the Electoral Commission to address those problems (identified by the court), including the prosecution of the culprits involved in the foul play before talking about a by-election,” he said.